About Us Contact Us Help




American Vivekananda Academy Students Graduate

Anil Saigal

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

The students of the American Vivekananda Academy, Hudson, NH held their first high school graduation ceremony at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth campus on Aug. 3, 2013.  Ranjani Saigal of Lokvani was the commencement speaker at the event. 

The academy is the brainchild of Pandit Ramadeen Ramasamooj who uses a very unique Super Accelerated Learning Technique (SALT) to provide accelerated learning to students. Most of the students in the academy are children of Bhutanese Refugees whose poor English language skills and inability to adjust to a new very unfamiliar culture made them troublemakers in regular schools and in fact some were suspended from schools. 

When you saw the children at the ceremony and in their school (I had the privilege to visit the school), it would be impossible to believe that the children came from troubled pasts. Their behavior and academic skills were par excellence. It was hard to believe that the student who gave the graduation address in perfect English in a manner to rival any high school valedictorian was at a Grade 1 level for English only two years earlier.  For Karen Cabral, the English teacher at the Academy, this was truly a special moment.  It is wonderful to be here at this moment to celebrate the great accomplishments of the students,” said Cabral. 

The school is currently supported by funds from the 3R’s foundation that has funded a project at UMass Dartmouth to explore the possibilities of the SALT technique. Dr. Balram Singh, Director of the Indic Center at UMass welcomed the students and the audience to the event. “Pandit Ramadeen Ramasamooj is to be commended for his extraordinary efforts to make this day a reality. When the school started, he would wake up each morning at 4:00 am, drive to New Hampshire, take the school bus and pick up the students and start school promptly at 7:00 am. He used to teach until 3:00 pm, drop the children home and return to Dartmouth. It is that incredible effort that has shown results,” said Singh.

Pandit ji’s own nephews are enrolled in this school.  "I really have a personal stake in this school since my nephews are part of this school.  In the beginning my nephews were way ahead of the class but amazing within a few months the other student’s academic skills grew by leaps and bounds."

Pandit ji is very sensitive to the cultural background of the students and has helped them transition smoothly from their villages in Bhutan to the city of Manchester in New Hampshire.  The children have completed the equivalent of a High School curriculum and hopefully will take their SATs soon and apply to college the next year. 

Narad Mani Adhikari,  a parent representative gave a moving speech in Nepali. Mr. Bhim Basnet, who is also a teacher at the school, presented the vote of thanks. For many parents and children this day was certainly one that they could only dream about.  Many eyes were filled with emotions. 

Lokvani salutes Pandit Ramasamooj for his tremendous work and hopes his work can replicated in other areas where it is much needed.

Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help