The uniqueness that we are part of:

This is a writing by Shruti about how our school is way ahead of even the best colleges in the world.

Our school is so unique that “no school in the whole world compares with it”. As you may be knowing, the quoted line is from our school’s official video. When I was re-watching it a month back, this line made me think — is it just that no school compares with our school? I felt that not only any other school but no college, no university in the whole wide world compares with it. It’s a strong statement to make and the validity of my statement could be doubted as I knew little of other colleges and universities. But now, a month down the line, I can tell with full confidence that wherever you go, anywhere around the globe, you would find no place like ours.

Before I say what gives me that confidence, I must give some background. Our Path 2 and 3 students will apply to the US universities, the best in the world. In the process of advising the students and figuring out who is going to find their fit where, I came to know those places better. Many colleges seemed to have their own flavours which is unique to their place. To my surprise, their uniqueness was strangely familiar; what they called unique was not new to me because each of their uniqueness is very much part of our lives here at our school!

Let’s talk about Deep Springs College which is the most unique among all (If you have any doubt, just google it). The unique feature is that its students are responsible for running the college. An integral part of their curriculum is running a ranch which means students devote a substantive part of their day to tasks like cleaning, cooking, farming, etc. The aim is to develop a sense of responsibility, ownership, humility in the students and above all, teach them to work for the community.

The parallels between Deep Spring and our school cannot go unnoticed. Our school is a student-run place with the students teaching junior classes, running the canteen, maintaining our social media presence, setting up the computer infrastructure, and taking part in variety of other activities. Through this work, the school fosters in them a strong sense of responsibility. Through the group projects, the school fosters in them the sense of ownership — to work for the benefit of the group instead of caring about self only. Working for the local people keeps them grounded, teaching them humility. Above all, it teaches them the value of giving back to the place they are from.

Let’s move on and look at another college named Davidson. One section of their home page reads ‘#DAVIDSONTRUE’ which says that Davidson wants to inculcate a culture of truth, sincerity, and integrity in their students. Their campus is governed by a system of Honour Code which means they expect the students to take responsibility of their performance with honesty and integrity.

We don’t call it ‘#LEVELFIELDTRUE’, but this unique feature of Davidson is very much present in our school. We also have instituted a system of Honour Code in senior classes successfully. Our senior students take internal exams completely un-proctored, they check it themselves, sometimes the answer key is also handed over with the question paper, with the expectation that they would not look at it before or during the exam.

Then there is Cornell College and Colorado College. They advocate the philosophy of ‘one course at a time’ — also called the Block Plan. That means students immerse themselves in one single subject for around a month and not dilute the intensive experience by studying any other subject.

This famous ‘Block Plan’ which makes them unique is part of our school’s philosophy too, though not officially called the ‘Block Plan’. Here the students learn only one subject for a month in a focused way and completely immerse themselves in it so much so that the subject becomes the topic of discussions beyond the classroom, often invading their informal conversations.

Coming to know of these colleges and what they stand for, I could finally validate my statement. No school and no college and no university can ever match up to the standards and values of our school.

I realized, all the world’s best colleges and universities rolled into one is our school. Maybe all of them combined would still fall short of this place. The best school, the best college, the best university is here, our second home, our school.