Avinya Foundation

#29 Avinya Avant-garde, Dr. Phil and UNO!

Hi and welcome back! I have recovered (mostly) from my untimely meeting with a staircase and am back to take the reins for our weekly update while our beloved resident blogger is out somewhere counting taps, hunting down accountants and trying to minimize a file to 100KB. Truly an adventurous week. In the meantime, Isuru and I will be taking over to give an update on everything Avinya.


Project Runway


Our fashionistas are finally ready for the culmination of the project and as I’m writing this I can hear the hustle and bustle of the excitement going around while everyone is getting ready to put on the show of their lives. The lead up to the show has been an amazing effort in creativity and production. There were hours and hours of sewing and putting clothes together, making jewelry from scratch and coaching on how to walk the runway throughout the week. The dress rehearsals were a major success with students bringing their best to the table with modeling, presenting and managing the entire show, not to mention the exquisite costumes they have upcycled into entirely new creations that have taken our breath away. It’s amazing what students left to their own devices with creativity and innovation can produce.


When the time finally arrived for the show itself, I was on my tippy toes with excitement because I hadn’t seen much of the rehearsals so everything was new. Stepping upstairs was an experience itself. In one corner the music and presentations were being set up with mic tests and script readings and in another corner students were doing the final touch ups to their make up, costumes and runway practices. Backstage was truly a sight to behold; such excited but nervous energy with everyone so hyped to get the show on the road (with Vihan in full mother hen mode, walking around anxiously and seeing to every last possible tweak). They needn’t have worried because the entire performance Blew. Us. Away.


Let me take you back to our initial blogs during the days we were interviewing students. To quote Anju, “students were keen, their eyes hopeful”. Today what we saw was confidence and faith radiating from those same eyes…, in every step that they took on the runway, in every pose struck, in every voice that explained the inspirations behind their creations and in all the teamwork backstage that went into making sure the show went off without a hitch. From the traditional opening dance to the hip-hop wrap up and all the beautiful segments in between, they had put in so much effort to design, plan and organize this show. I believe we all agree when I say; they succeeded and then some! There were more than a few wet eyes in the audience. One thought stood out to all of us as all our students happily took a bow; it’s only been a month. Cheers to our wonderful students, your resounding applause was more than deserved.


One to one meetings


The week also passed by with one to one meetings between the homeroom Educators and students. This is something I’ve personally never experienced in school and I must say that the effect I’ve seen it have on the students was immediate. A big cheer for the homeroom teachers for conducting these meetings so successfully even though there were several difficult conversations to be had. While we were subjected to a barrage of information throughout the week, we all feel as if this is what we’ve prepared for and we’ve finally reached a new milestone in our program. The students are opening up to us and the next puzzle pieces of the Empower journey have been put in place.


Extra Curriculars


New and exciting things were cooked up at our extra curricular corner this week as we moved away from an activity based approach to the inception of the clubs we’ve been wanting to implement. Students were given the opportunity to sign up for the English club, Drama club, Music club or the Indoor games club. The indoor games club saw the most influx of activity with Uno having become the biggest hit among the students, so much so that they scramble to finish lunch fast enough to sneak in some play time. We’d be walking around the corridor and jump a mile to a screeched “UNO! I said UNO!!!”. Students have also been taught how to play Monopoly and have been enthusiastically getting into buying properties and making alliances. This is not to say that the other clubs have not seen their fair share of excitement over the week as well. The drama club had a ball trying out “Chinese Whispers” where in a sequence of actions meant to be someone not having change to pay for a bus ended up at the end as someone trying to ‘unlock a box’. The students were doubling over with laughter at their attempted but hilariously unsuccessful attempts at miming while on the other far corner of the school, the music club was showing off their vocal abilities. I happened to be in charge of this club as well and I can see great things happening at the music club. The English club in the middle of the pods may have wondered why Despacito was playing from the speakers at one point but I honestly believe they were too engrossed in their activities to notice much of anything else. English club did a deep dive into their capitals and simples this week and have taken one step further in their journey of the intricacies in the English language.


Student Magazine


Our first ever student magazine is out!!! The students have done a fantastic job in encapsulating the theme of collaboration within their magazine, with articles, interviews and a word search to keep the readers on their toes. We’ve attached our student magazine with the blog and you can read all about our first project and thoughts on collaboration from the student perspective. Hot off the press!


Mentoring Program


Anju and Dee have been hard at work trying to help us along in our journey as Educators. We are divided into two groups; Team Moses take the wheel and Team Meticulous. I do believe there is no untouched whiteboard in the premises as they have filled in the boards with neat notes on everything that we need to plan for (Dee) and the occasional, scrawled comment on anything we missed out on (Anju). We are all looking forward to rolling out the mentor program in the upcoming months, with observations and INSETTs looming on the horizon.


All in all, it has been another bustling week at Avinya. We’ve kept our energy up with delicious contributions of treats from our favorite group of bakers; Vidushi, Ilma and Dilani. I’ve been trying to eat healthier this week but I have realized this is a futile attempt while I’m around such talented bakers and have promptly given up. Perhaps it’ll be a resolution for next year if I find my willpower. We’re officially past the half-way point for the first term and as ever, it has been full of adventure and surprises. Stay tuned next week for Isuru’s update on our next project and all the other exciting things we have in store for our students. Goodbye and have a great weekend!


I’ll leave you with a sneak peek into our Fashion show this week which is definitely one for the history books 🙂