At Adarsh Shiksha Niketan (ASN) Senior Secondary School, a vibrant extra-curricular scene lights up student life…
Located in a bustling corner of Mayur Vihar Phase I Extension, the walls of ASN Senior Secondary School are adorned with placards of the various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. “We were the first school to be designated as a Sustainable Development Lab by the UN because of our initiatives to promote the SDGs among our staff, students and their families,” says Principal Sonia Luthra.
The school has been working extensively on the SDGs through various projects, literary, art, performing arts activities, MUN summits, panel discussions, cross country run and has also put up international exhibitions at the Indian International Centre, Delhi in collaboration with the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan (UNIC).
One of the founding philosophies and hallmarks of education at ASN, in harmony with the SDGs, is its strong emphasis on environmentalism. Says Luthra, “We need to mould our students into environmentally-conscious citizens who can make the earth worthy for living.”
Students proudly count a number of green features at their school – hundreds of varieties of plants, a flourishing herbal garden, rainwater harvesting, solar panels and CNG buses. There are also a multitude of collaborations with environmental organisations, such as World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Tiger Trust, Kids for Tigers, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Centre for Environment Education (CEE), CMS Vatavaran, Paryavaran Mitra, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Climate Reality Project India.
The school is also a lead Eco-Club School under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and has received the ‘Green Leaf’ award conferred by CSE to top-ranking schools in its Green Schools Programme (GSP).
“Through academics and a variety of extra-curricular activities, we try to actively inculcate green values, such as saving water and paper, in our students and educate them on environmental issues such as climate change,” says Luthra.
Rishi Sharma, a Class V student, says that he enjoys the various sports offered by ASN Senior Secondary School. “We have an international quality sports complex and can take up many different sports such as lawn tennis, football, basketball, cricket, badminton, table tennis, judo, taekwondo and skating. My favourite sport is cricket and the sports teacher has really helped me to improve my game.”
The school provides opportunities for students to participate in various international sports contests. For example, its students have represented India in Tokyo, Bangkok and Indonesia sports exchange programmes. With this dedication to sports, it comes as no surprise that the school has produced many state-level, zonal and national sports personalities, including the well-known badminton player Kanika Kanwal.
With 17 clubs – literary club, dramatics club, cultural club (music and dance), robotics club, heritage club, eco club, astronomy club, innovative club, road-safety club, disaster management club, yoga and meditation club, health and wellness club, self-defence, art and craft club and interact club – ASN ensures that its extra-curricular scene remains buzzing through the year and all students find something that interests them.
Luthra explains, “Academics are undoubtedly important, but activities are like ornaments. They help students develop life skills that cannot be learnt otherwise. How to speak confidently, how to behave in different situations – these are skills they pick up only when they look beyond academics.
“There was a time when parental aspiration was restricted to doing well in studies. But times are changing. Parents understand that these things are also important. Soft skills have become very important for finding success in one’s career and career opportunities have appeared in diverse fields.
“Last year, a student who was very active in sports had to miss a board exam because she had a match and her father specially requested me to allow her to do this! She took the exam again, secured an overall percentage in the eighties and even got into St. Stephen’s College in the sports quota.
“Another time, a group of our dance students participated in a competition that was held just one day before an exam. We were concerned about their studies, but they were confident about managing both things well and even convinced their parents. By managing their time well, the students not only did well in their school exams but also won the zonal round and got selected for the nationals.”
Clearly, the students are learning a lot through its extra-curricular activities. However, even those who are more academically inclined find an outlet for their interests and ASN has been ranked as one of the top CBSE schools in East Delhi.
Anwesha Dasgupta, a class VII student at the school, says, “I really like the way we study in school. For example, if we are reading a story about a village, the class will be divided into two groups – a city group and a village group – and there will be a debate between the two groups to understand how city and village people might look at an issue. “I enjoy working in the Atal Tinkering Lab and the Maths lab in our school because we get to play and learn. The smart classes help us visualise concepts.”
Anwesha is part of the Gifted Children’s Programme at the school. “I’m interested in science and maths and under this programme we attend special classes and are given very interesting projects. For example, I got to work on an electromagnetic light in one of the projects and had a lot of fun doing the project. I’m also thinking about joining the Astronomy Club.”
Rishi adds, “When I was not able to understand multiplication, my maths teacher explained it to me using red and blue boxes in the maths lab.” However, he does have one little quip about the school – “They should keep Tinkle and Chacha Chaudhary comics in the library!”
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