Chennai: This is the age of connections – meaning, connecting with lost friends, schoolmates and collegemates through online medium.
That is what happened to old students of St Thomas Higher Secondary School, near Butt Road in St Thomas Mount (this has been re-christened as CSI St Thomas Higher Secondary School now), who came together after close to three decades.
They completed school in the early ’80s and settled in different parts of the world. M V Raghavan, a resident of Nanganallur, along with alumni like Manivannan, M B Ravindran, Ilango, Stanley, Prabhu and others, caught up through Facebook and other social media to re-connect. So, they formed ‘Butterflies’, a WhatsApp group. Before they knew it, one thing led to another and they decided that it was time to give back to the school.
They conducted the first get-together on the school premises five years back. Since then, every year, they have been contributing in a small way to enriching the school.
This year, 9 August, they organised the 5th alumni meet in the school and gave away materials to the school and needy students. “One of our benevolent friends, Stanley, took care of providing 180 pairs of slippers to needy students. With the rest of the amount collected among the alumni, we provided furniture, uniforms and prizes for the school toppers in board exams. We hope to continue our efforts in future, too,” says Raghavan.
During their last meeting, they came to know that a student was selected for an international karate competition in Malaysia and was looking for sponsors to meet the expenses of around Rs 50,000. “We plan to chip in with our contribution,” says Raghavan.
Talking about their schooldays, Raghavan says, “Not many students get a chance to see VVIPs in flesh on a regular basis while on way to school or on the way back. We used to see late MGR on his way to his Ramavaram residence or to Secretariat regularly.”
Due to its proximity to GST Road that leads to the airport, they have seen other VVIPs like Indira Gandhi, Mohammed Ali, Pope John Paul II and many other leaders. The school also boasted of hockey Olympian V J Phillips.
Not to forget the teachers, the alumni recalled the services of ‘some selfless teachers’ like late Perinbam Vara Prasad. Raghavan says she and other teachers infused humaneness through their actions and that is what is making them turn benefactors now for their school.