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I never knew I wanted to be an actor; give complete credit to my Apeejay teacher: Ridhi Dogra

Annual Appreciation Day of Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park: Guests of Honour alumna and actor Ridhi Dogra and Arjuna award winner Abhinn Shyam Gupta laud students and motivate them with inspiring words

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Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, organised their Annual Appreciation Day titled ‘Confluence’ on December 22 to celebrate the achievements of the students and the school as a whole. Keeping Covid guidelines in mind, the faculty, students, and their parents came together in a virtual event to mark the grand occasion.

Among the dignitaries present at the ceremony were Apeejay Panchsheel Park alumna and well-known Indian actor Ridhi Dogra and Arjuna Award winner badminton player Abhinn Shyam Gupta. They graced the magnificent event as Guests of Honour.

Saurabh Garg, IAS, Chief Executive Officer, UIDAI, was the Chief Guest at the event. Aditya Berlia, Co-promoter, Apeejay Stya and Svran Group, co-founder, Pro Chancellor of Apeejay Stya University, and member management board, Apeejay Education, presided over the programme. Their thought-provoking words stimulated one and all.

‘Discipline and determination will take you to new heights’

Inspiring the students, the budding achievers of tomorrow, Gupta said, “As a member of the sports fraternity, I would urge students to actively participate in games. This will boost personality development, help you concentrate on studies better, and will also fill you with positive energy.

“I belong to a sports family, and I have dedicated a lot of time to sports. Work hard, focus and listen to teachers and parents. Discipline and determination will take you to new heights.”

A former national champion, Gupta played badminton at the 2002 Summer Olympics in men’s singles. He is also a Limca Book record holder for being the first shuttler from India to become national champion in all categories including mini, sub-junior, junior (twice), and senior (twice).

Congratulating the school for its relentless efforts in helping students hone their skills, the badminton player further said, “I have heard a lot about Apeejay. Every school has the responsibility to nurture children so that one day, they make the institution proud through their achievements. That is exactly what Apeejay has been doing.” He also appreciated the students for their heartwarming performances at the event.

‘There is a deep impact of my school life on me’

For Dogra, on the other hand, the celebration and performances were like a trip down memory lane. Students presented enthralling cultural performances, including group dances invoking Lord Ganesha and showcasing the rivers of India respectively, a fusion orchestra based on Raag Yaman, a group song based on Raag Hansdhwani, and many more. The rich performances were based on the theme of confluence—of nature and art and culture—manifesting the idea of harmony and unity.

Dogra said, “It was extremely nostalgic for me to see all the performances. When I saw you perform, I could imagine the hard work that you must have put in, the rooms where you must have been filled in, the costumes—the world was very exciting for me.”

She revealed that she would have never realised her passion for acting without the help of her schoolteachers. “I did my entire schooling at Apeejay. There is a deep impact of my school life on me. The value system, the opportunities have really built me as a person. I never knew I wanted to be an actor or a performer; I give complete credit to my dance teacher back then for pulling me out of class and encouraging me to participate in all annual functions and competitions. Little did I know that it would be the seed of what I would do for the rest of my life! I can never forget the impact the teachers have had on me. I have a lot of gratitude for the school and teachers for building me into a person who believes in teamwork, perseverance, and determination,” she added.

Recalling Apeejay’s motto “Soaring High is my Nature”, the Woh Sapna Sa actor remarked, “I have always believed in it. I don’t let anything cut my wings or let any obstacle get in my way and tell me that I am not enough. Believe in yourself and persevere and never give up. Don’t let anything outshine you, you are already shining. Nothing can limit you and don’t let your mind limit you.”

Addressing the students, Dogra emphasised the need to value the opportunities that the school provides them at every step. “You have to strike a balance and do justice to the exposure you get by giving it the spark that you carry. I believe all of us carry a unique spark. Whatever your talent is, believe in it…I just hope you don’t forget that you are unique.”

It is this “unique spark” that was showcased through the exemplary achievements of the students, highlighted in the school annual report by Principal Ritu Mehta. In the academic year of 2020-21, the school achieved 100 per cent success in class 10 CBSE board exam while an impressive 74 students scored 90 per cent and above in class 12 with a school average of 87.01 per cent.

The principal congratulated class 12 students for securing admission in some of the leading colleges in India and abroad, among whom was Sreya Priyadarshini, who bagged a full scholarship at Amsterdam University.

Among other achievements, three students from the school won scholarships under the Delhi Science Scholarship Scheme. Four meritorious students also qualified for the Apeejay Talent Search Exam.

Mehta highlighted that Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, has the largest NCC girls’ contingent in Delhi. She also congratulated students for bagging other awards including the President’s Gold Medal, President’s Silver Medal, Pride of Apeejay, and BD Pant trophy, among others.

The principal said, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere efforts, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, is a trendsetter in radical and progressive education, a perfect confluence of tradition and modernity…With a conviction that each child is unique, we provide an enriching and stimulating environment for competency-based learning while inculcating core values, attributes, and skills required for them to grow personally and professionally. Our pedagogies are designed to enable our children to embark on a journey to self-discovery and self-realisation and equip students to design and devise solutions for complex challenges confronting the community and country. Our students soar high and set new milestones each year.”

“Let’s embrace the new normal and the new year and become the harbingers of change,” she concluded.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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