We’re fortunate to have teachers with whom we can share everything under the sun

Tina Rose Abraham (Class 12 Graduating Class of 2019)
Student at Head Start from 2015 to 2019
Joining University of Texas, Austin

On my first day at Head Start in the Ninth Grade, I remember feeling rather apprehensive. I knew that most of my classmates had studied here since they were two, and I dreaded feeling like an outsider, cautiously navigating the delicate friendship dynamics I was sure to find. However, from the moment I stepped onto the tree-lined campus, I found that my teachers and fellow students were very welcoming, introducing themselves and eagerly showing me around. I was immediately integrated into various parts of our school’s culture, from Quiet Time to sitting on the floor during lunch. These traditions, while almost mundane to those around me who partook in them every day, were fascinating to me, and made me feel included from day one. In the confusing yet exhilarating haze of learning everyone’s names and finding my way around the building on that first day, I couldn’t help but feel a part of something already.

Many aspects of life at Head Start were very different from what I was used to. Teachers are called ‘Aunty’, illustrating the almost familial relationships we share with them, which run far deeper than those found at other schools. We’re fortunate to have teachers with whom we can share everything under the sun, from debates about social norms to conversations about literary tropes that continue well into lunch break, somehow deviating into lively discussions about the latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We’re introduced to new ideas in ways that involve thinking outside the book. While I may have once learnt about propaganda in Nazi Germany by reading from a textbook, I now found myself crafting my own German posters in Nithya Aunty’s class, understanding history by immersing myself in it. Our teachers are always willing to exchange wacky ideas, present new perspectives, and even provide a shoulder to cry on. Over the past four years, I have grown to view them not as authority figures, but as guides and friends, intent upon bringing out the best in us.

From my involvement in theatre to my experience editing Ruh, our literary magazine, studying at Head Start has allowed me to try my hand at various activities, each of which has taught me something new. These experiences have moulded me, allowing me to figure out where my passions lie. Through them, I’ve grown in confidence; I’ve learnt to own my talents as well as my mistakes. The friendships I have made here will shape me for a long time to come. I know I’m going to cherish the memories we made while creating the play Better than the Real, and on our trips to the Andamans and the North East. I’m thankful for the many meetings and Circle Time conversations through which we have learnt to consider the impact of our actions on our school ecosystem, on our environment, and on the world at large.

Sometimes I can hardly believe that it has been only four years, but at others, the time I’ve spent here feels far too short. It’s difficult to think that I won’t begin every morning with assembly, lie on the balcony in between classes (to the teachers’ dismay), or play with Jade, the school dog, in the corridors. But as we are constantly reminded, Head Start is a second home, to which we may return as often as we’d like. It is comforting to know that I will always be welcome here.

Posted in Alumni, Class of 2019, From Our Students, Reflections.