by Arthur F. Beaugeard
The Jai Vakeel Foundation, an NGO(Non-Governemnt Organisation) based in Mumbai that educates autistic and intellectually disabled children, very kindly invited students from a variety of schools, including Ascend International School and Dhirubhai Ambani, to their Sports Day celebrations on February 7th.
The Jai Vakeel Foundation wanted 5 volunteers from the 9th and 10th grade at Ascend. Although there was initially a surplus of volunteers, after one poor sap became ill and two others had to skip it for a Spanish summative, 5 remained: Aditya Prasad, Arthur Beaugeard, Kunsh Dhawan, Om Valia, and Rishi Teckchandani, who were being supervised. MYP Principle Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick chaperoned the event.
The cadre left at 9:30, but soon found themselves arriving comically late for the torch run ceremony at 10:50, in which 4 Ascend students were involved, meaning all of us barring Om, who saved his raw, surging power for another event down the line.
The Red, Green, and Yellow Houses of the Jai Vakeel Foundation all performed what they called “mass drill competitions”: Supremely organized, charming dance routines that made use of a variety of props to preach saintly messages of acceptance and inclusion. These carefully-choreographed and athletic dance routines spurred all those present to bask in the beauty of the art and celebrate the potential for a more inclusive society.
The interschool inclusive relay followed, which pitted students of the Jai Vakeel foundation as well as some outsiders, notably our very own Om Valia, in a daring dash of damoiseaus, or perhaps dzzigetais, to their dooms. Om Valia valiantly led the fray in the relay. His efforts helped his team sprint to second place.
The winners of the relay are pictured here at the award ceremony. Each team won awards for different categories. Hometown Hero Om Valia is depicted on the far right.
“I really enjoyed running with these kids. It was for a good cause.” Om declared as he started tearing up. “I was really happy to see the kids happy.” Another 9th grader, Kunsh Dhawan, said “I enjoyed helping the kids, and to see these kids who have problems being so dedicated towards sports.”
Ultimately, it was a great honor and a deeply rewarding experience to take part in the Sports Day of the Jai Vakeel foundation. Their work deserves high praise and their students deserve recognition and respect.