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30th April 2001 - Page 2

The Excellence Awards

Dear Sir,
Though I existed within the boundaries of my classroom, I felt that I had unlimited space in Vasant Valley. Today I am disillusioned, and am unsure of the openness I had come to take for granted.

Sir, this is in reference to the "Excellence Award" which has been given to a few selected people in our school with no clear concept on what would truly define excellence. Is excellence not subjective? Is it confined to debating, running fast, academics, singing or what? What is excellence? Doing well or doing good? Sir, I passionately believe in our school motto - excellence in need and even respect it. But this award has narrowed the concept of excellence and has confined it to extremely limited boundaries.
My parents have always tried to teach us, in their own inarticulate ways, not to compromise or confuse doing good with doing well. Both these things are problematic and very different. By labelling some of us excellent, the others have been automatically and inadvertently condemned as non-excellent or unexcellent. Is this fair or just? Why have others not deserved this prize?
Have our efforts or abilities been wanting? There is a difference in giving someone an award for being the best runner or singer or debater and awarding an excellence award based on this. To give an excellence award without a more sensitive calibration of the word is to me deeply objectionable.
Is not 13 years of school life with its hurts, pains, joys and rewards with its wins and losses not worthyof a pat on the back? By terming a few as excellent it has diminished and marginalized the efforts of the others and repudiated the fact that everyone is special and different in their own way.

What is bothering me is how to measure myself. Is it on the basis of external parameters of running fast and singing well or is it in terms of striving to fulfil ones potential to be a consummate citizen.
The one thing that I have cherished about the Vasant Valley culture is that it respects diversity.
Somehow this award has disturbed me and I don't want to loose what I like most about Vasant Valley.
Sir, I am searching for answers. I am bewildered, hurt and at the same time immensely happy for
those of my friends who excelled by these standards, which are unfortunately so ill defined.
Yours sincerely
Araddhya Mehta

Aradhhya Mehta is a member of the 2001 batch which has just passed out from Vasant Valley


Hillary Clinton died and went to heaven. As she stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, she saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. She asked, "What are all those clocks?" 
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will move."
"Oh," said Hillary, "Who's clock is that?" "That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved indicating that she never told a lie." 
"Whose clock is that?"
"That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have only moved twice, telling us that Abe only told 2 lies in his entire life." 
Hillary asked, "Where's Bill's clock?" "Bill's clock is in my office. I'm using it as a ceiling fan."

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