St. Edmund's – the education citadel of Northeast
Moumita Deb Choudhury
"Facta non Verba: deeds not words" is the philosophy on which St. Edmund's college of Shillong thrives. Located in the heart of the city, the College is an aspired destination for almost all the students of Northeast India if not the entire country. Set in a serene lush green background, it is surrounded by lake, fruit gardens and fields. The inner landscape is featured by sprawling lawns, buildings and also boasts of numerous flower gardens, as well as green houses. Edmund Ignatius Rice who founded this college in the early nineteen century would have loved to see how his dream has grown into a solace for many.
People like Victor Banerjee and others, who have left an indelible mark in various capacities, are alumni of St. Edmund's. Its success story strongly rests on its student- teacher relationship. Students excel in all fields under the aegis of teachers. Be it state level debates, extempore, or sports related completions; students from St Edmund's have always won accolades in every domain. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has awarded the college the highest points (87.5) ever awarded to any colleges in Eastern India, till date. This relationship is not just confined to the four walls of the class room, but made cordial with interactions outside the classrooms as well. This informal interaction makes it a place where one would like to find himself.
But if one imagines St. Edmund's to be a place where there is all work and no play which makes 'Jack' dull, he is utterly mistaken., 'College week' the annual fest spread over a week is organized every year to give scope to the students for flexing their talent and bask themselves in the mirth, hue and adventure of this fest. The college week is marked by an array of events like cultural shows which includes dance, song, fashion shows, rangoli and mehendi competitions. Food festival ropes in a huge number of food lovers. Local delicacies like Jadoh are served by the students.
St. Edmund's is not only about fun and entertainment. Volleyball, basket ball, badminton, chess, interclass cricket, football competitions are very popular with the students. A special mention must go to other events such as brake-cycling wherein one is tested as to how slowly one can drive and balance on the cycle without losing control. And that is a lesson for Edmundians for rest of their lives of never losing control at the time of freeing of arms. Also bike stunt action witnesses a lot of spectators flocking together to cheer the riders who get a chance to flaunt their talents on their bikes. Debates, quiz, extempore speech are all packed in during those seven days.
A must mention is the Staff versus Student cricket and Football competitions. These events are massive crowd pullers and generate maximum enthusiasm among both the parties. Both teams compete vigorously and play the game in their highest spirits. It is cheered by everyone and is one of the many instances of the faculty involvement with students.
Apart from these activities, to make the week even more vibrant; each of the seven days is tagged to a particular activity or attire. A few are Semi-formal day, Ethnic day that draws out all the people in their traditional wears, Wacky Day in which one is supposed to look something out of the blues and Rose and chocolate day wherein boys doles out roses on girls and in return chocolates are bestowed upon boys (primarily it is a rose collection day for the ladies.)
St. Edmunds is also home to numerous students coming from various caste, religion and creed. But once a member of St. Edmund's fraternity, they are all recognized by a uniform code- Edmundians. Be it Christmas or Vishwakarma Puja, every occasion is celebrated and paid equal importance to integrate the entire student community. This all embracing initiative by the college authorities has harnessed communal harmony in the college and untied the students of the college to work their way together.
The time spent in St. Edmund's is the time which will be reminiscent to an Edmundian for entire life. Meeting friends at the coffee corner, walking down the road arched with trees until one finds himself out of the campus, reading fabulous books in the library and teachers' earnest guidance are some of the things that forms some of the fondest memories and will be cherished throughout.
The author is an upcoming journalist from Shillong, the capital of the Northeastern state of Meghalaya. She is presently pursuing her Masters in Mass Communication from Assam University at Silchar.