For quite a while now, education is seen as something that takes you from point A to point B, rather than something that will shape you to be citizens of the world. The schools need to teach students how to spot a scam, properly talk to a person coming from a completely different background, build an organization, raise money, conserve the environment, talk someone out of a difficult phase of their life or figure out what is truly important to oneself. It is no secret that not knowing how to do these things is what challenges the next generation, and ours, not whether they know algebra or can analyze literature. One such school that provides the all round development of the students – Auckland House School. It is situated on ‘Elysium’ hill. Its site is one of the best and healthiest in Shimla.
Nurturing Independent Thinking
Auckland being a progressive, learner-focused School that values the individual and believes in nurturing self-esteem, confidence and independent thinking. It encourages self-discipline and responsibility among students. The School aims to provide education rooted in tradition, with a progressive outlook, to help students succeed in an intensely competitive world. Special emphasis is laid on the development of a well-rounded personality based on character, initiative and courtesy. Training in leadership and responsibility is an important part of the School’s academic and co-curricular programme. In all things, an effort is made to live up to the School motto “Altiora Peto”: “I seek the higher things”, which motivates the management for perfection in all is what the school undertakes.
Entering as shy, hesitant, unsure little girls, they go out as confident young women, ready to face and take on the world in their stride. That is what the school aims to achieve. Each child is nurtured and molded as gently as a potter molds the clay, with their individual abilities and strengths given ample opportunity to grow and develop. Auckland House School aims at providing a sound education based on Christian principles, inculcating values through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It endeavors to promote the highest spiritual, moral, intellectual and aesthetic values. The Chapel, the classroom, the stage and the playfield all contribute to this character building process. The world today is one in which values, once cherished, have lost their meaning, where goodness suffers while evil thrives, where people care about ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’ and have a complete disregard for ‘any’ and ‘everyone’ else. It is for such a world that the school prepares the children. They are taught to believe in themselves, take on and shoulder responsibility, care for and love each other, growing up to be good human beings, which is what the world today needs.
Training Self-governance and Responsibility
The School lays stress on extra-curricular activities, and sports form an integral part of the School Curriculum. Annual Sports Days are held separately for various sections of the School with competitions of all kinds. Games include Hockey, Basketball, Badminton, Cricket and Table Tennis. Regular hikes, excursions, picnics, camps and mountaineering expeditions are arranged. In addition to the Inter-House Competitions, School teams enter local competitions and matches. “We have a special feature of the School is the House System. The entire School is divided into four Houses: Durrant, French, Lefroy and Matthew. Each House has its own House Mistress, House Captain, Colors and Motto and each member of the Staff belongs to a House. Sports, games and other competitions are conducted on a House level.” shares Mrs. Sunita John, Principal, Auckland House School. Each House celebrates its “House-Day”, an activity marked with exuberance and enthusiasm. There are many clubs, each with its elected student office-bearers. In this way the girls are trained in self-governance and responsibility.
The School has embarked upon a unique Student Exchange Programme with Liebigschule, Giessen, Germany and St. Mary’s School, Johannesburg, South Africa. Exchange Programmes with schools in other parts of the world are also underway. “We teach current events by means of a news-board, pamphlets, documentary films, quiz contests etc. and tests are held on the subject. We also take great interest in the production of plays and concerts and a yearly Carnival is held for which the girls prepare very attractive handwork.” shares Mrs. Sunita John, Principal. In addition, the students enjoy special performances of acting, Indian classical dancing, music, conjuring etc. either in their own school or at other locations in and around Shimla.
The campus layout enhances the learning process by providing a student friendly environment. It houses spacious designed classrooms, Computer Laboratories and three Science Laboratories in the old block. The new block comprises twenty classrooms, a well-equipped Library, a Computer Center and a State-of-the-Art Auditorium cum Chapel. The school also provides a well-equipped gymnasium to ensure the physical well-being of the students. Auckland House School has been a pioneer in the field of education in more ways than one. Embarking upon its journey of imparting education to girls in the year 1866, the School has grown from strength to strength since it came into existence. The School, a registered society, is a Minority institution of the Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India and has its own Governing Body of which the Bishop of the Diocese of Amritsar is the Chairman. The School is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi, and the Department of Education, Himachal Pradesh. The Staff is carefully appointed with regard to character as well as academic qualifications. Faculty meetings are held regularly and a deep personal interest is taken in every child. The enrolment is above a thousand and efforts are made to limit each class to 35 pupils, thus ensuring individual attention and care for each child. An interactive and cordial relation is maintained with the parents to ensure that the child benefits through this interaction. Regular Parent/Teacher meetings are conducted and also has an elected Parent Teacher Association.
Mrs. Sunita John – Principal
Mrs. John started teaching at Auckland House School, Shimla, in 1985 became the principal in 1998. Convenor for Local ICSE/ISC Schools, Shimla,for five years. She has been Examiner for ICSE/ISC Schools for two years, Team Leader for Paper Checking for ICSE Board Examinations for two years and Center-in-Charge for ICSE/ISC Centralized Evaluation of Answer Scripts for seven years. President, YWCA of Simla for two years. Chairperson and Trustee, Shanti Niketan Children’s Home Trust, Subathu. Board Member, Dar-ul-Fazl Children’s Home, Manali. She has done her M.A in English and also holds a certificate for B. Ed. Mrs. John has received several awards such as – “Rajiv Gandhi Education Excellence Award” by Indian Solidarity Council, New Delhi, Award of Honor in the field of Administration in Educational Institutes and Welfare of Students by Charu Castle Foundation, Shimla, ICS Educational Leadership Award by the Institute for Career Studies, Lucknow.