Shimla: Bishop Cotton School (BCS), one of Asia’s oldest residental public school, celebrated their 161st Founder’s Day on Tuesday (28 July, 2020) but it was for the first time in its long history that it was celebrated virtually with the school community mostly watching the function remotely online. Residential staff were present at the Shimla site for the ceremony.
BCS has played a big part in shaping the development of public schools and education in India as well as producing a host of well-known and successful alumni.
One Old Cottonian who took part in the celebrations was the celebrated author Ruskin Bond who spoke by telephone to the Director of the school, Simon Weale, and sent his blessings to the school community.
The online service included a message from the Director, readings from the Headmaster and a prayer from the Chaplain and an address by the Chairman of the Governors, the Bishop of Amritsar.
The Director, Simon Weale spoke from his garden and recounted how Bishop Cotton School had overcome many challenges in the past including a major fire burnt and destroyed several buildings in 1905, the Great War, the Spanish Flu and also the aftermath of partition in 1947.
His main message was the positive one that BCS boys were well equipped to cope with the present crisis and that 2020 ‘has not been cancelled’. In fact, the lockdown has given us a great opportunity to realize what is precious in our lives. He ended by saying ‘Work hard, stay safe and it won’t be long before you are back at school’.
The school has operated a full academic curriculum online since March. Parents have reported that the children have been missing playing sport with their friends and are yearning to get back on campus in Shimla.
The new Headmaster, Mr Mathew John, read from the bible – Romans 12:21 – a lesson that was originally read by the school’s founding father Bishop Cotton at the school’s inception in 1859. It explains the school’s motto “Overcome Evil with Good”. The school prayer weas read by the Chaplain Revd. Dinesh Singh.
The Bishop of Amritsar, Revd. Dr.P.K. Samantaroy, Bishop CNI Diocese of Amritsar and Chairman of the BCS Board of Governors gave a Founder’s day Sermon on looking after our neighbours in these times of uncertainty.