Never in their life students who performed to welcome a chief guest remembered a VVIP thanking them personally during his address. However, this happened for rural students of Satya Bharti Adarsh School, Sherpur Kalan village, as the ‘Missile Man of India’ and former President A P J Abdul Kalam thanked students personally for presenting a welcome song.
The charm continued as he took students from their classrooms in green fields to the world of moon and mars during his address, inspiring them to ‘dream, fly, think and then act’.
Beginning with a polite ‘namaskaar’, Kalam while addressing teachers said that “do not teach academics but the values”. “Make your students imbibe values, make them great citizens,” he said.
“I strongly believe ‘I can do it, we can do it, India can do it’. Why only talk of top 10 students? Does that mean throw last 20? A great school is one that teaches equality, which works on success of last 20,” said Kalam.
Stressing importance of giving, Kalam said that “when a kid enters a school, asks what you can do for me but when he leaves school, he should say what I can do for you”. “That is when corruption will vanish and there will be righteousness in heart and beauty in character,” he said, adding that primary school teachers play the most important part.
Asked how scientific aptitude can be built among students, he narrated a tale of his teacher teaching him how birds fly near seashore.
“That was the point when I decided I will fly. It is how you teach that matters,” he said.
On his school life, Kalam said that he was angered when a wave overpowered him and took in another direction during swimming classes.
“My teacher said you have to fight back and get to the shore. That is when my journey started from Rameswaram to being a rocket scientist and landing in Rashtrapati Bhawan,” he said.
Motivating the students, he said that “you all can fly” and a “school that thrives on creativity is great because creativity is knowledge”.
# At Sherpur school, he called for students who actually made paintings which were being gifted to him by the school. “Call them who have made it,” he said, and the two girls were elated.
# Asked about what satisfied him more, scientist or being a President, he said, “Teaching and research is my love. That is always more satisfying than President’s post.”
# He raised concern over wastage of food and stressed agro-processing. “Food wastage is what hurts me. We must try achieving Vision 2020 to reduce food wastage, open small scale industries and processing units,” he said at BCM Arya Model Sr Sec School.
# He termed Vikram Sarabhai a great visionary leader. “We need such leaders with great vision,” he said.
# Asked about students going abroad for education, he said “it is a globalised world and thus it should be acceptable”. “It is not possible to contain billions of people,” he said.