CARE – Renewed, Reversed, Re-defined

South Point has always been fortunate to have a breed of talented & dedicated teachers who were instrumental in producing quality students excelling in whatever careers they have embraced, both within the country & abroad. It was in 2008 that some members of ASPEXS came up with the innovative idea of restoring contact with the retired teachers of South Point & extend a helping hand to them in their times of need – may be financial, medical or even emotional. Cherishing the emotional bond that was built with their Teachers during their school days, the Ex-Students Association of South Point (ASPEXS) formed a CARE WING in 2008 to keep in touch with the retired Teachers of the school. This can be considered another feather in cap of the school’s remarkable alumni as such a unique initiative that probably has not been attempted by any alumni of any school of Kolkata till date. This venture would be a unique way of expressing the students’ indebtedness & gratitude towards the teachers in the twilight years of their lives.

The initial period of Care Wing was tough, many hurdles had to be overcome. A lot of midnight oil was burnt to accomplish the difficult task of delving into old records and find out the whereabouts of the long-retired teachers. The management of the School came forward with all possible help. A great number of ex-students became enthusiastic volunteers& slowly a database of the retired teachers could be built up &the volunteers started visiting them.

What an enjoyable experience it was – locating them, visiting them after 2/3 decades, talking with them for endless hours, it was simply fascinating. The Teachers too were overwhelmed. Some were in their 60’s, some 70’s and some even 80’s. But, irrespective of their age and fading memories, their eyes sparkled at the mention of their school and their beloved students. They became emotionally charged while interacting with them& with moist eyes they almost relived the golden days they had spent at South Point. In the 1 st get-together that we could organize for them, the teachers could also meet many of their old colleagues with whom they had lost touch after they had left school.

There was a dark side to this saga too. It was found that some of the teachers, quite advanced in age, were in financial distress & some could not even afford basic medical treatment. As words spread about the same, Pointers, from all corners of the globe came forward with contributions which helped in building up a corpus for catering to their medical needs as well as sudden exigencies.

Care Wing also organized a number of Medical camps, where, apart from consultation facilities with Pointer Doctors of various disciplines, blood tests & health checkup facilities were provided. Pointer Doctors were gracious enough to take time out of their busy schedules and professional commitments& offered their services free of charge at the medical camps.

Apart from the medical & financial help, the volunteers of Care Wing found that majority of the teachers were keen to overcome loneliness & interactions with their ex-students provided the much-needed emotional support they were craving for. Till date, they await eagerly and earnestly look forward to visits and even phone calls from the Care Wing volunteers. Accordingly, Care Wing has, over the years, organized for the teachers a number of picnics, Trip to the Dakshineswar and Adyapith temples, luncheon get-togethers and cultural programs on the occasion of Teachers’ Day etc. Some of the most notable events organized by ASPEXS Care Wing includes screening of the films ‘Muktodhara’ and ‘Chittagong’. The latter was attended by the director of the film Mr. Bedabrata Pyne, who himself is a South Point alumnus. Apart from this, the teachers are regularly invited to other ASPEXS events like ‘Barshabaran’ and the ‘Annual Drama’. This tradition condition continued even after the pandemic began, but the venue had to be shifted to mobile phones or computer screens.

In the post-Covid world, physical meetings with the teachers had to be reduced considerably. Like the world, Care Wing also shifted its activities virtually. The members tried to keep in touch with the teachers as far as possible via phone calls and WhatsApp, trying to help them in whatever manner possible during the lockdowns. Care Wing also shared necessary information with the teachers regarding testing centers and vaccination facilities.

ASPEXS Care Wing has its own dedicated Facebook page(https://www.facebook.com/ASPEXSCARE) followed by numerous ex-Pointers located across the globe. This page has become a prominent interface to share updates and information about our teachers. Many former students have shared their memories and paid rich tributes on the unfortunate demise of any of the teachers. Notable among them were the barrage of tributes that poured in after the demise of Shri Anjan Dasgupta, the legendary Physics teacher from South Point high School, some of which were shared in the page’s timeline.

Care Wing has a dedicated team of volunteers & age here is no bar. It has Pointers spanning from 1974 H S batch till recent pass-outs. It is the love for the school & its teachers that binds the team together & they work in complete unison to remain in touch with their beloved teachers & render help whenever necessary.

We sincerely hope that Care Wing will have more & more dedicated volunteers as days pass by & the team will continue to thrive & excel in providing medical, financial & above all emotional care for all the retired teachers of South Point.