Ms. Preema Noronha
FAREWELL SPEECH - STD.10 (2020-2021) – 23/3/2021
ST. XAVIER’S BOYS’ ACADEMY
February 3, 2021
MANAGER’S DAY – 3/2/2021
Every day is a gift from God filled with endless possibilities. Some days are special - these special days are given as a bonus to all. Today is a special day for Fr.Blaise. We celebrate his birthday and Manager’s Day as a token of our appreciation for the gift he is to us and our institution.
This academic year 2020-2021 the unprecedented year of the Pandemic has been a year of the unexpected, the unknown, the year which took most of us by surprise. Many who were craving for personal time got an abundance of it, the virus that hampered our normal / natural breathing also gave us breathing space to rejuvenate, relearn and relook at our priorities. While a sudden break was applied to the rhythm of life as we had known and lived thus far without any warning, this year gave us ample time and plenty of opportunities to refresh, rewind and renew ourselves. It was a year which called for adaption and growth. We learned to take on things that we had never done before, picked up different skills, ventured into unchartered territories as we realised growth and comfort do not co-exist.
At every turn of life we were met with challenges –unforeseen, not thought of even in our dreams and definitely not prepared for in advance. These challenges made life interesting and overcoming them made life meaningful. To help us face a challenge, to overcome our fears, to lead others in times of uncertainties, to prepare oneself within a limited time without knowing whether something new would be a success or failure and then face whatever comes our way becomes less stressful when we have a good and wise leader at the top. Leadership is this ability to guide others into a direction or decision that leaves everyone feeling empowered and accomplished. This is the leader we experienced in the person of Fr.Blaise. He led us through the tough times by example-though we were not in school in those initial days of the Pandemic he was at his post every single day, he kept abreast of all that was happening at the SXBA online classes with the staff, students and parents too and together helped us draw out the best from a challenging situation.
Fr.Blaise’s famous mantra ‘to carry everyone along’ and a word that is in a way synonymous with Him ‘Harmony’ is evident in the choices he makes. Both these are not easy to adhere to in normal times and more so in moments of chaos, turmoil and difficulties. But he never wavered and stood his ground even during this pandemic, urging us to carry along all the stakeholders of SXBA and work in harmony towards setting new goals and also striving for harmony in our day to day interactions with everyone.
Power is not control, power is strength which one gives the other so that they in turn have the strength to stand on their own. Thank you Fr.Blaise for your clarity of thought, your steadfastness in times of uncertainties and your profound understanding of the vision and mission of SXBA. We are blessed to have you with us as a Jesuit Priest and Manager of SXBA.
A leader is a dealer in hope. You have given us plenty of hope specially when we were uneasy, doubted our own abilities, were worried or even at times failed despite our best efforts. A giver of hope believes in the inherent goodness of everyone. This is best expressed in the song I will now play for you ‘Look for the Good in Everyone’ which we as the SXBA family dedicate to you.
Happy Birthday Fr. Blaise and God’s blessings be with you.
ST.XAVIER’S BOYS’ ACADEMY
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE - 22/12/2020
Dear Students, staff and parents,
Christmas is just round the corner and I am so happy to be addressing you perhaps for the last time this year. Coming to think of this year 2020 - the year of the pandemic and lockdown it has been a very challenging year for all of us. The Pandemic and the Lockdown has meant loss of hope, loss of life, loss of livelihood, fear and a sense of purposelessness to many people around the world. The situation we are facing looks scary, grim and most depressing.
Against this background of insecurity, fear, hopelessness, death, anxiety etc. we celebrate Christmas – a symbol of hope, joy, love and peace. There is a sense of magic to the season of Christmas. This magic does not happen out of thin air, it needs to be woven into the fabric of our lives.
The birth of Jesus is what we celebrate on Christmas day. He taught us that life is the most precious of all gifts but a life well lived is one which is lived for others. A learned scholar and teacher was once asked by his students “Master what is the meaning of life?” I am sure we too have asked this same question many times. The wise master answered “Life in itself has no meaning. It is an opportunity to create meaning.” The real fact of the matter is that we do not know what tomorrow is going to bring and the only thing we really have is right now. So how do we go about bringing in this cheer and spreading the message of Christmas? I will place before you some pointers which seem simple but not easy. Do not stay angry for too long and learn instead to forgive. Love your family and friends with all your heart. Have fun and live your life in the service of others. This is the sure way to find happiness and meaning in our life as we bring back Hope and Joy in our world today. I am sure each one of you students of SXBA can be ambassadors of a hopeful and joyous tomorrow.
Christmas is also associated with gifts which is a symbol of Love. Love is not found in material things. Love is something that has to be felt and experienced in the heart. The greatest gift you can ever receive is not found in the shops or placed under the Christmas tree by Santa Claus. Love is found in the hearts of your loving family and your true friends. This Christmas then surround yourself with the gift of beautiful and positive people who love you and believe in you.
In the end I pray for each one of you, your family, loved ones and friends that you may be a beacon of light, hope, love and joy as you spread the Christmas cheer all around you in these challenging and difficult times. I pray that you have a heart free of sadness and a mind free of worries, a life full of gladness, a body free from illness, a spirit full of love and a day filled with God’s blessings. Remember to make sure you test positive for faith, keep your distance from doubt and always isolate yourself from fear and negative people and situations.
Merry Christmas and a happy, hopeful, safe and healthy New Year 2021. God bless you.
ST.XAVIER’S BOYS’ ACADEMY
FAREWELL CLASS - X (2019-20)
4th FEBRUARY 2020
My dear boys of class 2019-20,
This is perhaps the last time you will be addressed as ‘Boys of the Academy’ since you now stand on the threshold of adulthood. So far you have been shielded, protected, sheltered and cared for by all those who have selflessly spent many years in your formation - starting with God, your parents and finally we your teachers who have left no stone unturned to help bring out the best version of yourselves. In the bargain at times we have faced innumerable struggles, hardships, challenges, stumbling blocks, misunderstandings and what have you. We have taken all this in our stride and I am sure you will agree that nothing deterred us in our mission of transforming you to become men of character. We have done our jobs and have prepared you for the 21st century. There is a lot of promise and opportunity alongwith the challenges that the world outside holds for you. But the most important question you need to ask yourself is – ‘Are you ready for what life has to offer you and for what lies ahead of you?’ The faster you learn the difference between preparation (which we have done with you) and readiness (which you yourself hopefully have worked on) the better it is for you. Once you understand this, you will realise that henceforth you will be held accountable and responsible for all your options, choices, actions, results and mistakes too. I would think this in itself is a thought worth spending time and reflecting upon.
Tim Cook the Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc. says ‘What you build and what you create defines who you are. If you build a chaos factory you cannot dodge responsibility for chaos’. The problems that we face today are all human problems created by humans. If you turn a blind eye and accept everything that happens to you and others as normal and unavoidable, if you do not take responsibility for your actions or inactions at the appropriate time, then you will have no one else but yourselves to blame. There are too many people out there who want credit without accepting responsibility, too many who show up for the ribbon cutting without building or creating anything, too many who trod on the known pathways.
We at SXBA now urge you to find your vision on a solitary road, seek courage in your challenges and hope in the unexpected. This road is yours and yours alone. Others may walk it with you but no one can walk it for you. So do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. A good way to embark on this journey called life is to first feel safe and secure in your own skin. How does one go about doing this? When no one else celebrates you, learn to celebrate yourself, compliment yourself. It is not upto other people to keep you encouraged at all times. It is now solely upto you. Encouragement should come from within. Believe in yourself and never give up, hold fast on to the values instilled in you and which have stood you in good stead. Also encourage others to look at the goodness in this world and inspire them to be the greatest version of themselves. It is in this togetherness, collaboration and harmony with others you will find the true meaning to your existence and a purpose to your life. The Japanese have understood this secret to a long, happy, healthy and fulfilled life and they call this the “Ikigai”. I have shared this secret with you now so do whatever you can to make it your own.
Your time on earth is limited too so do not waste it living someone else’s life. Be different, leave something worthy and always remember you cannot take all that you have created with you. You are going to leave it all behind in the hope that someday it will pass on and live forever if it benefits humankind.
I wish you the very best as you put your best foot forward and embrace life in it’s fullness in the years ahead………..beginning today.
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE – 2019
Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. For me this feast gives me the reason, the purpose and meaning to my existence. Christmas stands for HOPE, JOY, LOVE AND PEACE. I like to remember Christmas as a feast that UPLIFTS us all and I’ll tell you why.
I believe our God loves us so much, knows us so well, cares for us like no one really would and is aware of our true potential but most of the times we are not aware of who we really are. So what better way then, than to come down to our level, take us up to his level and UPLIFT us to become God like – the way God wants us to be. The word UPLIFT beautifully explains the true meaning of Christmas.
U Jesus came down to us as a Universal person. He belonged to no one in particular and at the same time belonged to everyone – i.e. to all who accepted and welcomed him. Jesus through his life taught us that being Universal means having no barriers or boundaries, no claims or sole propertiership over any one, no favourites per se but someone who made Preferred choices.
P One can be Universal if one makes a Personal choice based on principles. These principles are the values that are close to us because of our convictions. So Jesus made a personal choice to leave his Godhead, status, power, honour, glory and become a human just like us in every way except sin. He made a preference for the poor, the marginalised, the less fortunate, those who had no one to call their own or stand with them and for them – Do we have such principles and make personal choices in challenging situations based on these principles?
L Jesus understood the true meaning of unconditional love from his birth to his death. His love went beyond measure and embraced all. He loved even when it seemed the most foolish thing to do so and without counting the cost. What is our idea of love? Do we love only to get something in return or can we love till it hurts and have nothing more to give ?
I I don’t remember a single instance in Jesus’ life where he excluded anyone – lepers, women, children, outcasts, those belonging to other religions, you name it - he embraced them all. Are we inclusive at SXBA or do we have our exclusive groups? Are we ok and accepting when someone does not agree with our views, our opinions and our ideas ? Do we pretend to be open but are prejudiced in our minds and hearts?
F Jesus could have chosen any other way to become a part of our lives, but he chose to come down in a family. A family is the cradle of civilization and the bedrock from where we become who we are meant to be. In our world today ego, pride, greed, corruption, anger, property fights, separation, divorces, etc. has disrupted family life. As we go back home today can we cherish our family members? Can we try and make the situation at home better ? Can our families be more warm, inviting and welcoming? Can we spend more time and be more connected with and relate to our parents, siblings, other family members at home rather than be glued to our T.V sets, computers, mobiles, games, pubs, parties and other gadgets?
T The best prayer that one can make at all times is the prayer of Thanksgiving. There is nothing better than a grateful heart. This Christmas let us learn to be grateful for the big and small things of life, for all our blessings and for the many things we take for granted just because we have received them freely.
Christmas is a time to spread Hope when there is uncertainty, mistrust, insecurity and fear gripping us. It is a time to spread Joy because we can do so when we become inclusive, accepting, inviting and welcoming both in our home and outside, it is a time to Love till it hurts – unconditionally and without measure, it is a time to spread Peace which comes from a grateful heart.
So be Christ-like this Christmas uplifting yourself and others and spreading the true spirit and message of Christmas to one and all you meet and greet.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020 to you, your family and your loved ones.
AWARDS DAY – 19/7/2019 - VOTE OF THANKS
Gratitude is that currency which we can mint for ourselves and spend without the fear of bankruptcy.
Honourable Chief Guests – Mr. Patel & Grandmother of Jay Patel –Mrs. Shobhana Patel, Rev.Frs, Respected family and friends, dear parents, ex-students, PASTOR and BAPSA members, benefactors, well wishers, staff and students.
An attitude of gratitude is not merely a great rhyme - It is a wonderful way to live life – it changes everything. We need to be grateful for – the big and the small things of life which makes it worthwhile and special. Today on this special occasion I can see a number of special people to whom I owe a huge amount of gratitude.
At the very outset, I thank the Almighty for the various stakeholders of this institution whose dedicated and selfless service enabled us to continue making a difference in the lives of many students who passed through the portals of this hallowed institution S.X.B.A.
Mr.Patel, Mrs. Shobhna Patel and Jay, thank you for accepting our invitation to be the Chief Guests today, for the kind sentiments you shared and for giving away the prizes. I would like to make a special mention of my deepest gratitude to the Grandmother of Jay who looked after him so lovingly after his mother’s untimely demise. Thank you.
Jay Patel as the captain of our school you had to shoulder many responsibilities. You were clever, respectful, polite and willing to do jobs entrusted to you sincerely while upholding the values of our school – a true gentleman at heart. You were also well loved by the students of our school. Despite your personal loss and pain you were so true to your post as school captain never letting your personal challenges interfere with your commitment to duty or studies. You made us proud by being the third highest topper at the SSC Board Exam. You managed to balance your studies, responsibilities as captain and also participated in other co-curricular activities too. You are a true role model to our students of the Academy. I must say you are very capable of facing anything that lies in store for you in the future.
I am grateful to our Manager Fr.Blaise D’Souza s.j. for making himself available to us at all times. Thank you for giving us your time and for sharing your wisdom which guides us. Thank you Mr.Savio D’Mello(Vice-Principal), Mrs.Yvonne Rodrigues(H.M.-Primary), Ms.Pauline Noronha (Supervisor-Pre-Primary) for sharing my burden, pitching in whenever needed and for the team spirit we shared right through the Academic year 2018-19. I would like to place on record my deepest gratitude to Ms.Pauline Noronha who with the support of her teachers of the
Pre-Primary Section laid a strong foundation that helped in the upbringing of our boys. We wish Ms.Pauline a well deserved retired life and pray for blessings of good health and happiness as we welcome Ms.Sandra McMahon who has taken charge now as the Pre-Primary Coordinator.
To our Staff members both teaching and non-teaching who have spent their time and energy in order to make this programme a success, my sincere gratitude to you. Thank you B.Ed trainee teachers for all the help you rendered in assisting our school teachers for this programme. Do convey my gratitude to your Principal and lecturers too.
To our student council members for all the help extended - my heartfelt gratitude. You have already started working hard and responsibly right from the commencement of this academic year. Congratulations and all the very best for the rest of the year.
A special word of thanks to Mr.Elias Correia who helped us to commence with Scouting as an academic subject in our school last year and for the Scouts Camp he organized so efficiently which was appreciated by all. Our Scouts team has helped with the discipline in the hall this evening. Thank you Mr.Anandprakash Sharma and all you scouters who did a good job this evening.
To our parents, the PTA and BAPSA members, friends and well wishers - your presence this evening has made us glad. I must make a special mention of 3 important –PTA members - Mrs.Rashida Dhorajiwala – Vice President of the PTA, Mrs.Sarika Singh – Hon.Secretary and Mrs.Dharti Shinde – Hon. Treasurer for being such a wonderful, hardworking and efficient team who worked like a family. They were ever willing to reach out and help us conduct all the PTA activities as planned in school inspite of the many difficulties they faced. Often times I could see these three ladies trying so hard to get many more parents involved in school but with little success and looking so disappointed. Their love for our students and commitment to our school was so evident through their availability at all times despite the hardships alongwith their professional and personal commitments. I cannot thank you enough for your staunch support and collaboration throughout the last academic year. I am sure the present PTA members will continue the good work started by their predecessors. My earnest appeal to you parents is to support this team whenever they approach you to be present to help conduct all activities planned for your children because education cannot be limited only to the textbook, syllabus, curriculum or classroom. Being educated is making the most of all experiences life offers. The degree our students earn at the end of an exam is merely a piece of paper. That they are truly educated is seen in their conduct, behaviour and character as they face life with all its challenges.
My gratitude to Mr.Neil for his promptness and efficiency as our school’s website designer as also for updating, maintaining and being the Administrator of our ‘Whatsapp facility’. The presentation of this School Report so colourful, creative and concise is the result of his expertise. Thank you Mr.Neil D’Souza and Mr.Mario Parhyad for your assistance.
Thank you Mr.Terry D’Silva and your team of photographers and Mr.Pragnesh Mehta for providing the sound system for the day.
To the trustees of Patkar Hall for renting out their premises to us, the other personnel of Patkar Hall and the Support staff - Thank you very much.
And finally to all my dear students who kept the flow of the show going by their compering, melodious singing, acting, choral recitation, and well coordinated dance steps. You did transport us to a peaceful, harmonious world while keeping us enthralled - Thank you - you were simply wonderful.
If I have inadvertently missed out thanking anyone in particular please accept my deep gratitude and thanks.
Good night and God Bless you.
INVESTITURE OF PREFECTS – 28th JUNE 2019
Education of the heart is true education and that is what matters. Aristotle the Greek philosopher rightly said “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. We have chosen our theme for the year “Conversion of Heart For A Change of Mind” – In the context of this theme then what does it mean to be a good leader? Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder.
My dear student council members - Leadership starts with the heart. Mark Miller said “If your heart is not right nobody cares about your leadership skills”. All you council members have just been invested to be leaders of SXBA. But what kind of leaders and leadership style do we hope to see in you here at SXBA?
Each one of you is intelligent and that is good. But mere intelligence is not good enough for us. You will also need to possess a greater dose of emotional intelligence too. You are elected as leaders because we know you to be different and as ones who can make a difference. So then where do you begin? Begin with yourself. Make Awareness your close companion and guide. Move out of your comfort zones which may seem to be a secure place but nothing grows there. Make every effort to change your attitude, your style, your thinking, the way you carry yourself, the language you use to communicate and interact with others - in a nutshell – ‘Change your very self’.
Leadership is not merely being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge, it is not about a title, a badge, a sash or a designation. It is about impact, influence and inspiration. It is about commitment, dedication and service to one and all without any sort of discrimination.
You do not inspire your team mates by showing them how amazing you are. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are. So show respect, give respect and earn respect – even to those whom you think do not deserve it. This then will be a true reflection of your character. Work at building your character and not your reputation because your character is who you are while your reputation is what people think of you. Leaders with influence give when they don’t have to, grow continuously, live authentically, empower others, manage hardships and always serve with humility.
We have seen something special in each one of you. So have the confidence then to stand alone if need be, the courage to make tough decisions when called for even though you may be unpopular, compassion to listen to others with an open mind and the patience to get into meaningful dialogue in times of disagreements. Learn to strike a balance and know when to lead and when to step back, when to use power and when to empower, when to take a firm stand and when to let go, when to use your head and when your heart. A helpful tip to keep in mind when dealing with others is use your heart but with yourself - use your head.
Finally if you truly want to be happy and successful define success in your own terms, achieve it by your own rules and build a life you are proud to live. This then is how and when our theme for the year “Conversion of Heart For A change of mind” will become a reality in school. I wish you all the very best on this exciting journey and assure you of our help all the way.
God Bless You.
Ms. Preema Noronha
Manager’s Day – 4th February 2019
Dear Fr. Blaise,
We have gathered specially this morning to wish you a very happy Manager’s day and a belated happy birthday too. I stand here on behalf of all the staff (teaching and non teaching), students, parents of SXBA and our B.Ed interns, to thank God for the gift of you to our institution and for your dedicated service to us.
You have been a source of inspiration, strength and guidance for all in these premises throughout the year. Thank you for the effort you constantly put in to lead our school in the direction the Jesuit Congregation has chalked out for us. You are no ordinary manager who rules from above but you believe in carrying everyone alongwith you. This is no mean feat and sometimes when you have to stand your ground on principles and policies and be firm and decisive you have a number of added challenges to face. However nothing deters you easily as you continue leading us, challenging us, empowering us, teaching us, showing us walking alongwith us and helping us reach our true potential.
Despite your ill health at times, you still continue to faithfully come to our institution each and every day and leave last of all. You have been amply blessed by God dear Fr. Blaise with his choicest blessings but your commitment towards the work entrusted to you, which was initially not of your choice but eventually you made it your own, your clarity of thought, sharp mind, inclusive attitude along with your administrative and decision making, problem solving and leadership skills is what sets you apart. You possess that child like curiosity and determination to learn and understand new and complex issues and you never give up easily. These have been some of your outstanding qualities worth emulating.
Thank you for helping us understand the true meaning of Harmony in simple and doable ways, for encouraging us and propelling us onwards to strive to achieve it in our personal lives and professional commitment alongwith all the stakeholders of SXBA. We do hope your presence and example will enable us to learn to collaborate and cooperate with one another despite our disagreements and misgivings, the ups and downs, successes and failures, always keeping the vision of this great institution and our own personal mission at the centre of our choices and decisions. Thank you for trusting us and letting us grow at our pace in qualities of mind and heart. We forge ahead confidently knowing fully well that you are there watching our backs and that we will have your support for the effort we put in irrespective of the results we achieve.
On this your special day I pray that our God almighty grant you good health, peace of mind and many more years of active service in his vineyard and here at SXBA.
Thank you and have an exciting year ahead.
Ms. Preema Noronha