St Andrew’s College, Bandra, in collaboration with the Diocesan Youth Centre (DYC) and SPICE, Bandra, organised Awesummer 2019 for the youth at St Andrew’s College premises. Conceptualised by Fr Magi Murzello, Principal, St Andrew’s School, Bandra, this unique programme offered the Mumbai suburban youth an opportunity to discover the hidden facets of their personalities and enhance their skill sets. Held across multiple Bandra venues, the courses ranged from fun-filled Social Ballroom Dancing and Baking to creative Graphic Design and World of Poetry to the off-beat Mystery Writing and Handwriting Analysis to Personality Development and Better Communication. Kept to a duration of either 10 or 20 hours, each course’s content was designed to give the youth a fair idea of the subject without boring them with an excess of information.
The core team encountered an ally in Bishop Barthol Barretto, who galvanised his army of Small Christian Communities’ Co-ordinators to take this programme to the youth in their respective areas. Deacon Ivan Fernandes reached out to yet more youth via Careers Hangout and the Quo Vadis retreats. The team definitely did not anticipate the enthusiasm and go-getter attitude that the youngsters would display. An incessantly ringing phone, a queue at the registration desk as parents and youth patiently awaited their turn, pleas to the faculty to “organise just one more batch, please!” or “take this last student only”, the regret of the Awesummer co-ordinator as she turned yet another student away from a “house full” course — all became hallmarks in the lives of the team members.
This contagion even infected the faculty members who thought nothing of walking the extra mile for their enthusiastic and grateful students. Two-hour long classes ran to 2.5 hours as parents worried over their wards’ whereabouts. Feedback forms were filled with comments of “Sir Eric/Sir Abhishek/Cordelia is just the best!”, “Chef Allan/Christine ma’am taught us little tricks to remember our stuff” and “They made us realise just how simple dance/graphic design/baking is.”
The 17 Awesummer 2019 courses touched the minds and hearts of over 300 youth across the city. This was evident at the graduation ceremony held on 30 May 2019 at St Andrew’s High School grounds. The gratitude, respect and admiration of the youth for their teachers was too evident to notice as they huddled around them to talk and click photographs. Ably assisted by the Women’s Cell of St Andrew’s Parish, the successful Awesummer 2019 came to a close on 30 May, well on time for the students to begin yet another academic year, refreshed with the beautiful memories of all that they experienced at the youth event par excellence.
Anjali Heredia Gracias is a freelance writer and is currently on the Editorial team of EduFocus — the magazine of the Archdiocesan Board of Education, Mumbai. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Mumbai and a post-graduate diploma in Management (Marketing and HR) from Goa Institute of Management.