Rishi Valley School: Alumni Association Office (AAO)

Dear alumni and friends,

As you may know we recently began the foundational work for the setting up of an Alumni Association Office. Read more about that here.  

We are looking for the right person to take on this role. The person that comes on board will have to understand the school’s philosophy, be attuned to its working modes and be adept at forging connections and building relationships between alumni, school, teachers and students. Here is a more detailed description of the role and requirement: Download 

We seek your help in sharing this in your networks and helping us to identify suitable people for the position of the AAO. Interested candidates can send an email to: aaoffice@rishivalley.org with their CV and a brief note on why they would like to be a part of the AAO.

Thank you.
Chatura Padaki (on behalf of the AAO)

RV Matters - 26 April 2019

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This morning as I picked up the newspaper kept on the teapoy in the Visitors' lounge in Rishi Valley, I noticed the newspaper and the floor nearby was having a white stain from bird droppings. Expecting to see the familiar Indian Scops Owl pair, I was surprised to see a large, white, heart-shaped face staring back at me. It was then I realized the droppings were larger than usual. Moving back, I got a better look at the visitor perched on the top rafter under the tiled roof. It was a barn owl!

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I had seen this bird just once earlier in the campus and was thrilled to see it. I hurried back home, picked the camera and got a few shots. After a while, the bird became nervous as a few more staff members joined me to take a look. A little later as I moved to get a better view, the bird moved and flew out to a nearby Peltophorum tree. 

An hour later, towards noon, I went to see if the owl was still around and there and there it was. Took a few more snaps quickly and moved away, not wishing to disturb the bird.

The resident Scops owls were away, perhaps busy, raising a brood in a nearby tree-hole. Wonder what they will have to say when they see a new occupant in their regular haunts!

I hope water will continue to flow and bring about some positive changes to the vegetation and animals as well as people’s lives here.

Dr Santharam

Rishi Valley - Alumni Association Office (AAO)

Dear alumni and friends,

Greetings from Rishi Valley!

The school has many alumni who have strong bonds with the school and would like to be involved in as many ways as they can. While there are a few alumni groups and funding initiatives already in certain regions, the school has played mostly a peripheral role till now. 

The batch of ICSE 1991/ISC 1993, in their recent 25th year school reunion, spoke to the school suggesting that a formal Alumni Association Office (AAO) for the school would be a key strategic initiative. They felt it will help to formalise the interactions of the school with its alumni as well as catalyse engagement between alumni and senior students towards career guidance and mentoring. 

On its part, the School has discussed this issue internally, agrees with the principle and has agreed to establish the AAO. Importantly, the school would want this initiative to sustain itself for the years to come. Therefore, clarifying the objectives early and laying the right foundation would be critical for the effective functioning of this initiative.

The 3 objectives of the AAO are the following:

1. MENTORSHIP for Students – Drive and coordinate work/career counselling / mentorship initiatives which will help the school’s secondary students get a better understanding of the opportunities and options in the world (and align with their interests and passions)

2. BRIDGE between the school and alumni – Connect with all alumni on an ongoing basis and be the bridge between the school and alumni for information and coordination, and create an updated and accurate alumni database 

3. SUPPORT school – Drive strategic initiatives and communication that can help to raise endowments/funds on an ongoing basis; respond back to alumni on the impact of the funds regularly.

It will be critical to find the right person to be the Alumni Association Officer. The person will have to understand the school’s philosophy, be attuned to its working modes and be adept at forging connections and building relationships between alumni, school, teachers and students.  The school has begun the process of recruiting this person, and will seek your help in this respect over the next few weeks. 

In the meanwhile, we have decided to begin the foundational work by appointing Chatura Padaki, alumnus of ISC 1988, as the interim Alumni Association Officer. Chatura has been volunteering in many school initiatives already and is familiar with the school’s philosophy. As the interim officer, we feel she is the right person to drive the launch of this initiative. As the AAO, she has been entrusted to set the right systems and processes for the long term. She will engage with alumni as well as with senior school students at appropriate times. She will also work with the school and alumni to build consensus around our present and future plans. 

Please join me in congratulating Chatura for this role and giving her all your support as and when she reaches out to you. You can also connect with her at aaoffice@rishivalley.org for any suggestions or comments.

Finally, we are thankful to the Batch of ICSE ’91 / ISC ‘93 for seeing this initiative. The efforts of the AAO will go a long way in helping the school and forging a deeper bond between the school, its students and the alumni community. 

With warm wishes,
Dr A. Kumaraswamy

RV Matters - 29 March 2019

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The summer is already here. Even early in March, temperatures in the valley shot up to 40.5 degrees! Mercifully, the mornings are still cool.

The neem trees have started blooming and the heady scent of the blossoms are fill the air. Some of the other trees too are flowering – the Wrightia tinctoria, Alangium sp. The Peepul and Pongamia trees have fresh leaves.

We have put up a few new birdbaths in the campus and the water tanks in the Biodiversity park have been filled up and also made more accessible to animals and birds.

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Since early February, the Hundri-Neeva Canal, that was built a few years ago has been having water flowing through it and with this there has been recharge of some of the bore-wells in the valley. A few birds that are dependent on water have made their appearance along the banks of the canal. There were two cormorants by the shores a couple of weeks ago. A Small Blue or Common Kingfisher was also sighted. The wire-tailed swallow, which is seen close to waterbodies was seen flying over the waters.

I hope water will continue to flow and bring about some positive changes to the vegetation and animals as well as people’s lives here.

Dr Santharam

RV Matters - 17 March 2019

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After a long gap, I visited the “Stinky Pond”, located between the Carpentry Shed and the RV Dairy (just behind the BBT) some days ago. This used to be, despite the awful smell, one of the most tranquil spots on campus. Surrounded by greenery and being cool and moist all through the year, this spot had been a favorite of mine. The pond had water, surrounded by trees and shrubs and the stink that came not from the pond water (which is mainly water from the laundry) but from the adjacent pipes that carries bathwater from many of the hostels.

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I was not disappointed. As I cautiously approached the pond, one by one, the tortoises that lived disappeared into the water with a loud plonk. Yet, I managed to see one of them – the Peninsular Black turtle for a couple of minutes before it decided to disappear into the waters.

From the dense undergrowth adjacent to the waterbody came the loud raucous calls of the             whitebreasted waterhen. A Pond heron sat meditatively on a low branch, while a pair of white-browed wagtails foraged in the slushy, wet mud at one end of the pond. As I watched, a sudden moment caught my eye and a myna-sized bird, greyish in colour came into view. It was a subspecies of the Indian Blackbird that was not actually black in its plumage! Slowly I moved across to the other side of the pond, hoping to capture an image of this uncommon visitor to our campus, a bird that is seen only in dense wooded, cool parts like the surrounds of the Stinky pond – a micro-habitat that is fast vanishing on our campus. I waited for about five minutes and there it was, posing perfectly for me on a leafless branch. I got a couple of good shots of the bird, a male.

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This area has a rich birdlife and I have seen six or seven species of flycatchers, orange-headed thrushes, Indian pitta, warblers, wagtails, the green sandpiper apart from the resident bulbuls and babblers.

It is a pity that the greenery in this patch has gradually been reduced over the years. In the 1990's, this was a dense impenetrable jungle, but steadily, parts of this patch was cleared for vermicomposting, dumping of unused building materials, wastes like electric tubes, bike parking area, etc. etc. Currently there is just 40-50% of the original area under vegetation. A few years ago, students had, as a part of their club activity, studied this area and suggested the filtering of water released from the laundry and to clean up the water in the pond. The stinking grey water from the bathrooms too need to be diverted to make the place stink-free.

This is perhaps the only permanent waterbody on campus and it is an important micro-habitat to several wildlife species. Relocating the dumpyard and reclaiming the greenery in this patch will serve in supporting many of these species and help maintain the biological diversity of the Bird preserve.

Dr Santharam

RV Matters - 10 March 2019

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The Shaheen Falcon is a resident subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon. Last Sunday (3rd March), we had the opportunity to see a bird flying above us for about 3-4 minutes, hunting for its prey, much to the delight of the young birders. It is occasionally seen in Rishi Valley and I suspect it may be nesting in the rocky ledges in the Horsley Hills.

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The Common Kestrel is another falcon seen around our campus. It is a winter visitor. This year we have had few sightings and so I was delighted to see a male bird hovering in the mid-air in the Biodiversity park last week. This is a bird of the open country and loves to hover, beating its wings steadily, while looking for its prey – small rodents, lizards, insects and occasionally small birds.

Dr Santharam