Having spent twelve years of your lifetime in one institution, the memories you take away cannot be expressed in just words. Such were the feelings of the participants when the Habib Girls’ School alumni convened at their alma mater on Saturday evening to celebrate its golden jubilee.
With many of them meeting after a considerable stretch of time, the occasion provided the alumni the opportunity to reconnect with one another and with their teachers.
The winner of the alumni par excellence award, Razina Bilgrami receives an award from the Habib Girl’s School principal, Nargis Alvi (left). Dr Zehra Fadoo is presented the award for excellence in medicine (right).
The ambiance beneath the marquee was heart-warming despite it being a cold January night, as they recalled the bonds of friendship and understanding they had shared during the school days.
“Today is your day to walk down memory lane and cherish the loving memories associated with each other as well as with your alma mater,” said the school’s third and incumbent principal, Dr Nargis Alavi, who is keeping up with the dynamic leadership of the first two principals, Zubeida Dossal and Adiba Kamal, that have made the school an institution of excellence for the past five decades.
To Muslim Habib, the managing trustee of Habib Education Trust, it seemed just like yesterday when the school opened its doors in 1964 with eight teachers who would teach the first batch of 80 students.
The institution commenced the celebrations in a befitting manner by launching the ‘Habibian Women of Excellence’ awards to reward those alumni who have distinguished themselves in six spheres of human endeavours. These fields include education, medicine, arts and media, general sciences, information technology and community services. In addition to these were the special and alumni par excellence awards.
The three finalist nominees for the award in each category were all impressive and one can only imagine the difficulty faced by the members of the jury in choosing the winners.
Where one nominee, Razina Bilgrami, holds an important United Nation’s portfolio, first in New York and presently as head of United Nations Development Programme in Colombo, another, Saman Ahmad, is among the first ever female batch of pilots and aeronautical engineers from Pakistan Air Force.
Meanwhile, Dr Zeba Fatima Vanek is a highly qualified neurologist who directs a humanitarian project to rehabilitate survivors who sustained spinal cord injuries in the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Another nominee, Shaista Javed, is a role model for talented women hockey players in the country, being the first female coach of the national women’s hockey team after representing the country internationally as an adept player during the 1980s.
“This is the place I have come to for so many years and I retain a nostalgic longing for the time I had spent here,” said Bilgrami who received the alumni par excellence award. “During those five formative years of my life, this institution enabled me to develop a strong academic base as well as the propensity to give value to morals, principles and ethics.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2014.