Back to College after 50 years

“For a day, we will forget ourselves and be the same 20-year-old notorious happy-go-lucky girls of St Agnes,” said former student Odette Nazareth to her fellow batchmates welcoming them to the vibrant celebration. Many more overwhelming nostalgic moments came to fore as the 1964 batch of St Agnes College, referred to as the “golden girls” by themselves, met 50 years after they graduated from the college.

A first of its kind, this 50 year reunion saw the happy and excited faces of more than 30 ‘students,’ as well as teachers who taught the batch. “You may not look like students anymore, but for me you will always be my very dear students, who taught me more than I taught you,” said a former faculty member Leela Rao, addressing her students.

This batch which is remembered as the “Accident Batch” from years together has a bone-chilling story behind the name. “While we were on a 10-day trip to Ooty, our bus met with a terrible accident and three of our classmates were terribly injured but everyone was safe and got back on their feet. Somehow that trip brought us all closer together and coming to think of it was a major milestone in our lives,” recalled Nazareth as she went down memorylane about her college days. “God is our strength -- is our college motto and that day we truly felt it,” she added.

After a few moments of fond remembrance of the ‘good old days,’ the group of vibrant and energetic 70-year-olds showed that one is never too old to have some fun. The Golden Jubilee celebration was then witness to some entertainment programmes, “by the students and for the students.” A classical dance performance by Shalini Balagopal nee Rai ended with a well deserved standing ovation for her graceful and soulful dancing. 

The ‘nightingale’ of the batch Shashikala then enthralled the audience with her melodious voice. Nothing seemed to be a barrier for these women, incredibly young at heart. The jovial celebrations continued with Polly Madappa, now a retired principal from Madikeri, getting her classmates and teachers on their feet singing ‘we will all be healthy and happy’ and rejuvenating the whole audience.

They did not fail in showing their respect to their teachers and fulfilled their duty as students by honouring and felicitating them. Every teacher present there spoke fondly of this batch and reminisced about some humorous incidents that took place during their classes. 

The feeling of gratitude to the alma-mater was evident among these women as they also presented the Vice Principal Sr Supriya AC with a draft of Rs 50,000 as a token of their love and appreciaition. Former Zoology Professor Mohan Shetty then addressed the women and said that the teachers usually remember the notorious students because they stand out from the rest of the lot and “this batch was certainly one such group of notorious and lively girls.” 

Speaking to Deccan Herald, one of the organisers of the reunion and a student of the batch Geethanjali Suvarna hailing from Bangalore said that she was elated that so many of her classmates and teachers came for the programme. 

“We have some of our classmates who have travelled from outside Karnataka and some from places as far as Canada to meet their old classmates. There couldn’t be anything more wonderful,” she said. Another alumni Sujaya Kumari showed her excitement in being in the midst of her classmates. The President of the batch Gerty Fernandes who was here from Canada hosted the programme.

There were some students and faculty who could not be present for the reunion but sent their messages and good wishes. A faculty member Jayaprabha sent a message to her students which was read out by her neice at the occasion. Then the batch of the lively and cheerful girls went around their campus and the classrooms and took a walk down memory lane.

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