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'Today we are all Indians . . .'

Woodstock's history is intertwined with India's history. Our students, staff, academics, mission and vision are a faithful reflection of the changing times of our host country. Here, as in much of India, the Golden Jubilee has been a time for celebration and reflection.

Kavi Singh ('47-India), in his speech at Assembly during India Week, said that he is optimistic about India's future because of the strength of the "hundreds and thousands and millions" of idealists in this country. Speaking to the school at Flag Raising, Andi Eicher ('87-India), also spoke of his heroes, ordinary people with extraordinary commitment to an ideal.

It's not surprising that the mood at Woodstock is optimistic; we are a community of idealists. We strive to live in accord with a vision of a more perfect world, and to impart that vision to our students.

Our celebration is spanning the year. Emperor Akbar (Tom Alter, '68-India) and Birbal (Ten Singh Nima, '80-Tibet\India) made a triumphal entry to the Phool Kila at Spring Sale, a tribute to the dazzling history of India.

Independence Week was a blend of the academic and festive. All students were involved in some project requiring research, be it exhibits, drama, music, speeches or artwork. Middle school focused on pre-Independence, the high school on Independence and the elementary school on post- Independence. Each area gave an All-school Assembly during the week.

Each day a regional cuisine was featured and many people dressed in that particular style of clothing. After school there were interhouse kho kho and kabaddi matches, and in the evenings there was a Rajasthani puppet show and a local troupe performed dances of the Garhwali and Kumoan hills. Members of the Class of '87 gave an evening seminar on the future of India for the high school and staff.

Glorious sunshine greeted Independence Day and the school assembled at the flagpole for the Flag Raising, speeches and music. Brij Lal led the "Jai Hind!" salute, heard "not just at St. Georges, not just in the Doon, but reverberating across the Siwaliks!"

Many people spent their day preparing and serving lunch for over 500 employees and their families, a tradition for over 30 years. Others wound up khud climbing to plant 100 deodar seedlings between Sun Cliff and Oakville. Students and staff got their traditional diya-lit meal in the evening, followed by fireworks and the new movie Border.

Drawn by the spectacular Himalayan fall, a tour group from KWI will visit in October, coinciding with the 3rd annual Homecoming on the 10th and 11th. The Classes of '58 and '47 follow shortly, this being the 50th-year reunion of the latter.

The fall play, Shakespeare's As You Like It, in November, will be set in a Garhwali village with the dances, costumes, architecture and scenery of our own hills. Shipton and Tillman, discoverers of Nanda Devi, will even pass through as the Pages.

Woodstock's unique character is shaped by its roots in India. From alumni the world over who have grown to love and value this country, from students and staff, we congratulate India and pledge our support and commitment in the next fifty years of independence.

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