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.

Dear Earth,


A letter written by Mule of Class X (2018-2019) from a future perspective, a time when humanity has established itself on extra-terrestrial lands.

In our insatiable hunger, we butchered you. In our characteristic recklessness, we disfigured you. In our egocentric greed, we exploited you dry to the bone. In our capitalistic sentiments, we justified it all. In our game of hope, we relentlessly went on, boosting our confidence with your silence.

We cared not for all that you had to provide us. We cared not for the beauty you presented us. We cared not for the home you made us. We cared not for the life-supporting systems you supplied us. We cared not for the peace and harmony you gifted us. We cared not for the existence you granted us. All we cared for, was the money we could make out of you.

In doing so, we pushed your frustration beyond the limits of patience. But that was not what convinced us to stop.

No, we did not run from your wrath. We are too arrogant of a species for that. We calmly extracted all you had to give, and moved on when we were done with you. Done wrenching, done sucking, done bleeding.

And we will exploit everything around us for our own selfish needs. Again.

We will not learn from our mistakes, because it was not a mistake from our perspective. We will do to your sisters what we did to you, we will do to your other children what we did to you. My kind does not feel empathy for any other.

Some of us will raise hue and cry, put forward arguments, devote entire lives to the cause. But it will probably do no good. I will try my best against such monstrosities, I promise you. I do not want to witness the vicious destruction of another world, another future. I have hope, immense hope, even though I do not have any expectations.

Perhaps one day we’ll look back, nostalgic for the caress of a breeze, nostalgic for the sight of some green, nostalgic for the soothe of rain, nostalgic for the peace of the humbling mountains, nostalgic for the joy of the great blue skies and seas, with regret in our eyes, regret that will be strong enough to shake us, awaken us, and teach us.

Perhaps, that regret will save others from the fate we unleashed upon you. But for what has been done, I apologise. And I thank you for bearing with us.

In atonement,
One beholden.

We, the students, are the golden ticket winners


In this year’s essay writing contest we were asked to expand upon the idea: 
It almost feels as if Roald Dahl thought about our school when he wrote about Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

This is what Aritra (Class VII-2017) wrote, in his winning entry:

Willy Wonka’s factory can surely be compared to our school, and Willy Wonka himself, to Sir.

A crazy man with new and strange ideas, Willy Wonka created numerous new chocolates using innovative methods. A lake filled with chocolates, a plan to transmit real chocolates through TV signals – who other than Willy Wonka could have thought about this?

To learn without textbooks but by reading storybooks, to learn Maths with Japanese puzzle, apps, to use Twitter and movies for learning – who other than Sir, could have thought about this? The chocolate factory is our school, the innovative ways of making chocolate are the innovative ways of learning, and Willy Wonka is our Sir.

But what would Roald Dahl’s book be without the children, without Charlie? We, the students, are the Charlies of our school, who have chanced upon this magical wonderland through the unforgettable golden tickets – through pure luck and chance. We, the students, gasp at Sir’s great ways of teaching – we never stop being amazed by them, just like Charlie, who marvelled at Willy Wonka’s ingenious methods. And again, just like Charlie, we are not only amazed by our school, but we contribute to it. We behave responsibly, we are honest, and we don’t cheat. I admit that some students do misuse the ways, I admit that there are some Augustus Gloops and Veruca Salts, but most of us are Charlies.

And just like Charlie, we gradually become the owners of the chocolate factory. We, the students, manage the Twitter account of our school; we organise events of the Contest Week; we check stories and reviews, we make questions for book exams; the things we write are sometimes even used to teach; we educate others about this world and free them from the virus of faith under the guidance of our Willy Wonka.

The chocolates that came out from Willy Wonka’s factory were a priceless commodity for children all over the world. We, the students, shaped and flavoured by the unorthodox and great ways of teaching, will also be a priceless commodity of the world. There are a very few in the world like us, who think with a rational mind and refuse to be brainwashed. And whom do we have to thank? None other than our Willy Wonka – Sir.

At the end of the book, Willy Wonka hands over the responsibility of running the chocolate factory to Charlie, because he is a responsible child. Why to a child? Because a child is free of the vices of adulthood. We, the students, will also try to remain children forever – to never acquire those vices.

Maybe, about twenty years later, Sir will hand his responsibility over to one of us – one of us who has succeeded in remaining a child. A student, who can still think rationally, a student who is not orthodox, a student who is innovative and can devise even better ways of making chocolates, will be the new Willy Wonka. Till then, my prophecy will remain unfulfilled.

This is why it almost feels as if Roald Dahl thought about our school when he wrote about Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

 

Our school: A real-life equivalent of Willy Wonka’s factory?


In this year’s essay writing contest we were asked to expand upon the idea: 
It almost feels as if Roald Dahl thought about our school when he wrote about Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
 
This is what Nonny (Class X-2017) wrote, in her winning entry:

 

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory was one perfect place amidst the imperfect world, the air of magic inside his factory standing in stark contrast to its ordinary surroundings. The wonders that lay inside were almost too good to be true, unbelievable unless seen with one’s own eyes.

Our school, too, is untouched by the flaws of the outside world. Here, we debate ideas, read and appreciate books that most adults would find too difficult, learn from movies, forge friendships not only among ourselves, but also with the teachers. The school is so much more than what society expects that people who visit here are shocked and awed.

Both Willy Wonka’s factory and this school stand much above anything else in their fields. Just like there couldn’t be another chocolate factory that could compare with Willy Wonka’s, there couldn’t really be another school as perfect as this one. Both of those places are the result of bold ideas unlike anything else that has ever been tried before. Willy Wonka invented whole new ways of making chocolate, while this school employs teaching methods unheard of anywhere else. Since both of the places deviate so much from convention, are so different from the rest of the field, nothing else can really compete.

Willy Wonka had decided that the best person to run his perfect factory would be a child. He realized that the only person fit to do it would be someone who would not succumb to the temptation of exploiting his factory for selfish gain, someone who would continue to improve the factory and not take it for granted. He understood that all these flaws came with adulthood.

Our school, too, discourages adult-like vices, insists that we remain curious, open to learning, never be consumed by greed for material wealth, not be overcome by the selfish desire to enrich ourselves when there is so much more that we can do to make the world a better place.

Given all the striking parallels between Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and our school, it is no surprise that it almost feels as if Roald Dahl thought about our school when he wrote about the factory. Although Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory existed only in fiction, our school is a real-life equivalent. No wonder it sometimes feels like something out of a fairytale.

Mehrunissa, The Mughal Empress


This is one of the winning entries in the Essay Writing Contest 2017 where we were asked to write about a person we admire. This essay is written by Nonny of Class IX (2017) about the ambitious and determined Mughal Empress, Mehrunissa (Nur Jahan).

new-doc-2017-02-22_1In the 17th century, the world respected birth more than talent. Those who had not been born into distinguished families enjoyed power and wealth, whereas those had not fared no better than their ancestors.

However, there was one woman who, throughout her life, fought against the odds to reach a position in which she almost ruled over an entire empire. For this reason more than any other, I admire Mehrunissa, a tigress who married into the Mughal family. Being a woman, she was expected to do nothing more than produce heir to the throne. But, using little more than her ambition and determination, she concentrated all the power in her hands, and performed all the responsibilities of government more competently than the pleasure loving emperor had ever done. Heedless of the frowns of the rest of the nobility, she defied the rules of purdah that all women were expected to adhere to, and sometimes even rode out into battle. In the treacherous world of the Mughals, she was always able to distinguish between friend and foes, and effectively eliminate all threats to the empire. Mehrunissa not only maintained the stability of the empire, she also constantly had to eliminate threats to her own power. Since she was not the one sitting on the throne herself, she always had to ensure that she was in the emperor’s favour, while also making sure that nobody else was close enough to him so as to able to reduce her own influence over him.

Mehrunissa was a woman with a lot of grit, determination, and cunning, which is why I really admire her.

Sahid


Sreedutta Samanta of Class IX (2017) wrote about Sahid Azmi, a character from the movie ‘Sahid’ as a person she admires a lot. Sahid Azmi tried to fight the injustice of Indian judicial system and lost his life in the cause. This is another winning entry in Essay Writing Contest.

new-doc-2017-02-22_2

History does not judge everyone equally. There have been some people who have been glorified in history while there have been many who have sunk into oblivion and have died the death of an unsung hero. In this essay, I am writing about the lawyer, Sahid Azmi, who tired to make people’s lives a little better in this imperfect world. He was a person who wanted to take up the profession of a lawyer not just to earn money, but to save people who despite being innocent have been put behind the bars.

The movie ‘Sahid’ portrays his life and the cases he fought in order to earn justice for people who stay in prison despite being innocent. As we all know, Indian justice system is the prime place where people are dispensed injustice, he managed to get seven acquittals within a few months. He set up his own law firm and helped many people get justice. However the turning point of his life came after the massive attack on Taj Hotel. As always, after that attack police caught one innocent Muslim and put all the blame on him. He became the scapegoat of all Indians. Despite being innocent, he became the victim of all the anger of Indians. However, Mr. Sahid Azmi stood beside him and slowly led him to the doors of justice. But this story like other fairytales, does not have a happy ending. This story is a victory which has been won at a great price. Sahid received many threat calls from people who wanted him to leave this case. However, he walked on his risky and true path and in return was alienated and abandoned by his wife and family. He undaunted by the consequences fought the case till his last breath. Then one day he was found murdered in his chamber. Sahis Azmi was the only ray of hope in the bleak eyes of the countless many who have been termed as perpetrators and transgressors despite being ordinary, innocent civilians.

Gorbachev


This is one of the winning entries in the Essay Writing Contest 2017 where we were asked to write about a person we admire. This essay is written by Goody Goody of Class IX (2017) about the Soviet Union leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.

new-doc-2017-02-22_3As we read history, we come across many leaders like Aurangzeb, Hitler, and Stalin who abused their power to exploit the common people. Current day’s leaders are not very different from them. Putin is the prime example who has the ability to do good for his nation but is intoxicated by power. So in the course of history we have had very few leader who have not been corrupted by the power at their disposal.

Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union was one such example. Soviet Union during the leadership of his predecessors had been an oppressed country. The  common people lived under constant fear of their leaders  who had absolute power. Gorbachev too had as much power at his disposal as the previous leaders. He could have chosen to walk on the same path as the others but he chose to be good.

Gorbachev brought about a lot of positive changes. For the first time in many years people were allowed to travel outside their country. He gave his citizens access to a better life at his own peril. He was fighting for the freedom of the very country he was ruling, being fully aware that his own position was at stake. Gorbachev was a very rare leader who was not driven by his self-interest.

We, either after witnessing or reading about the bad leaders of the world who had been corrupted by power, understand the plight of the common people. And after being subjected to years of persecution, Gorbachev must have been a ray of hope for the Russian people.

Mehrunissa, The Empress Of Jahangir


This year we were asked to write about a person we admire in the Essay Writing Contest. This is one of the winning entries written by Fluffy of Class IX (2017). The Mughal Empress, Mehrunissa was Fluffy’s favourite choice because even after being born as woman in the 17th century India, she mastered an Emperor’s role.

new-doc-2017-02-22_4Life is a race. Everywhere around you the world is seeking opportunities to pin you down, and you have to strive to stand up and be one in the million. We find very few examples of such strength in history and a very small percentage of this minority turn out to be women. One such example was Mehrunissa, a tigress who came as a bride in the Mughal household. In the 17th century India, with greater power came greater enemies. In the world if such parochialism, life was even harder for women. Both these aspects worked against Mehrunissa. Being deserted in a desert, at birth, by a destitute father, she was born with the spirit of a warrior, who had fought her way back to her father. With a Persian family seeking shelter in the Mughal empire, her father was taken under the wings of the emperor. A beauty with brains, the eyes of the emperor soon fell on Mehrunissa. Here was born a dream, a desire for power and the ultimate position of the emperor. Her preparation stated with learning to control her emotions, a key quality of an emperor. Soon after marriage, her brother was charged with treason and his fate lied in her hands. Curbing all emotions of loyalty and affection, she took an unbiased decision to sentence him to death, proving herself worthy of the throne. With an intoxicated and gullible emperor on the throne, her dreams found fertile grounds in the emperor’s unquestioning loyalty and trust and became the power behind the throne. But so much power concentrated in the hands of one person had to be followed by the fomentation of hatred. There had to be traitors in the shadow. In this case it was the general of the Mughal army, Mahabat Khan. A cunning man, he managed to trap the unsuspecting royalty in an isolated land, intending to become the emperor himself but how could he have escaped the scheming mind of Mehrunissa who solely with her immense grit had saved the emperor.

But unfortunately, history plays its card at random, smiling at some while laughing at others. Being born as part of the unfavoured gender was the curse that came as a mighty obstruction to her dreams.

Myself


Khushi Choudhary, a very small girl of Class I (2016) has written a few lines describing herself as the best child in the world. This is a cute picture of her.

14433175_1098805553530060_1008330468765210503_n
My name is Khushi. I am very good. I am proud of myself. I think I am the world’s best child. I also thank my mother because she has born me. I like myself a lot. I also think after I become big I will remain the same. I am very happy because I have such a nice school and such a nice family.

My favourite event of Contest week


Most of the students enjoy each one of the Contest Week events very much which is evident from their participation and enthusiasm. The students of Class VI were asked to write about their favourite event in the Contest Week. Here is one of the writings by Sharmin Sabri (2016). 

I have been to almost all events in the contest week and I have enjoyed every single one of them.  But I enjoyed the Mental Math contest the most. It was about solving puzzles very fast. It was fascinating to watch this event, as we could see how the puzzles were being solved in large projector screen.

Parents and students were spellbound by the speed of the contestants. They were solving the puzzles instantly. The audience, including me, thoroughly enjoyed this event. Mistakes were followed by ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’, while the correct ones were followed by loud clapping.

I just couldn’t take my eyes off the projector screen while the puzzles were being solved. It was all very interesting. In addition to all the fun and fascination the contest helps in improving math skills. For these reasons I liked the Mental Math contest the most. I really enjoyed it a lot and couldn’t help loving it.

My Best Friend


This is a writing about “My Best Friend” by Sohom Mondal of Class VI (2016). Here he talks about his best friend, Abhranil. Sohom says that everyone deserves a friend like Abhranil and to him we say, “Everyone would also like to have an entertaining, popular and friendly companion, such as you.”

I’ll write about my best friend, Abhranil. There are many good qualities in him, and there are also some qualities that annoy me. But I still like him for his friendliness and good nature. It’s lucky to have a brother like him.

I wake up early at six in the weekends and impatiently wait for Abhranil to come. At nine I call him; his mother answers it, and always says the same thing.  “Hello? Sohom, he’s still asleep.” I feel like kicking him out of bed when I hear in the mobile, snoring. “Z z z! Z z z!”

At eleven he comes. After seeing him my anger vanishes like magic. We play games, and play guitar, we also fight, argue, kick, punch, slap and the burst into laughter. At half past twelve his mom calls me and tells me to send him. I warn him every weekend. “If you don’t wake up early tomorrow, I will burst through your door and kick you out of bed.” He always giggles “I will try to wake up early. And you don’t have to come down to close the door, I will do it for you.” Then he would just pedal away in his cycle without even looking at the open door. I would run after him and shout. “Tomorrow you come. I’ll make Abhranil meatballs out of you.” But by then he would be very far away from my reach, I would stare at the dusty path for a while and return to my home. In spite of being naughty, I like him. And I think everyone deserves a friend like him.

Excuse note


Class VI (2016) students were asked to write an imaginary excuse note for not doing homework. Here is the best of them by Sohom Mondal (widely known as Criminal for his naughty activities). We really marvel at his creativity and imagination.  

Dear Ma’am,

I am sorry that I could not do the word homework that was assigned to me yesterday. It wasn’t my fault. I was coming from my stoppage; my notebook was safe and sound inside my bag. But suddenly my locality’s dog thought that I brought him some food in my tiffin box, but unfortunately I didn’t. So searching for food and my tiffin box, he ripped off my bag. Unfortunately, my notebook fell instead of my tiffin box.

He probably wanted to study or something so he grabbed my notebook and ran. I also ran, following him to his study. I was shocked to find out that his study was nowhere but in a drain. He jumped in the drain, splashing dirty water all over my face. I could do nothing more than staring at him, nicely munching my notebook and dipping it in the drain water occasionally. From some torn scraps of paper, the only word I could find was ‘slob’.

After his drama I returned home stinking, rubbing my face and cursing the dog. “May thunder strike his tail, and someday I will pluck his whiskers one by one, like the way he plucked my notebook’s pages.” Today I will get the rest of the words from my friend but tomorrow I promise to submit my homework. And please, do not punish me.

Thanking you.

My Favourite Teacher


This is one of the winning entries in Teacher’s Day essay writing contest by Rhea Banerjee of Class VII (2014) where she writes about her favourite teacher, Arghya Banerjee. Rhea talks about how Sir has made the school experience totally unique for the class. It’s a true privilege to have a teacher and a friend like him.   

I enjoy every class Sir takes- English, Maths, History, Social Science, Science and any other subject taught- because Sir makes every class he takes enjoyable. Sir teaches us through interesting movies, engaging discussions, and exciting books. And by ‘books’ I mean something you can get pleasure from, not a boring, mind-numbing thing which has been forced on you.

Sir teaches us in a way which is interesting and will help us the in modern world. We build and develop skills. We are made familiar with technology. We are taught not only to do well in exams, we are taught what real life demands.

Sir is also like a friend to the class. He interacts, laughs, and likes to spend time with us. He treats us like his equals.

All these reasons are why I am so eager to be part of his class everyday.

I like my school because…


From the small building in Dangal para to the Husbabad Campus with top-notch infrastructure, it’s been a long journey. In the beginning there was difficulty getting the parents to accept our unconventional teaching methods. After our achievements, now it can be said without doubt that The Levelfield School is one of the best. Tanushree Sow Mondal of Class VII (2014) writes about the school being a big change in her life.  

The Levelfield School has brought over a big change in me. I had gone through a period difficulty trying to adjust to the dull and looming atmosphere in my old school. The Levelfield School was the first place which not only recognized my talent but also gave respect to it. The students aren’t taught to deal with board exams, but with the struggle in life itself. I love EVS classes which explain why and how things happen to be the way they are. Even history, which a few years ago was just a revision of dates for me, has become something to learn lessons from.

Apart from the exceptional quality of education, there are a few other things I would have never been able to acquire hadn’t I been admitted to this school. For example, the books that we read in our spare time, or the thinking-oriented games and exercises, etc. The teachers here have trust in us and our work. We often get to help them in events like Contest Week, etc. I really feel grateful and lucky to be associated with The Levelfield School.