Jude Jeremiah, one of three brothers with a single mother, has dealt with challenging family dynamics while maintaining his focus on education and values. He is a serious-minded young man with talents for music and leadership, and is the President-elect of the newly formed Pathway Alumni Association. He will graduate next year from Vivekananda College with a B.A. in English Literature.
There was bonhomie and great cheer amongst former graduates of the Pamela Martinez School as they trooped in the halls of Pathway, Chennai. The joyous occasion was to establish the Pathway Alumni Association (PAA). The association was inaugurated recently at Pathway in the presence of several former graduates who were excited to come together. PAA was formed with an aim and objective to bring together all the former graduates. The purpose was to create a continued fellowship amongst the members and to offer succor to young men and women as they navigated in their lives.
Jude Jeremiah was elected as the president, Saravanan as the Secretary and Esther as the treasurer. Surya, Vignesh, Akash, Manju, Binitha , Mercy, Raman and Laxmanan were elected as founder members. All office bearers were congratulated by (seated, front row) Dr. Prasad, Chandra Prasad, Dhuli Patnaik, and Sudha Subramaniam. They were also invited to join the association as guest members and advisors. The members made many suggestions to make PAA vibrant, successful, and meet regularly. Members unanimously agreed to contribute a fee that could be well utilized to assist members in dire need. Dr. Prasad urged members to extend their hand of support to all the children who have passed out from Pathway to join PAA, he encouraged members to reach out to needy children and bring them to the notice of Pathway so that required assistance could be extended. Further, he also requested members to help their alma mater by volunteering their time to offer service to children at Pamela Martinez School and Home for Children.
Karan is an intense tenth grade student from a single parent family, whose younger brother James (seventh grade) is also a student at Pathway. In 2003 Karan’s mother felt that Pathway was the answer to her prayers as she grappled with what she should do to protect and educate her sons while she was working long hours and was forced to live in an unsafe area.
As his graduation approaches, Karan is working seriously on his school marks. He expresses gratitude to Pathway for providing him with a solid and free education, a safe environment, and a moral compass for his life.
The history of wedding cards makes interesting reading. Prior to the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1447, weddings in England were typically announced by means of a ‘ Town crier’ , a man who would walk through the streets announcing in a loud voice the news of the day. Traditionally, anyone within earshot became part of the celebration. As years went by, invitations emerged among the nobility and they commissioned monks skilled in Calligraphy in kingdoms of India, to hand-craft their notices on silk scrolls. Recent times have seen mass production of invitation cards using letter / offset press . Latest trends in vogue are perhaps ordering cards on line that are digitally printed, or using ‘E cards’.
In midst of all this the most coveted and sought after invitation cards are custom made, hand crafted cards from Pathway. Pathway has been specializing in this art of designing exclusive hand made cards, especially produced by the nimble fingers of special children and adults under the direction of Chandra Prasad. Recently, gold brocaded concentric cards were designed for the wedding of Sivaprakasam and his young bride. The couple were ecstatic to see the outcome. They were a bundle of joy as they received compliments for their highly innovative and colourful invitations.
Besides invitation cards, Pathway also offers a variety of highly affordable gifts that could be used for weddings and other special occasions. Exclusive hand crafted garlands for the bride and the groom, hand made flowers bouquet, exquisite jewellry boxes, designer trays, art objects, and many more are custom made articles are available for such glorious occasions.
Like an oasis in a desert, this small patch of greenery in the concrete jungle of Chennai is a feast to the eyes. This bright spot is full of lush green plants, filled with flowers, fruits and foliage. Almost twenty years ago two young men, Bill Benac Jr and Tim Fews, visited Pathway to volunteer. Both were students of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Bill and Tim had a definite job carved out for them, to set up a roof garden as envisioned by Prasads. Loads of soil and manure were lifted by them manually along with children of Pathway. Considerable thought was invested in designing the floor with proper water treatment and drainage.
Today this small experimental patch has given great scope for research to grow and nurture plants that normally do not grow in this part of India, due to sweltering heat and humidity. Grapes and pineapple, for instance,require cool climatic conditions to thrive, but they are growing freely at the Pathway roof garden where conditions are kept under control.
This garden boasts several types of plants such as ‘Paan’ or betel leaves, exquisite edible and tasty greens, curry leaves, large pumpkins, egg plant, okra, double beans, cluster beans, chillies, tomatos, fenugreek, spring onions, etc.that reach the kitchen regularly. Flowering plants such as begonia, jasmine, hibiscus, and roses of different hues bloom, and orchids grow utilizing charcoal. To top it all the roof garden is also growing hybrid lemon trees. The roof garden attracts plenty of interested visitors. Children enjoy tending these plants under the watchful eyes of Chandra Prasad and they are indeed proud of their accomplishments.It has also served as training and stepping stone for children and adolescents to graduate into horticulture.
Ladies in India love gold and diamond jewelry and they are indeed expensive. Who has heard of making elegant and breathtaking jewelry made up of discarded water bottles? There is absolutely no dearth for raw material. Worldwide 7.5 million tons of PET (Polythylene Terephthalate) was recycled in 2011. Pathway collects discarded PET bottles and converts them into sheets and wires to make these attractive bangles, ear rings, and necklaces designed by Chandra Prasad and crafted by the nimble hands of children with special needs.at Pathway and the Sabin Centre.
Sumithra is a beautiful tenth grade girl who came to Pathway with her brother Chiranjeevi in 2002. With a winning smile and a lovely singing voice, Sumithra has helped teach the small children on Sundays. She excels in sports and particularly enjoys volleyball and running. Sumithra’s favorite subject is science, and she would like future schooling to prepare her either to become a computer engineer, or a police woman so she could protect others from violence.
Mid January is an important time in Tamil Nadu, so also for Pathway. The harvest festival falls typically on 14 January. This time the harvest brought great cheer in the hearts of everybody at the Pathway Agro Farm as plenty of rice and vegetables were harvested. This four day long Pongal festivel was celebrated with great fun and frolic by the children and staff of Pathway, Chennai, the Pamela Martinez Matriculation School & Orphanage and the Sabin Centre for the disabled. The first day Bhogi was celebrated by actively cleaning thoroughly living quarters and surroundings. Boys and girls sang and danced around a bonfire using agricultural waste and firewood, which brought warmth during the last lap of ‘winter’. On the second day, Pongal was celebrated by boiling in earthenware pot newly harvested rice in milk, . Children were offered this sweet dish with coconut, sugarcane and bananas. The third day, known as mattupongal, was celebrated with decorating the cows and calves with multi- colored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn, and flower garlands. The entire atmosphere was festive with full of fun revelry. Children joined in painting the cow’s horns with bright attractive colours. The fourth day, Kanum Pongal, was celebrated by enjoying delicious food and playing games in the open with great fellowship. In all, Pongal was a celebration of gratitude to The Lord for His bountiful blessings.
The 66th Republic Day anniversary was celebrated at Pathway Agro Farm for Children with great pomp and gaiety. The grand displays of talent by the children of the Pamela Martinez Matriculation School and Orphanage and children and adolescents of the Sabin Centre for Education and Rehabilitation of Disabled were eye catching and awesome. Children of the Pamela Martinez School were seen to be rehearsing for this big day for almost a fortnight. They had prepared a long programme of nearly three hours to be presented on the eve of the Republic Day. Similarly, boys and girls of the Sabin Centre were also seen to be practicing many program which they were planning to showcase. On this special day the flag mast and the entire area was decorated with colourful buntings and tiny flags. Every child was found sporting a small Indian flag that was affixed on the lapel of their shirts.
The show started with an impressive march-past by nearly 250 children comprising of able and disabled children of the Farm. They marched with precision driven by a rhythmic band that was played by two senior boys. All the children in their neatly pressed clothes marched perfectly past the saluting base, As the national flag was unfurled there showered a copious sprinkling of petals of roses, jasmines and various flowers. This signaled the singing of national anthem which was rendered with great poise and decorum. Prasad taught the children that republic day celebrates the coming in to force of the constitution of India. He also encouraged children to watch the national telecast of the republic day parade and celebrations at New Delhi, where the honorable President of United States was the guest of honour, in the presence of our honorable Prime Minister and President of India..
The children of the Pamela Martinez Matriculation School and Orphanage presented a huge variety of program.They were dressed up beautifully and gave short speeches on the struggle of those days against the British rule. Boys and girls regaled the audience with humor and wit with their presentation of skits and dramas in faultless English and Tamil. The entire show was full of great educational value and truly delightful. The songs and dances presented by the children were particularly spectacular and grand.
The children with special needs from the Sabin Centre for Education and Rehabilitation of Disabled did not lag behind in any sphere. They showcased highly enjoyable and loveable program comprising of songs and dances with the theme of patriotism. The skit featuring dances from different states was particularly noteworthy.
After nearly three hours of entertainment and joy, all the children, staff, and invitees were treated to a grand feast.
Republic day was celebrated at Pathway, Chennai in a grand manner. There was feverish excitement in the children as many of them were ready to present a colorful program. Beena was dressed up as mother India, Divya and many other girls were dressed up in their white and colourful chiffons ready to dance to the patriotic tunes selected for the occasion. As the children were called to attention, Sudha Subramaniam was requested to unfurl the national flag. With this the children, staff and everyone assembled sang the national anthem in unison. Children dressed as Gandhi, Nehru, and other great patriots passed by, drawing resounding claps from all assembled. culminating in praising and offering obeisance to Mother India. The event came to a close with distribution of sweets.
Monika is a responsible, self-directed ninth grade student. Though small in stature, Monika has taken upon herself the big job of teaching weekend classes in values, songs, and stories to the younger Pathway students. Also gifted in music, Monika learned to play the piano so she can accompany group singing. A serious young lady, Monika’s favorite subject is English and she would like to continue her studies and possibly become a teacher. Her older sister graduated from Pathway and is now in the 11th grade and her brother, Naresh, is currently a 6th grade student at Pathway.