A few times in their live, people get to witness something truly extraordinary. On the 5th of February, 2009, the students of Vasant Valley were privileged to interact with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Born on the 2nd of April, 1955, Princess Maha is the third child of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand. After standing first in the National School exam, Her Royal Highness obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Chulalongkorn University, an M.A. in Oriental Epigraphy (Sanskrit and Cambodian) from Silpakorn University, and an M.A. in Eastern Languages (Pali and Sanskrit) from Chulalongkorn University, She was also awarded a doctoral degree in Educational Development from the Srinakharinwirot University. Her Royal Highness believes strongly in the principle of using education as a means for community and social development and is deeply involved in community development activities.
We were all extremely honoured and humbled by the fact that Her Royal Highness, who is on a trip to India to observe its cultures and traditions, visited our school. HRH arrived in the morning along with her group of delegates and a throng of media reporters. The Head Boy, Kunal Datta, and Head Girl, Sara Chatterjee, along with the rest of the Prefect Council, welcomed her. Soon after, she was escorted to the conference room for a presentation on the school systems.
In the Performing Arts Rooms she witnessed a mesmerizing Indian classical dance to music played by the students and in the Western Music Room, students put up a breathtaking violin recital. She was then led to the creative centre of the school, the Art Room, where she observed the children at work, taking notes and pictures as she went along. HRH spoke to Mrs, Charu Rekha about English education in Thailand and her goal to use it not only as a way to communicate, but also to research and interact with the global community.
To show that concern for the environment is an integral part of life at VVS, HRH visited the Paper Recycling Room where she appreciated that tonnes of waste paper is almost magically converted into beautiful environmentally friendly paper every hour. HRH was pleased to note that the special children, active participants in the environmental activities at VVS, played such an important role in the Vasant Valley Community. She noted that they seemed very happy in their environment, and was curious about their future plans.
Her next stop was the Science Corner where the students of Class 12 presented their Future Cities project. In the Physics and Chemistry Labs, the younger scientists put up various experiments. Following this, HRH was given a tour of the Biotechnology and Biology laboratories where the Class 8 students were extracting DNA using upcoming technology. Finally, she made her way to the Computer Lab, where she was greeted with flash animations. She was pleasantly surprised to see her visit thoroughly documented on the website. HRH was amazed at how it had all been done so fast.
On her way out, HRH stopped at the Blue Room, where she got another chance to see the Special Section. To conclude her visit, she addressed the school, thanking Mr. Kapur and the students for their effort, and expressing her initiative to encourage exchange programmes of students and teachers between Thailand and India.
Though the meet was brief, it was an enriching experience for all the students who were involved. All in all, the experience can be best summed up by Pongsakorn Sukjunnimit (or Kung, as he is affectionately known), a visiting student from Thailand who said, “I am really happy today; I have seen the Princess only twice in my life, but today I got a chance to walk beside her.”
Bhavik Singh and Meghna Mann
click to see pictures