Events & Happenings

DBL Participates in Lonavla Cleanliness Drive

By Ms Qaafiya Syed for BISMumbai

On 16 September 2023, the Lonavla Municipal Corporation (LMC) joined hands with local schools to organise a cleanliness initiative on World Cleanliness Day. This collaborative effort enlisted the enthusiastic participation of the 42 students of Don Bosco High School in Lonavla, specifically those hailing from Grade 10, led by their esteemed class mentors, Ms Sushma Patankar and Ms Vrushali Jadhav.

This effort was aimed at raising awareness of the significance of a clean environment and inspiring people to be actively involved in preserving the cleanliness of their surroundings. People, which included students, teachers, and local residents, congregated early in the morning under the beautiful Sahara Bridge in Lonavla. Eager volunteers, largely students, took to the task of clearing litter from the thoroughfares of Bhushi Gaon. Wearing gloves and armed with garbage bags, they exemplified commitment to both safety and hygiene. A dedicated group of students diligently swept the streets, leaving no room for clutter. One of the students, Master Dev Patel, expressed his happiness in these words: “I felt fulfilled after cleaning the streets, and I look forward to more of these initiatives.” Neel Thule said, “It was a good initiative taken up by the LMC, and I was happy to participate in it.”

Beyond the realm of cleanliness, this event also provided an avenue for the students to unveil their talents and creativity through the medium of street theatre. This segment was artfully designed to captivate the community’s imagination while reinforcing the importance of a clean environment. The students crafted informative posters and placards, spotlighting the paramount significance of cleanliness and hygiene. Accompanied by the rhythmic songs of Dhol Tasha Pathak, talented student bands delighted the audience with their musical prowess.

The event, far from being merely a symbolic gesture, stood as a testament to the power of collective action. It not only breathed new life into the streets but also invigorated the students, affording them a platform to showcase their talents and creativity. Events of this nature serve to ignite a sense of deep responsibility towards our environment and nurture a stronger sense of unity within our beloved community. Piyush Pasalkar, the school captain, said, “It was an amazing rally that inspired the patriot in me, highlighting the importance of cleanliness in the city. I’m grateful to the school and the LMC for allowing me to contribute to my town and my nation.”

‘Come and See’ Camp at DBL

By Mr Hansel Fernandes for BISMumbai

On 9 September 2023, Don Bosco, Lonavla, hosted a two-day ‘Come and See’ camp for schoolboys who are considering joining the Aspirantate in the upcoming year. The event had 60 boys participating from the Salesian institutions of Borivli, Alirajpur, Wadala, and others from the Vasai region.

The campers arrived at 10 a.m., and they gathered in the chapel after a quick breakfast. There they were warmly welcomed by Fr Blany Pinto, the Rector. He outlined the camp’s primary goal, encouraging interaction with aspirants so that they could gain insight into their lives. Fr Velasli Bandya, the Province Vocation Animator, and Fr Joyston Machado introduced the staff and volunteers.

Following that, the campers were divided into teams, and icebreakers were organised. This helped them to shake off their timidity and launch wholeheartedly into the activities of the camp. After lunch, they were introduced to the vocation of the Salesian Brother and they interacted with the Brothers in their respective groups. There were eight Brothers who shared their vocation stories and their apostolate.

In the evening, after various fun and engaging games were organised, all gathered for a solemn Eucharistic Celebration. During his homily, Fr Machado referred to biblical figures illustrating how God’s calling varies for each person and urging the boys to embrace their own callings. The day culminated with a heartwarming family gathering, where both aspirants and campers showcased their talents through music, skits, and dances.

The following day commenced with a solemn Holy Mass. In the morning, the aspirants shared their schedule and the activities in the boarding with the campers, which was followed by a question and answer session. This was followed by an enlightening session on the life of Don Bosco and the Salesian ministry. This served to acquaint the boys with Don Bosco’s life and the essence of the Salesian mission. Post-lunch, they engaged in an hour of tournaments, followed by leisure activities. At around 4:00 in the evening, the camp drew to a close.

The camp was thoroughly enjoyed by all the campers. One of the participants, Keith Mota said, “This was a fun camp because of the events and opportunities that it gave us”.

DBL’s U-17 Team Runner-Up at District Level Cricket Tournament

By Ms Qaafiya Syed for BISMumbai

The Under-17 cricket team of Don Bosco High School & Junior College, Lonavla, emerged as the runner-up in the intensely contested District Level Cricket Tournament held on 26 August 2023. The team battled against 70 other schools on the grounds of Subhash Chandra Bose Military School, Alandi, Pune, and etched their mark.

Amidst the deluge of record-high rainfall that Lonavla generally receives, the prospects of preparing for the district-level cricket matches upon the school’s reopening are nearly impossible. Realising this predicament, the preparation commenced remarkably early in November 2022 and persisted till the end of April 2023 under the guidance of the coach, Mr Rahul Rathod.

Following a brief respite of a month in May, the rigorous practices resumed in mid-June, when the school and the college reopened. However, the heavy, incessant rain in July and August made outdoor practices impossible. Undeterred by the heavy monsoon, the team players exhibited a tenacious resolve and practised indoors while keeping their spirits high.

The team players were well acquainted with the age-old adage, “No gains without pains”. The sweat and dedication invested by the players yielded a bountiful harvest that was evident in their growing confidence with every practice.

Leading by example, the team’s captain, Dev Patel, demonstrated remarkable leadership both on and off the field. The astute strategic insights and unwavering dedication of the coaches, Mr Rathod and Mr Dinesh D’Souza, steered the team to the finals. The team was very close to victory, but lost the finals by eight runs. The cricket team was truly fortunate to have the steadfast support of the School Management, the Principal, the School Staff, and their Parents.

The staff and students of Don Bosco High School and College are elated and extend their heartfelt congratulations to the Under-17 Cricket team, which is brimming with immense pride. This achievement stands as a testament to their commitment, hard work and perseverance, as the team embraced numerous challenges and exemplified true sportsmanship throughout the tournament.

Annual Vocation Team Meet at DBL

By Ms Shinu Jose for BISMumbai

The Annual Vocation Team Meet was held at Don Bosco, Lonavla, on 19 and 20 August 2023. The meeting was attended by 80 participants, including 15 Salesians and two religious sisters.

The Meet began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Fr Blany Pinto, the Rector, during the homily, likened Jesus’ concern for children to the responsibility of every member of the Salesian Family in not alienating youth from faith through unwelcoming behaviour. Promoting a welcoming stance is vital for vocation ministry and a hallmark of a Salesian community.

After lunch, Fr Velasli Bandya, the Provincial Vocation Animator, warmly welcomed all the participants and gave an overview of the two-day Meet.

Fr Pinto, addressing the gathering, said that the Meet serves as a refreshing reminder of the Vocation Teams’ goals, enabling a collective exchange of insights on unit activities and fostering inspiration for novel endeavours. The shared province plan offers guidance for local plans, while the strength of unity empowers and propels everyone towards shared objectives. During the session led by Fr Bosco Carvalho on the ‘Role of Vocation Promoters’, he emphasised that all individuals, through Baptism, contribute to the Church’s mission. He likened vocation to unwrapping a gift from God, guiding young people through stages like building bonds, positive influence, community reflection, and understanding the Salesian charism.

The Provincial, Fr Savio Silveira, visited Lonavla and addressed the gathering later in the evening. Apart from sharing the statistics of Salesians in the province and updating them about the various new initiatives, Fr Silveira stressed three important avenues the vocation teams need to focus on: to help youngsters hear and understand God’s call, to invite senior college and graduate youth to consider Salesian life, and to encourage the vocation of the Salesian Brother.

During the Eucharist on the morning of 20 August, Fr Silveira contemplated the virtues of the Syro-Phoenician woman and encouraged Vocation Animators to nurture the same attributes within themselves, specifically highlighting Initiative, Perseverance, and Serenity. Later that morning, Fr Pinto conducted a session on the ‘Art of Salesian Encounter, Accompaniment, and Discernment’. He shared that Don Bosco is the model when it comes to the art of accompanying the youngsters. Reflecting on the incident of Bartholomew Garelli, Fr Pinto then proposed seven stages in the process of accompaniment.

Fr Bandya then presented the Province Vocation Plan Evaluation of the past year and also proposed lines of action drafted for the period of 2022-2025. Based on these guidelines, the local vocation teams discussed them in their respective groups and drew up their local vocation plan. After presenting their plans to other vocation teams, the Meet concluded with Fr Bandya and Fr Pinto expressing their gratitude to the local vocation teams for the hard work they put into vocation animation.

The Annual Vocation Team Meet was an opportunity to get acquainted with the common goal of vocation animation, and to work with greater coherence. The two days were also an opportunity for the vocation teams to meet the aspirants and experience their life at Don Bosco, Lonavla.

DB Lonavla Participates in Adivasi Day Celebrations

By Fr Blany Pinto for BISMumbai

On 9 August 2023, a collaborative effort between the Eklavya Foundation, Manshakti Kendra, and Don Bosco, Lonavla, led to the organisation of a medical camp dedicated to serving the Adivasi community on the occasion of Adivasi Day. The programme began at 10 a.m. and extended until 3 in the afternoon at Manshakti Kendra, Lonavla.

Approximately 180 tribals from the neighbouring villages of Navkhandevadi and Vaksai actively participated in the programme. The programme commenced with the lighting of a lamp, followed by the reverential placement of the garland upon the image of Hutatma Nagya, a revered Adivasi revolutionary figure. A collective homage was then paid to the departed Adivasis who tragically lost their lives in a recent landslide in Irshalwadi village in Khalapur, near Lonavla, just a few weeks prior. Numerous Adivasi families experienced not only the heartbreaking loss of their loved ones but also the devastation of their homes and all their possessions.

In a show of solidarity, Br Royston Colaco and Fr Velasli Bandya, accompanied by the social outreach team from Don Bosco, Lonavla, including Mrs Sonali Shelke and Mr Ravi Shelke, graced the occasion with their presence. Likewise, the event was graced by the attendance of Dr Suhas Gosavi and Mr Namdev Phapale from the Manshakti Kendra. Mr Pravin Deshmukh, the visionary founder of Eklavya Foundation, along with his dedicated team, also showed their commitment to the cause by being present.

The central objective of hosting the event on Adivasi Day was to gather the Adivasis from the different villages. It was also to disseminate vital information regarding the array of government initiatives tailored to uplift the Adivasi populace. Moreover, a concerted effort was made to instill an enthusiasm for education among the Adivasi families, urging them to enrol their children in schools to facilitate their academic journey.

The event not only facilitated the gathering and dissemination of information but also included a medical camp. A dedicated medical team comprising of Dr Gosavi and Dr Santosh Nikharaje, assisted by two nurses, conducted health check-ups, accompanied by ophthalmologists. To address the immediate healthcare needs, medicines were distributed freely to all the families that were sponsored by Mr Rajendra Khandelwal.

A select group of aspirants from the English Academy of Don Bosco, Lonavla, were actively involved in the medical camp. Their participation extended to the distribution of the medicines to each Adivasi family, engendering a rewarding experience for both the aspirants and the community they served.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August each year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This is an occasion to recognise the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to society.

Monsoon Dhamaal 2023 at DB Lonavla

The Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of Don Bosco, Lonavla, organised one of the biggest events of the rainy season, ‘Monsoon Dhamaal’, exclusively for the students of Grade 12 on 4 August 2023. There was good and enthusiastic participation on the part of the youngsters in the event.

A fortnight prior to the commencement of the event, planning and preparation were set in motion. During this time, a dedicated core team was formed, consisting of teachers and students from the college. Mentored by Br Royston Colaco, the local Youth Ministry Delegate, and Fr Joyston Machado, the core team was fully prepared to take on the task at hand.

The event kicked off soon after the students had wrapped up their final unit test paper. It began at 10.30 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m. The Rector, Fr Blany Pinto, welcomed the youngsters, addressed the gathering, and declared the event open. During his talk, Fr Pinto enlightened them about the four dimensions of the SYM and how Monsoon Dhamaal was designed to enhance group dynamics by fostering a sense of coming together and bringing about a collaborative effort among the students.

Following this, the students were provided an opportunity to acquaint themselves with their counterparts from different classes. After the introduction, six teams were formed, and team games commenced. After several rounds of relays, the momentum transitioned into a medley of outdoor games. The students were all animated and participated with renewed gusto and vigour.

As the event drew to a close, the youngsters danced to some Bollywood numbers. The youngsters, who had registered themselves for the event, were happy to have the opportunity to revel in fellowship and celebrate their youthfulness. It was also a much-needed respite after their exams—a day of relaxation and enjoyment.

The joy was reflected on the faces of the youngsters as they extended their heartfelt thanks to both the SYM core team and the Salesians for executing the event to perfection.

Career Guidance by the Alumni of DBL 1978

By Ms Qaafiya Syed for BISMumbai

To help the students explore non-conventional career options, the alumni of the 1978 batch of Don Bosco, Lonavla, organized a career guidance session on 24 July 2023, exclusively for the students of Grades 9 to 12.

The session began with the felicitation of all the members from the batch 1978, gracefully done by School & Junior College captains. Following that, Fr Ranson D’souza, the Principal, warmly welcomed everyone and offered a concise overview of the session.

An introduction to an array of various career opportunities and scopes across diverse fields was then presented by the distinguished alumnus, Mr Krishna Kotak, the Chairman and Co-owner of the JM Baxi Group of Companies. He, along with Mr Shakeel Juwale, a chief engineer and technical inspector at the Merchant Navy, shed light on the vast possibilities in the realm of shipping and logistics. The subsequent session, on Education & Counselling,

featured two esteemed resource persons – Fr Leslie Perriera, the former principal of Don Bosco Lonavla, and Mrs Marina Neves, the former vice principal of VPS High School Lonavla. Their inspiring words urged not only the students but also the teachers to embrace teaching as a vocation, transcending beyond a mere profession. Adding to the spectrum, Mr Antonio Coutinho, an Insurance Advisor, provided insightful perspectives on Insurance and Health Care. Meanwhile, Mr Sunith Lobo, a postgraduate in Psychology with a major in Consumer Behaviour, meticulously outlined the various career opportunities in Advertising & HR. The virtual presence of Mr Daniel Bosco, connecting all the way from Dubai via zoom video calling, instilled the significance of AI & Robotics while encouraging the students to consider these cutting-edge courses.

The session further delighted the students as they were allowed to raise their questions, seeking more clarity on the career options presented. Mr. Felixco Fernandes moderated this interactive Q&A session, leaving the students enlightened.

The session concluded with our Rector extending his heartfelt gratitude, and the Don Bosco Lonavla 1978 batch shared their appreciation through the distribution of delectable snacks and cherished souvenirs for the students and staff. The career guidance session left an indelible mark on the young minds, propelling them towards a future filled with hope and purpose.

The 1978 Batch Inspires the Aspirants

By Cl. Rohan D’Souza for BISMumbai

On 23 July 2023, five Salesians from the 1978 batch of Don Bosco Aspirantate, Lonavla, visited and shared their vocation journey and their Salesian experiences with the aspirants.

The batch of 1978 had visited Don Bosco Lonavla for their reunion and took the opportunity to interact with the aspirants. The encounter between the seasoned Salesians and the enthusiastic aspirants proved to be a memorable and transformative experience. With a compassionate demeanour and guiding words, the Salesians interacted with different groups of aspirants.

Frs Leslie Pereira and Matthew Coutinho addressed the senior boys, while Fr Solomon Rapol engaged with the Grade 10 aspirants and students from the English Academy. Frs Edwin Baracho and Tony Alemao interacted with the junior boys. During their sharings, they recounted their own calling to the Salesian life and priesthood, shedding light on the challenges and joys they encountered on their vocation journey.

They highlighted their moments of faith, which helped strengthen their lives as priests. Their sincere and relatable narratives touched the hearts of the students, sparking curiosity and contemplation about their own future paths. Their words of encouragement resonated deeply with the young minds, who were eager to explore the possibilities of a life dedicated to service and compassion. Their vibrant stories of transforming lives through kindness and mentorship left an indelible mark on the boys.

Throughout the interactive sessions, the Salesian priests emphasised the significance of prayer, discernment, and community support in nurturing a vocation. They encouraged the boys to remain open to the divine call and to trust in the journey ahead, even if it may seem uncertain at times. The message of finding joy in all their daily living at the aspirantate, and fostering a personal relationship with God struck a chord with the students.

Anvil Machado, an aspirant said, “The experiences shared by the Fathers, especially about their struggles to follow God and also experience His Love made me realise that though religious life is not all that easy, with God’s guidance, it is joyful.”

Singing Competion at Don Bosco Lonavla: A stage for rising stars

by Asgari Ahmed and Afrin Kusur

To promote singing talent among our school and college students, a singing competition entitled “Create a Symphony of Joy” was organized at Don Bosco High School and Junior College Lonavala on Tuesday, 25 July 2023. This was to provide a platform for the aspiring vocalists to showcase their talents and make a mark. Preparation for the competition began a couple of weeks in advance. Each participant was encouraged to choose a mentor from among the teachers who would guide them. They received expert guidance from the mentors, helping them to refine their skill in singing.

Singing creates strong bonds that transcends borders and cultures. The competition was fierce with contestants giving their best by baring their souls through the song. Their passion for singing and their melodious voice struck a chord with the audience who heard each contestant with rapt attention. Contestants sand the song of their choice in Marathi, Hindi and English.

The competition was held in the presence of two emiment judges Mr. Joey Mendoza and Dr. Priyanka Bachhav. Mr Mendonza is a maestro at music and theatre heading a company ‘Mendonza Muzikal’ that promotes the talents of youngsters. Dr. Bachhav, an alumna of Don Bosco college, is trained in classical music for 5 years. Her involvement in a grand Hindustani Classical Musical Symphony called “Antarnaad” led to an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as a classical singer.

Students belonging to the school formed one group while the students from the college were in another groups. The competition was held separately for each group. The remarkable talent displayed by these gifted singers enthralled the esteemed panel of judges, making the selection process arduous but immensely rewarding.

In the school section, Aksh Oswal, Joshua Rodrigues and Aaron Colas triumphed as winners, leaving the audience spellbound. Dillon Falcao stood second while Emmanuel Dias secured the third place. In the college section, Ajit Pal Singh and Saniya Bhujel were judged as the joint winners. Joshua Gomes seized the second place while Ishwari Pawar and Vishaka Palkar jointly shared the third place. The winners were awarded certificates by the judges.

Teachers Asgari Ahmed and Afrin kusur organized the competition to challenge the students to excel in singing. Talent coupled with hardwork and proper mentoring enables students to achieve greatness.