Highlights from our first session Fall 2018 (Photo sampling below)
Guru Nanak Mission
Our total first year enrollment approached 90 children
Four of our students read from Guru Sahib in Sangat, taking Hukam for the first time. Our goal is all high school aged students should be reading from the Guru. We are well on our way. We are on track to average one new student a month this school year, conversing with Guru Sahib for the first time.
We have been blessed with amazing teachers who connect with their students. We were also graced with having Jasmine Kaur and Inderpreet Singh as guest instructors at SAGE. On her visit visit to SAGE Jasmine Kaur told and discussed the Saakhi of Bhoomi and Guru Nanak. On her 2nd visit to SAGE and alongside Inderpreet Singh, they discussed the concepts of Courage and Sacrifice as we began our month long discussion of the Sahibzadey and their strength and valor.
We were also blessed to have Rubinpal Singh, a Sikh activist and educator who engaged our older kids with Gurmat based workshops and connected them to the concept of Seva and working in the nonprofit sector.
Inni Kaur, CEO of SikhRi, graced the students of SAGE by choosing SAGE as the location to launch her new book Daddy's Turban. She spent time with our younger students and regaled them with Saakhis of Guru Nanak. She stayed long afterward to personally sign books for those who purchased them, including Journey with the Gurus.
Ravi Singh, CEO and founder of Khalsa Aid, blessed our students with a visit to SAGE and discussed his organizations present activities and encouraged the kids to think as global citizens, re-emphasizing the Sarbat Da Bhala concept they hear in class every Sunday.
We established a process of collecting non-perishable items for donation to a local food pantry, CUMAC, which serves a large portion of needy people in our area. We are striving to spur our Sangat into thinking about the underserved and needy, when coming to Gurudwara, so that bringing donation items with them becomes habit when entering the Guru's Door. We thank Ishmeet Kaur and Gurvinder Singh for their time and hard work in taking charge of this Seva.
Our youngest group, pre-K has learned the first 5 Akhars by sight. They are progressing nicely in the Montessori system set up by Manmeet Kaur. We are setting up a Gurmat and activities based track to follow their academic one, led by Manita Kaur and Shaila Kaur. Our pre-K program has our highest percentile attendance. All pre-K kids have Divaan opportunities to participate in Gurudwara protocol, such as Chaur Sahib Seva and Napkin Seva.
The K-2nd grade group and 3rd-5th grade groups are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced within their respective classes so as to maintain age and maturity considerations. Their Gurmat education has been furthered by the presentation of Saakhis that connect to the Guru's message and directly to Gurbani.
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Santhiyaa groups have been established for our older middle and high school students. Our advanced Gurmukhi group is solely devoted to preparing to read from Guru Sahib. Our most advanced is practicing Santhiyaa and performing Shabad deconstruction so as to understand the meaning of Gurbani.
All groups participate in their last class of the school day, referred to Sarbat Da Bhala. Here kids discuss and understand the concept of giving, compassion, and Vand-Chhaknaa. We also discuss humanitarian issues throughout the world. such as the plight of the Yazidi, the peoples of Yemen and Haiti. Here the older kids present to the class, working on presentation skills and public speaking.
We just initiated a video essay and written essay for younger and older kids respectively, answering the following questions:
---Why do you love Guru Nanak? or Why was Guru Nanak awesome?
---Discuss your thoughts about Guru Nanak as a Social Revolutionary.
Lastly, we ended the year hearing about the Saakhis of the younger, then older Sahibzadey, along with the sacrifices of the Khalsa army along the way. As other traditions put up Christmas trees and light Menoras, the followers of Guru Nanak through Guru Granth Sahib remember the winter of 1704 as Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed most of his family. We discussed how the month of December should be devoted to remembrance and reflection of the sacrifices of those who gave their lives and stood their ground, so we (and others) could practice their faith freely.
Looking forward to our next semester as we visit a nonprofit, have amazing Guest speakers and more Saakhis to inspire our kids and attach them more strongly to the hem of the Guru's Robe.
We are grateful to our teaching staff, but without our administrative staff, we would have accomplished only a fraction of what we did.
Sandeep Kaur (Sandy), Dapinder Kaur and Maneet Kaur have been instrumental in organizing the school, being prepared each Sunday to care for our students.
Sarabjit Singh, Dalbir Singh and Harjot Singh have been critical in preparing the functioning of our technology so that classes can be conducted professionally and with great success. We thank them all for their Seva.
Lastly, we thank the trustees of Guru Nanak Mission to allow us to perform this Seva with a free hand and with the full backing and support of all.