Youth Day Celebrations - 2006

December 17-18, 2005 Essay Writing Competitions:  Every year Vivekananda Vidyapith celebrates Swami Vivekananda’s birthday as “Youth Day.”  Youth Day celebrations consist of prayer, reflections on Swami Vivekananda’s life and teachings, and essay writing and speech competitions.  On Saturday, December 17, 2005 and Sunday, December 18, 2005 contests were held for coloring pictures, writing a story from a picture, and extempore essay writing.  During the assembly, Uncle (Dr. Mahendra Jani) talked about Swami Vivekananda’s love for humanity, especially for the poor and the deprived, who are neglected by the society.  Swami Vivekananda said that along with spiritual practices like japa, meditation and others, one should try to see God residing in the hearts of all beings whom he called “The Living God,” and selflessly serve them.  To emphasize his point, he even told his disciples in India that they should put aside worship of all the forms of gods and goddesses and serve the poor and neglected people while seeing God in them.  Swami Vivekananda made it clear that without spiritual foundation it is extremely difficult to serve people selflessly.  After the assembly, students went to their classes to take part in Essay writing competitions.  There was the excitement of anticipation in every class as the students took this competition as a challenge to bring out the best in them. 


January 7 and 8, 2006 Speech Competitions: On Saturday, January 7th, and Sunday, January 8th, 2006, students of the third, fourth, and fifth grades had their speech competitions.  Both the days, the Prayer Hall was packed with students, alumni, teachers, and parents. Excitement filled the air as everyone eagerly waited to hear all the little ones who stood ready to deliver speeches on their given topics.  Both days began with the regular prayer at 9:00 a.m.  After prayer Uncle welcomed all with New Year’s greetings and best wishes.  He recounted how a few students, teachers and parents began the Vidyapith’s New Year on January 1st at 7:00 a.m. with a special worship of all gods, goddesses, and Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda.  Uncle then talked about the beautiful 2006 Vidyapith calendar put together by Aunty (Dr. Vandana Jani), Neirah Aunty (Neirah Bhargava), Uma Aunty (Uma Ramakrishnan), and student Dhairya Dalal.  The calendar’s theme is “Light,” and it contains inspiring quotes from various religious scriptures of the world.  He pointed out that January is the month in which Swami Vivekananda was born and that we celebrate his Birthday every year as “Youth Day.”  Describing briefly Swami Vivekananda’s life and teachings, Uncle encouraged all the students to do their best in the competitions.  He told them how he enjoys listening to each student and what a great learning experience it is for him.  After the assembly, a small platform was set for the speakers, and chairs arranged for the judges.  There were three judges for each competition; one alumnus, one parent, and one non-Vidyapith guest judge.  As usual, the alumni of the Vidyapith took charge as moderators of the events. Finally, the competitions began.                  

             (It was the first time that the) third graders were participating in the speech competitions.  They were a little nervous, but all spoke very well.  No one forgot their lines, and each one brought wonderful thoughts on what he/she would do if he/she could become a butterfly or a star in the sky.  This was followed by the fourth graders’ competitions.  On Saturday, the topic was “My Most Memorable Family Trip” and on Sunday, “My Favorite Festival.”  It was very enjoyable to listen to what appeals to the children when they go on a trip.  They described various places in the U.S., India and other parts of the world that they visited.  On Sunday, students spoke about many colorful festivals celebrated in various parts of India and America. The fifth graders spoke on the subject, “Little Things Do Count.”  With their excellent presentations, the students explained how seemingly insignificant things can be found to be of great value and importance.  Sunday fifth graders spoke on “My Friends have it; why can’t I?”  They brought out the conflicts that come between them and their parents when they demand to have things because their friends have them.  Everyone enjoyed the speeches, impressed by the way little children walked up the stage in front of a packed auditorium and expressed their thoughts fearlessly. The judges had a difficult time in choosing the winners because of the high caliber of the speeches.

 All gathered back at 12: 15 p.m. in the Prayer Hall for the trophy distribution ceremony. Both the days, a young student had selected a Chief Guest by (randomly) picking a name from a basket filled with the names of parents who were (present at) the function.  Saturday’s Chief Guest was Mr. Bhupendra Kinariwala, and Sunday’s was Mr. Parag Oza. They awarded all the trophies to the participants.  All the participants received trophies, honored with continuous applause from the audience.  Then, the winners were announced and they received their trophies.  The winners were happy with their performance, while the other participants looked determined to do better next time. With the hard work of innumerable people the two day function went very smoothly.    


January 14 - 15, 2006 Speech Competitions:

             The speech competitions of Saturday, January 14, 2006 (Makar Sankranti Day), and Sunday, January 15, 2006 were the last two events of the Youth Day Celebrations. Students, alumni, parents, and teachers of the Vidyapith began gathering at the George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood from 7:00 a.m. The stage of the auditorium was made ready with the Vidyapith banner and microphones, and the seating rows were marked with signs for the participants according to their grades.  The weather on Saturday was excellent.  It was surprisingly warm for a winter day, filled with bright sunlight. Everyone felt that it was a special treat from Mother Nature in honor of this celebration. Sunday, on the other hand, was a different story.  A few inches of snow mixed with ice fell early Sunday morning, causing everyone to worry whether the Sunday competitions would take place at all. However, to the surprise of all, students, alumni, parents and teachers arrived at the school overcoming the perils of driving on dangerous ice-covered roads.  Both the days, the program started at 9:00 a.m. with Pranam Mantras and Shanti Mantras. Then, Uncle welcomed all with New Year’s Greetings. He spoke of Swami Vivekananda and how Swamiji wanted youngsters to work for all-around development – physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual.  Giving the example of a car and a driver, he pointed out that our physical body is like the external frame of a car.  Our intellect is like the engine of the car. Even if both are in good condition, there is grave danger if the driver behind the wheels is drunk.  If the driver is sober, but his or her motive is harmful, then also it is hazardous to all people. Moral development makes us a decent human beings and spiritual development motivates us to live and be guided by higher and nobler principles.  At the conclusion of his talk he told all the participants to do their best and always compete with their own selves by doing better than before. After Uncle’s talk, alumni moderators conducted the competitions. They announced the rules and guidelines for the participants and the judges, and called participants one by one to the stage. Everyone was amazed to see how students of various age groups walked up the stage and fearlessly presented their well-prepared speeches in front of an audience of more than 400 people. No one spoke beyond the allotted time limit. Some speeches were serious in content, some hilarious. Each student had something special and unique to say.  It was a great learning experience for all. After the break there was an exciting extempore speech competition for the eleventh graders. Their topic was given to them just one hour before the competition. They sat in a room away from the auditorium with index cards and pencils, writing down their thoughts on the topic for an hour. Then, one by one, they were randomly called to the auditorium to deliver their speech. Everyone enjoyed the eleventh graders’ creativity and resourcefulness in gathering their thoughts in such a short time and presenting them fearlessly in front of an audience that waited with breathless anticipation and cheered on each contestant as they ascended the stage.

The two-day program included breaks for snack and lunch.  At the end, twelfth graders presented their symposiums. Each day, the program concluded with announcements of winners and trophy distribution. Both the days’ Chief Guests were selected randomly from the parents who were present, by picking a name from a basket.  Saturday’s chief guest was Mr. Bhimsen Dhingra and Sunday’s, Mr. Vipul Desai. In addition, Sunday we had a special guest, Ms. Melissa Kopecki, a librarian at the Livingston Library, who has served as a judge for several years in the Vidyapith’s Youth Days competitions. These chief guests distributed the trophies.  After all the participants received their trophies, the winners were awarded their trophies.  The competitions concluded around 5:00 p.m., with salutation to Sri Ramakrishna and the mental offering of the celebration at his feet.  Everyone left the auditorium feeling elated and inspired by the 2006 Youth Day celebrations and looking forward to Youth Day 2007!            


Saturday Twelfth Graders Symposium: 

Topic: “East and West: Parts or Counterparts?” Participants:Dhairya Dalal, Ranjani Venkataramanan, Ami Shah, Simool Sangoi, Shuchi Parkih, Sheela Krishnan, Priya Dhar, Alopi Patel and Payal Patel.  Advisors:  Dr. Raghavan Krishnan and Dr. Lalitha Krishnan.  Summary: For the past 12 years, we have been continually exposed to two different cultlures, and we have attempted to find a middle ground.  As twelfth graders, at the crossroad of two vastly differed cultures and lifestyles –cultures that appear to be at odds on the surface. Through our analysis of the history, philosophy, and culture of the East and the West, both share complimentary parts. Our symposium seeks to find out whether it is possible to integrate the two into a single path or must we choose between the two. As a new generation growing up with Eastern morals and Western ambition, we have established through our presentation, that we can live a dichotomist lifestyle. Through assimilating the best of both worlds we can lead a more balanced and fruitful lives.


Sunday Twelfth Graders Symposium:  Topic: “Ecology, Economics and Ethics” Participants:  Dhruvin Dave, Vinayak Thakur, Saagar Patel, Smit Shah, Rickin Desai, Samir Sampat, Ramyata Joshi, Ketan Gujarathi, and Preeti Sheenoy.  Advisors:  Dr. Vandana Jani and Dr. Krishnamurthy Prasad.  Summary:  We need to look closely at our activities from a worldwide perspective.  Ecology and economy mean study and management of our home, the Earth.  Ethics is a set of values that govern our actions.  Recently, the definitions of these terms have been forgotten.  Ecologists prioritize human interests over protection of the environment, and economies are structured with only personal gains in mind.  A lack of morals has also led to the emergence of a black market.  In order to make the world a better place, we must take an ethical approach to life, and think about the global consequences of all of our actions.


Alumni Participation:  Every year in Youth Day Celebration several alumni of the Vidyapith participate and help various ways including moderating the competitions, as judges of the competitions, and in all other activities.  It a great joy for all to see them working for the Vidyapith with great enthusiasm and vigor.  This year the following alumni participated:  Nilesh Shukla, Yesha Naik, Jyoti Shah, Sona Mehta, Mansi Mehta, Nina Sivadasan, Lina Sivadasan, Neeraj Patel, Satvik Patel, Achyuta Adhvaryu, Vivek Kocharlakota, Ohm Deshpande, Nirmal Deshpande, Jill Patel, Nisha Parikh, Meena Untwale, Meera Rajani, Kalindi Doshi, Jayinee Adhvaryu, Neha Patel, Medha Kirtane, Haresh Naringrekar, Bhavin Rokad, Sheila Shah, Deepali Dhar, Anil Shah, Nisha Shah, Kanchi Kacharia, Pooja Bhatt, Resha Parikh, Niti Mehta, Neha Pandey, Karishma Parikh, Ryan Chadha, Ravi Mehta, Himanshu Tailor, Shekar Krishnan, Ameya Moghe, Jasmine Gadhavi, Ketan Prajapati, Avantika Bhargava and Ami Savalia.


Saturday Winners:  Grade 3A: (Story writing competition): Topic: “Caps for Sale”; 1st: Mihir Sangoi, 2nd: Ravi Patel, 3rd: Srujanee Pradhan; Honorable mentions: Amie Patel, Akshar Amin, Vishal Gullpalli, and Sita Uyemura. (Speech Competition): Topic: “If I were a Butterfly…”; 1st: Mihir Sangoi, 2nd: Srujanee Pradhan, 3rd: Ashka Sevak; Honorable mentions: Akshar Amin, Rucha Gopal, and Adin Vashi.  Grade 4A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “That’s what I Want to Be”; 1st: Shivani Shah, 2nd: Sivasruthi Senthilkumar, 3rd:Pooja Patel; Honorable mention: Abhinaya Aroll, Heerak Bhatt, Utsav Rana, and Samir Wadhwani.  (Speech Competition): Topic: “My most memorable family trip”; 1st: Sana Perti, 2nd: Sriram Vemparala, 3rd: Heerak Bhatt. Honorable mention: Sivasruthi Senthilkumar, Dhara Bhupatani, Shainey Patel, Bhoomi Bhupatani, and Sakhi Patel. Grade 5A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “Come and Visit My Town”;1st: Shruti Kanthan, 2nd: Aditi Desai, and 3rd: Chandani Vekaria; Honorable mention: Angi Vora, and Shruti Patel. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Little things do count”; 1st: Angi Vora, 2nd: Sajni Desai, and 3rd: Ansh Patel; Honorable mentions: Chandani Vekaria, Ishani Desai, Shruti Patel, and Shruti Kanthan. Grade 6A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “Dig the Well Before You Are Thirsty”; 1st: Shreya Chaturvedi, 2nd: Rohan Bhargav, 3rd: Esha Bhave; Honorable Mention: Nishank Mehta and Janaki Patel. (Speech Competition): Topic: “My Best Friend Is the One Who Brings Out the Best In Me”; 1st: Chaitali Gandhi, 2nd: Shreya Chaturvedhi, 3rd: Esha Bhave; Honorable Mention: Alisha Parikh, Nishank Mehta, and Meera Varshnaya. Grade 7A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “When You Go In Search of Honey, Expect To Be Stung By Bees”; 1st: Nikita Manavi, 2nd: Krishna Dave, 3rd: Dharini Adhvaryu; Honorable Mention: Bhoomi Kinneriwala, Purva Patel, and Shiv Mistry. (Speech Competition): Topic: “He Who Angers You, Conquers You”; 1st: Bhoomi Kinneriwala, 2nd: Krishna Dave 3rd: Nikita Manavi; Honorable Mention: Sanjay Vemparala, Purva Patel, Saagar Kinneriwala, Kishan Patel, and Dharini Adhvaryu. Grade 8A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “Turning It Over In Your Mind Will Not Plough the Field”; 1st: Dhara Dalal, 2nd: Astha Chaturvedi, 3rd: Menaka Dhingra; Honorable Mention: Kashmar Rajagopal and Shikha Patel. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Every Winner Has a Scar”; 1st: Pooja Shah, 2nd: Astha Chaturvedi, 3rd: Menaka Dhingra; Honorable Mention: Kashyap Rajgopal, Dharti Patel, and Dhara Dalal. Grade 9A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic:  “Facts Do Not Cease To Exist Because They Are Ignored”; 1st: Ankur Vashi, 2nd: Shika Surati, 3rd: Vidhi Kacharia; Honorable Mention: Bhavini Prajapati. (Speech Competition): Topic: “The Loftier the Building, the Deeper Must the Foundation Be Laid”; 1st: Vidhi Kacharia, 2nd: Sidhharth Parikh, 3rd: Premal Kamdar; Honorable Mention: Bhavini Prajapati. Grade 10A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “Sometimes Only a Change of Viewpoint is Needed To Convert a Tiresome Duty Into an Interesting Opportunity”; 1st: Gaurav Bhargava, 2nd: Apurva Gandhi, 3rd: Rushil Desai; Honorable Mention: Abhay Patel. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Vision Without Action is a Daydream, Action Without Vision is a Nightmare”; 1st: Abhay Patel, 2nd: Anish parameshwaran, 3rd: Apurva Gandhi; Honorable Mention: Samir Sheth. Grade 11A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “Habit is Either the Best of Servants or the Worst of Masters”; 1st: Nupur Patel, 2nd: Ayushi Desai, 3rd: Ami Shah; Honorable Mention: Nishal Shah. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Think Differently….”; 1st: Nishal shah, 2nd: Nickita Rokad, 3rd: Amit Nigalaya; Honorable Mention: Nupur Patel, Kruti Patel, and Ami Shah. Grade 12A: (Essay Writing Competition): Topic: “Truth Hurts…Not Seeking It, But Running From It…..”; 1st: Sheela Krishnan, 2nd: Payal Patel, 3rd: Ami Sha;. Honorable Mention: Alopi Patel.



Sunday Winners:  Grade 3B: (Story writing competition): Topic: “Picture - Tortise and Hare”; 1st: Simran Ohri, 2nd: Shruthi Patel, 3rd: Devaki Prabhu; Honorable mention: Herisha Shah, Sheeba Karmarker, Pooja Banker, and Aditya Srivaisal. (Speech competition): Topic: "If I were a star in the sky"; 1st: Sahil Vaswani, 2nd: Herisha Shah, 3rd: Ashwini Ramantihan; Honorable mention: Eesha Desai, Simran Ohri, Sahil S. Patel, and Aakash Parikh. Grade 4B: (Essay writing competition): Topic: "If I were a teacher"; 1st Ruchi Desai, 2nd: Sohum Pawar, 3rd: Kanchan Railkar; Honorable mention: Arthi Nithi, Suchir Pongurlekar, and Rohan Agrawal. (Speech competition): Topic: "My favorite festival"; Kanchan Railkar, Vivek Panchananam, Sohum Pawar; Honorable mention: Kishan Patel, Ruchi Desai, Arthi Nithi, Ram Ajvalia, and Rohan Agrawal. Grade 5B (Essay writing competition) Topic: "Come and Visit My School"; 1st: Yash Parmar, 2nd: Naveen Yegnamuthy, 3rd: Maghana Nervrkar; Honorable mention: Bianca Karmaker, Radhika Parikh, and Tushar Gupta. (Speech competition): Topic: "My friends have it; why can't I?" 1st: Naveen Yegnamurti, 2nd: Debanian Saha, 3rd: Rishi Dhar; Honorable mention: Samir Oza, Yash Parmar, Disha Jani, Radhika Parikh, Mihikaa
Naik. Grade 6B: (Essay writing Competition): Topic: “It’s ok to say “Sorry” when...”; 1st: Pallaavi Tatapudy, 2nd: Swarna Racha, 3rd: Richa Patel; Honorable Mention: Seema Patel, Neil Mehta, and Alak Mehta. (Speech competition): Topic: “You cannot get ahead while you are getting even”; 1st: Seema Patel, 2nd: Madhumita Parmar, 3rd: Pallavi Tatapudy; Honorable Mention: Alka Mehta, Sailesh Doraiswami, and Richa Patel. Grade 7B: (Writing Competition): Topic: “Listen Before Judging, and Think Before Speaking”; 1st: Suman Naringrekar, 2nd: Kunal Malkan, 3rd: Mehak Aswani; Honorable Mention: Tanya Gupta, Kirti Nahar, and Gaurav Ohri. (Speech competition): Topic: “The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress”: 1st: Gaurav Ohri, 2nd: Devika Gadhavi, 3rd: Annika Balraj; Honorable Mention: Bhargav Maheta, Neepam Shah, and Bindi Parikh. Grade 8B: (Writing competition): Topic: “When Looking at others’ faults, use a mirror not a magnifying glass”; 1st: Romil Malkan, 2nd: Mahaesh Jayaraman, 3rd: Rohini Rani; Honorable Mention: Akhil Balraj and Tania Maheshwari. (Speech competition): Topic: “Be like a postage Stamp; stick to one thing until you get there”: 1st: Tania Maheswari, 2nd: Mahesh Jayaramban, 3rd: Akhil Balraj; Honorable Mention: Munoharan Jayaraman, Rohini Ravi, and Poonam Patel. Grade 9B1: (Essay writing competition): Topic: “Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability”; 1st: Sneha Shah, 2nd: Giri Nathan, 3rd: Abhishek Senjalia; Honorable Mention: Priya Parikh and Pooja Shenoy. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Integrity is practicing what you preach”: 1st: Priya Parikh, 2nd: Sneha Shah, 3rd: Abhishek Senjalia; Honorable

Mention: Puja Gujrathi, Benesh Chudasama, and Pooja Shenoy. Grade 9B2: (Writing Competition): Topic: “Well Begun is Half Done”; 1st: Neha Jariwala, 2nd: Ami Mehta, 3rd: Ankur Shah; Honorable Mention: Neil Shah. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Mind are like parachutes; they only function when open”; 1st: Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2nd: Neha Jariwala, 3rd: Radha Shah; Honorable Mention: Ritee Parikh, Ankur Shah, and Vikas Desai. (Essay writing Competition): Topic: “Thunder is impressive, but it is the spark of lightning that does the work”: 1st: Stuti Desai, 2nd: Radha Dhar, 3rd: Sharmila Railkar; Honorable Mention: Keya Thakkar, Shraddha Desai, and Sonali Tatapudy. (Speech competition): Topic: “Circumstances are the rulers of the weak and the instruments of the wise”; 1st: Sharmila Railkar, 2nd: Kinjan Parikh, 3rd: Nishikant Pandey; Honorable Mention: Ronak Parikh, Sonali Tatapudy, and Radha Dhar. Grade 11B: (Essay writing Competition): Topic: “Chance favors the prepared mind”: 1st: Anand Krishnamurthy, 2nd: Parinitha Sastry, 3rd: Sheila Kundu; Honorable Mention: Kushal Shah. (Speech Competition): Topic: “Hey, You never know!”; 1st: Anand Krishnmurthy, 2nd: Vrunda Dalal, 3rd: Kushal Shah; Honorable Mention: Adit Shah. Grade 12B: (Essay writing Competition): Topic: “There are two kinds of  light: the glow that illumines and the glare that obscures”: 1st: Smith Shah, 2nd: Preeti Shenoy, 3rd: Ramyata Joshi; Honorable

Mention: Dhruvin Dave.




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