It was on a fine Sunday morning over a cup of coffee that the brilliant idea of starting a school struck Mathew sir’s mind. He immediately passed on the idea to Rosey Ma’m, who was initially reluctant as she had an idea about the volume of work involved in running a school.She was a housewife with two school going kids and wondered if it was a workable idea. But Mathew sir persisted and in his usual confident manner encouraged her to give it serious thought.
Moreover he was tired of recommendations for admissions to schools for friends and relations. He said we will start one for our friends and relations So the idea of Excelsior was born. Whenever there was a chance Mathew Sir and Rose Ma’am visited many schools in India and abroad to get a feel of the real idea about how to run a school. They located a house in Variserry for starting the school with 3 classes PI, PII and Grade I and also looked around for land to build the school. Next was to find teachers. An advertisement in Manoramma turned out to be successful and Excelsior had its first teachers, MsThangom,MsSheila and Ms.SareenaThen we had to find a Malayalam teacher. So Mathew sir went to Baker School and Betty Miss was located.
A standard 20 Van was purchased and Panicker Chettan was hired as driver.Shanthy and Jolly joined in as helpers. Panickerchettan retired last year and Jolly is still a part of the school. Mathew sirs kids and nieces and nephews pooled in all their efforts to paint blackboards, create teaching aids, buy toys and help out in the new venture. Next task was to find a name for the school. Ideas poured in from family and friends. Finally they decided on Excelsior as it had a nice sound to it and it meant heights of excellence in Latin. A visit to Textile shops helped to select a suitable uniform.A pattern was selected after consultation with many.
So finally by May Excelsior was ready to take off. Only they had to find students to teach. An ad in the paper about the new school was put and we selected 45 students for the first year, 15 each in a class. It was always an understanding that the school would be small in size but excellent in quality.
School reopened on June 2 ,1992 .Rosey Mam acted as the administrator, correspondent, manager, cashier all rolled into one.
So an idea location for school was found at Illickal away from the hustle and bustle of kottayam town. The foundation stone was laid on 8 September 1992The school shifted to Parakael House Chungom in 1994 since we needed more space. It was old house with plenty of trees in the compound.One day as the bus was leaving we could not find one student.A frantic search was carried out and final we found him on top of the nutmeg Tree!
Years rolled by and classes were added every year. In 1996 we shifted to the new premises. It was a proud moment for us to have at our disposal 4 acres of land and plenty of space for the kids to play. At no time was there any thought of expanding the numbers in the school. We wanted to stick to small numbers which gave personal attention to all the students. The students really enjoyed every day they spent here. There was a boy in Grade I who wanted to grow up and marry Rosey Ma’m.
Come June and rains poured and then came the floods and rain holidays. From then on every year whenever it rained kids prayed for floods! Our first batch of X graduated in 2002 and from then on there has been no looking back. We started Class XI in 2006 and the first batch graduated in 2008. There was a student who asked Rosey Ma’m in Grade 12 why she couldn’t start grade 13 here so that she could study here for one more year!
Farewells are a tearful event at school. It is when students are ready to leave school that they realize how much they love Excelsior, But of course there is no putting the clock back ever! So teachers and students cry together as they are going to miss each other so much! The door to Rosey Ma’ms office is always open. Students are free to walk in any time with complaints or needs. She gives them a patient hearing but always takes her own decisions.
Small class students are sometimes threatened with the biggest punishment they can get being sent to Rosey Ma’ms office. Later they realized it was no punishment at all. One naughty boy came back to his class and told all, no need to be scared, she even gives you sweets!! Students and teachers enjoy a great relationship here. They are not only teachers but friends and confidants who are well admired by students. There are students whose ambition is to come back to Excelsior as teachers. And of course students who want their children also to grow up here. The first second generation student joined us in the silver jubilee year!
Festivals are great celebrations. Our Onam sadya is a tradition we have followed for 25 years and still going strong! Come Xmas and all students and teachers exchange Xmas gifts.
We have our old students walking in here any day of the year at any time.They all tell us one thing.There is no school like this anywhere in the world!We feel so proud and happy to hear that!Many have suggested that we start a college here so that they can be with us for a few more years.Mathew sir has promised to give it serious thought!
Excursions from school are pure fun days.as soon as they get back from a trip the students want to know where they are going next year! That is how much they enjoy the school trips!
The golden rule of Excelsior is no sticks to control children.Mathew sir says a stick in hand might tempt the teacher to use it! So no teacher is ever allowed to carry one.But there are students who would remember small pinches they have received from their favourite teachers.It is the usual practice of many senior students to come to school without doing Homework,but they can all be found busy in the morning copying assignments form their friend books before the teacher reaches class.We have students who come back after the weekend in the wrong uniform and say they forgot it was Monday!Many students have thanked us for making them speak in English at school which has made them stand out in their classes in college for the quality of English language.
In the Silver Jubilee year we celebrated the event with a music programme by the music miracle Mr Stephen Devassy.It was an incredible evening of pure joy and entertainment.We were not prepared for the Covid Pandemic which made 2020 a zero academic year. But as always we rose to the challenge and teamed up with Microsoft Teams to start online classes. It is all these titbits that make Excelsior what it is .It also makes it a happy school where the mindset of teachers and students is a happy one.
We are all looking forward to June 2021 when students and teachers can get back to a normal school year.So the Excelsior Saga goes on. May the Almighty in whom we trust carry us forward for many more years of Excellence in education.