History of Synod School

Synod Higher Secondary School has completed fifty years of its service to the people of the state in particular and to the North Eastern Region as a whole and has celebrated its Golden Jubilee with great joy and thanksgiving. At the very first instance we give God the glory and thank Him for His manifold blessings, guidance and the wisdom that He has imparted on the authorities and teachers of the school throughout its 50 years journey.

The school was originally conceived as an English section of the KJP High school, a brain child of (L) T. Shullai, the then Headmistress, (L) K. Kharsati, the Asstt. Headmistress as well as the Managing Committee of the School. The school is indebted to these two great ladies for their hard work and support to see this vision realised.

It was on the 14th February, 1964, that our beloved founder, (L) Gwen. C. Evans and Kong Eileen Pariat welcomed 40 young boys and Girls who came trotting to the Montessori school (lovingly known as “Ka Skul Kong Bi”). God’s blessing of the school was felt right from day one. Whereas the Managing Committee had set a minimum target of 30 students for opening the School, forty toddlers trooped in on the first day and many more would have come but for the paucity of space. In assessing the first timers, it was found that there were at least three levels of understanding. It was therefore felt that another teacher was required and so, in walked (L) Lasubon Warbah, as the third teacher of the school.

In course of time, the school shifted to the science building of the KJP School and the idea of having a separate building was born. It was also the time to give a new name for the school.

Many suggested that it be called “Thomas Memorial School”. Yet, when (L) A.W. Thomas was approached by Miss Evans, she vehemently shook her head and remarked “NO! I am still alive and the school must be alive too, not a memorial!”. It was therefore finally decided that the name should be “The Synod English School” and it turned out to be a living and a rapid growing school. Our beloved founder then adopted the logo of the Presbyterian Church as the badge with the motto, “The Light of Life”.

In 1965, the enrolment of students increased rapidly. There was an urgent need for more teachers and the school was fortunate that Mrs. M. Tariang joined the institution in March as a teacher along with Mrs. G.D.Lyngkhei as a pupil teacher. The demand for admission to the school was so great, that the following year, Mrs. G.E. Rangad joined in, to assist the school administration.

In 1966, Miss Bethan Williams (later to become Mrs. Richards) came from Wales to help in furthering the growth of the school. Her experience as a teacher in the U.K and her special expertise in teaching young children was of great value. Unfortunately she had to leave the school by late 1968 due to ill health.

During that year, 1968, Miss Evans along with the teachers and the whole school assembled at the site of the new school building, where the KJP Synod had allocated for the School. A short service was conducted by Rev. W. Manners and then each child and teacher took up their tool to dig the first row of the foundation site.

The following year was the saddest year for the school. Our beloved founder Miss G. C. Evans had to leave and return back to Wales. Her departure left a void in all those present, who felt a deep sense of despair. But with God’s gracious blessing, the school under the able stewardship of Mrs B. Mitra as the Head teacher grew from strength to strength.

Over the coming years, more and more students were admitted. Thus with every passing year, more classes were opened. The School proceeded to the High School and in 1978, permission was granted to allow the students to appear the HSLC as Private Candidates. The first batch of 7 students was sent for the HSLC in 1979, one of whom is Miss M. Kharkongor, who later joined the school in 1985 and is still teaching.

The new building was completed in 1976 and we rejoiced greatly Shillong that year. She on the 14th August 1976 and when Miss Evans was able to return to inaugurated the school building thereafter the management of the school was placed directly under the KJP Synod. The School came to be known as Synod High School, with Mrs. B. Mitra as the 1st Headmistress.

In 1981, Mrs. B. Mitra had to retire due to old age, after having served the school for more than 12 years. Her counsel and her guidance during those infant years would always be remembered. She was succeeded by Mrs. M. Tariang in 1981, under whose leadership the school progressed rapidly and many of the Classes had to be divided into two sections. The Meghalaya Board of School Education accorded recognition to the school based on its continuous good performance in the year 1983. The following year, the first batch of students appeared for the HSLC Examination as regular candidates and their performance was very good. In fact, one of our students Baridalyne Nongkynrih attained the 6th Position in the Tribal List. She is now an Associate Professor at the All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi. In 1983, the school was sanctioned Ad-hoc Grant by the Government.

The school completed its 25 years of service in 1989 and the Silver Jubilee was celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. We were again, fortunate that our beloved founder, Miss Gwen .C. Evans was once again able to be with us on that joyous occasion. The celebrations were held for two days, the 21st and 22nd March 1989. The inaugural function on the 21st March was chaired by (L) W. Manners and Miss G.C.Evans was the Chief Guest. After a short service and the various performances by the students of the school, the Silver Jubilee Tablet was unveiled by Miss Evans. On the 2nd day i.e. on the 22nd March, a variety show was held after which there was a closing service under the chairmanship of (L) W.Manners. Miss G.C. Evans gave a speech and the service closed with the benediction by (L) H.M. Rapthap.

During those years, Mrs. M. Tariang had further extended the school building year by year adding more and more classrooms. In 1983, a school fete was organized to raise fund for the extension of the school building. More classrooms were added and the school hall was constructed in the east end of the school. Along with it, two classrooms were constructed in the 1st floor. By then it was decided that the school premises should be properly fenced. Thus in 1987, the school boundary wall and the fencing was made at a total cost of 52,000/-. During this period, the practice of inviting parents to be Representatives to the Managing Committee of the school was introduced.

The School continued to grow and by 1988, all classes upto class VI had two sections each. The following year class VII, VIII and IX also had two sections. The performance of the students in HSLC Examination was improving year by year and in 1988, Kyntiewriti Mawlong obtained the 10th position in the Tribal List of the above examination. She is now a teacher in the KhasiJaintia National Upper Primary School. The School also participated in the Annual Inter School Athletic Tournament every year and won many prizes. It also actively participated in the various skits, debates, drawing and science exhibition competitions and brought home several laurels.

With a view to further improve the performance of the school and for the welfare of the teaching staff, the school was brought under the Deficit system of Grant-in-aid from the 1st April 1989. It was granted, taking into consideration the continuous good performance in the HSLC Examination and the overall development of the students.

In 1990, the school introduced Junior Guides (Bulbuls) for the first time. The movement became an immediate success, and over the years more and more students enrolled themselves. In 1991, the Bulbuls, participated in the Bharat Scouts and Guides Sports at Garrison Ground and were awarded the best team. They also won accolades in folk dancing and singing. The movement went on till 2000, when the Girl Guide unit was first started in the school. We are grateful to Mrs. P. Tariang who single handedly and tirelessly worked over the years in building up the Bulbuls and the Guides. In the next ten years, the school produced sixteen Rajya Puraskar Guides (Governor’s Awardees) as well as three Rashtrapati Guides (President’s Awardees).

The Guides also actively participated in many social activities such as the beautification of Mattilang Park in Upper Shillong as well as conducting Projects at Civil Hospital, Shillong and Dr. H. Gordon Roberts Hospital on cleanliness and awareness Programme. In these programmes, the Guides under Mrs. P.Tariang’s supervision actively participated in cleaning and beautifying the Hospitals.

The good name of the school spread far and wide, and children from around the state flocked in seeking admission. The performance of the school also continued to be good and in 1993, Ekta Rani Agarwalla obtained the 6th position in the general List of the HSLC Examination. She is now an I.T. Professional at Bangalore. In 1996, Shelley G.L.Nongpyiur got the 8th position in the Tribal List and is now a doctor working in NEIGHRIMS.

In 1998, the school got its basketball court through the generous assistance of Mrs. R Warjri who allocated 80,000/- from her MLA funds. We place on record our gratitude to Mrs. Warjri who had always stood by us right from those days and is still continuing till today.

The School opened the Higher Secondary Section in the year 1999. The first batch of only 12 students was admitted to class XI of the school in the Arts stream. The inauguration was held on the 12th Aug. 1999, where Mrs. R. Warjri, the then Minister Urban Affairs was the Chief Guest. In the same year, the school also started computer classes with the assistance received from the North Eastern Council (NEC) which gave 1I desktop computers. The computer section was inaugurated by Shri J. M. Syiem, the then Secretary of NEC. Last year in 2013, Mr. D. P.Wahlang, IAS, Commissioner and Secretary IT, donated 7 desktops computers to the school. We are grateful these two officers, without whose help our computer lab would not be what it is today.

The year 2000 was a sad year for us when we had to bid goodbye our beloved Principal Mrs. M. Tariang, who had been with the school right from 1965. She retired on the 3rd March 2000. She had been a dedicated teacher and under her leadership, as the Head of the Institution, there had been growth and progress in the School. Her hard work and commitment was acknowledged, when she was awarded the Teachers’ District Award in 1997 and the State Award in 1999. Mrs. M. Tariang was compassionate and friendly to all. She was a faithful friend and a good adviser to her fellow teachers, a kind and loving mother to the students. She left for her heavenly abode on the 3 1st August, 2002. Her service and dedication to the school will always be remembered.

Mrs. G. E.Rangad, took over as Principal on 1st April 2000. During her tenure many more classrooms were added to the school building, as the number of students increased. In the SSLC examination of 2000, the school fared very well and one of the students, Persara Lyngdoh took the 10th position in the Tribal list. She is now a Lecturer in Shillong College. It was also from that year onwards that the school was able to send more than 50 students to the Board Examination. The school building was further extended on both the ground floor as well as the Ist floor. An amount of Rupees One lakh received from Mr. P.R. Kyndiah under MPLAD scheme was utilized in the above construction. Mrs. G. E. Rangad was a cheerful and friendly human being who was always ready to lend a helping hand to others. Her happy face and jovial mood encouraged the students and teachers to love her and be at ease with her. Under her able administration, the school was able to mop up the resources to create a Reserve Fund for any emergent financial need. In the second half of 2003, Mrs. G.E. Rangad was not in good health and eventually opted to retire on the 31st December 2003. She passed away on the 13th November 2004. Her love for the school shall not only resonate in the corridors of the Synod Higher Secondary School, but in the hearts of all the students she had given encouragement as well as to her fellow teachers who had gained a lot from her guidance.

On 1st January 2004, Mrs. G. D. Lyngkhei, assumed charge as Principal of the school, follows the retirement of Mrs. G. E. Rangad. Till 2004, the school did not have a school Library and library books were kept in the respective classrooms. An amount of 1,30,000/- was incurred for the establishment of a library. More books were purchased and a full time Librarian was appointed. The infrastructure of the school was further improved with the construction staircase leading to the 2nd floor. A playpen for the youngsters of the Junior school with a slide, a swing and a merry-go-round were also added in the school premises. In her long career at the school since 1965, she had dedicated her love and affection to the 5 year old of her class as well as to the senior students. Mrs. G. D. Lyngkhei’s long service in the school shall be remembered and cherished by all students who had passed through her hands. She retired on the 30th September. 2006.

Side by side with the academics, the school also laid emphasis on sports and other extra-curricular activities. Right from the year 1994, it had always participated in the Inter-School Athletic meets year after year. Many laurels had been won both in the field and track events every year and in 1998, it was judged the Best from amongst the marching contingent. The school also participated in the many Inter school basketball tournaments organized by the Sports Department, other Educational Institutions or by other organizations. In 2003, the School won the Champion Trophy Girls of the Ponel Roy Warjri Memorial Trophy, Interschool Basket Ball Tournament organized by the Seven Set Higher Secondary School. The School team was the Runners up of the Inter-school Basketball Tournament organized by St. Mary’s School in 2004. That same year, the school was also the 1st runner up in the Inter-school Athletic Meet.

On the 1st October 2006, the management appointed Mrs.D. R. Shullai as the principal of the institute on the retirement of Mrs G. D. Lyngkhei and Mrs S. G. Sawian as the Vice principal till her retirement on the 1st April 2013. Meanwhile the school was steadily progressing crossing one mile stone after another. In 2007, the Eco club of the school was started by Mrs A. Phira, with a view of spreading the message of an eco-friendly world among students as well as to all fellow human beings. The club became an immediate success with more and more students enrolling themselves. Mrs. D. Sawian and Miss A. A. Dkhar thereafter took over the supervision and guidance. The club participated in many social activities especially on the ‘World Environment Day’ with the cleaning of the surroundings and planting saplings. The environmental awareness efforts of the club was widely appreciated, when Miss A. A. Dkhar went to Gurgoan(Haryana) to participate in the conference for school environment educator from the 13th to 15th November 2008,which was organized by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI).

The School also deputed Mrs, M.Baidya, to attend the Training Programme conducted by CCRT New Delhi on SUPW (Socially Useful Productive work/Work Experience) from 17th March to 27th March 2009 at the Centre for Cultural Resources & Training New Delhi.

Over the last ten years, the school received several financial assistance from the various Government Departments, as well as through the different schemes granted by our public representatives From the year 2005-2006 to the year 2008-2009 Dr. F. Lyngdoh, MLA, Mawkhar Constituency and Mr P.R.Kyndiah M. P helped the school in its efforts to extend the school building. Mr. Paul Lyngdoh, the then Sports and Youth Affairs Minister was gracious to bring to the school the scheme of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, Govt. of India for the up gradation of the basketball court. In 2008-2009, the Department of Soil Conservation sanctioned an amount of 1.47 lakhs for Rain Water Harvesting. In the same year, Mr. B. Basaiawmoit, MDC, Mawkhar gave assistance for construction of the school footpath.

From the above financial help received from our respected benefactors and from the savings of the school, we were able to convert all classes from Nursery to Class X into two sections with an enrolment of 40-50 students in each sections of different classes We place on record our appreciation to all our representatives and to the various Government departments and express our sincere gratitude for their contributions and aid. The State Bank of India which are bankers of the School, have also been donating furniture and fixtures over the last few years under the Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2010, eleven school benches were given to the school. The following year in 2011, the school received one Aqua Guard from the bank to provide safe drinking water to the students. In the same year, the bank also gave cash Awards to the 3 Toppers of the SSLC Examination. In 2012, the bank installed five ceiling fans in different classrooms of the school. This year the bank donated one Computer for augmenting the Computer Education of the students. The school conveys its gratitude to the State Bank of India for all its help and support.

In 2009, Mrs. Bethan Richards, one of our founder- members, along with Mrs. Janice Jones and Margaret Jones visited India. We were overjoyed when they came to visit the school on 12th Nov.2009 and were able to take part with us during that year’s Christmas Service. We were also happy to learn that Mrs. B. Richard us for the closing ceremony of the Golden Jubilee in August 2014.

The students of the school also involved themselves in other social activities such as the Junior Red Cross and the National Service Scheme.

The Junior Red Cross was founded on the 24th June 2008, at the initiative of Mrs. D. Kharmylliem and Miss B. Mawlong. When Mrs. D. Kharmylliem resigned, Miss E. Syngai took over and assisted Miss B. Mawlong. The school became a member of the Junior Red Cross(Meghalaya State Branch) which is a wing of the International Red Cross Society and participated in the various programmes held from time to time. The students attended the first aid training programme held at the Bharat Scouts and Guides Headquarters On 10th May 2013, they were also invited to participate on the Red Cross Day celebration at the Raj Bhavan.

The National Service Scheme or the NSS was started in the school on the 14th July 2010, with the Principal as the Chairperson and Mr. B. Khyriem as the Programme Officer. This scheme is for the Higher Secondary and College students only and on the first year itself almost 100 students joined. Today nearly all the Higher Secondary students are members. The NSS organized a Communal Harmony al Service Scheme or the NSS was started in the school Day from the 19th to 25th Nov 2010 during which Dr. H. langral the State Liason Officer delivered an address on National Integration On the 10th June 2011, the NSS attended an awareness programme conducted by the Bethany Society and Mr. Carmo Novonla, a resource person delivered a talk on solid Waste Management On 14th July 2011, a programme to spread awareness on the danger of plastic was held at Mawiong Rim, where all the members participated. The unit also took part in the Save Wahumkhrah and Umshyrpi Campaign, on the 21st April 2012 and conducted a tree plantation programme at Kyrdemkhla, Laitlyngkot on 5th June 2012 The NSS special camp programme from 31st Oct to 5th Nov 2012 saw the unit helping in white washing the walls of the Community Hall( Mawiong Rim) and planting flowers in its premises; as well as holding a demonstration on the use of smokeless chulhas and a water filtering system. On 3rd, 4th & 5th November, the unit conducted a medical camp; an eye camp in collaboration with Bawri Netralaya as well as a programme to spread awareness of Aids and its prevention along with the Meghalaya Aids Society. The World Environment Day 2013 was celebrated by the NSS student body by holding a tree plantation programme at Pynursla where more than a hundred saplings were planted. The unit also participated East Youth Festival held at U Soso Tham Auditorium, Shillong from the 7th to 11th Jan 2014.

The Year 2011 will go down as an important milestone in the history of the school, which saw Synod Higher Secondary School placed at the Ist Position in MBOSE Secondary examination obtained by Markyntisuk Lyngdoh Nonglait. Two other students were placed on the 5th and 9th position namely Eleglaza Airiti Hujon and Nerisa Clara Marwein respectively, The whole school erupted in joy and jubilation on receiving that wonderful news. Further all the 92 students appearing in that year 2011 got through, with as many as 60 girls placed in the 1st Division and 32 girls in the 2nd Division. It was a hundred percent success! A stream of well-wishers and dignitaries flooded the school.

Gwen Evans
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