May 10, 2018
Teacher Appreciation Week kicks-off with Guru Vandana
Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated annually during the first full week of May. This year festivities kicked-off on Saturday, May 5, 2018, with Guru Vandana, an annual event hosted by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh to honor the teaching community in the Upper St. Clair area.
Several Upper St. Clair School District teachers; Dr. Claire Miller, principal of Streams Elementary; and Dr. Patrick O’Toole, superintendent of schools, were invited and able to attend.
Guru, in Sanskrit, means “teacher, spiritual master, and mentor” and Vandana means “salutations to the teacher.” It is an expression of love, gratitude and reverence toward the teacher.
“The Guru Vandana event is about celebrating and cherishing the contribution of the teaching community in the area,” Sathya Venkatasubramanian, an Upper St. Clair parent, said. “This is an opportunity for us to express our gratitude and heartfelt thanks to teachers for their contributions to the community by imparting knowledge and the right moral values for the next generation.”
The event included several readings, songs, demonstrations and performances by students of all ages. As part of the cultural event, students honored each of their teachers with a prayer to offer respect and presented the teachers with a memento and flowers.
Dr. O’Toole served as one of two chief guests of the event. In addition to sharing a few words, he had the honor of participating in the traditional lighting of the lamp (Deep Prajwalan), which led off the event. The lighting of the lamp symbolizes the enlightenment that teachers provide to their students.
“Guru Vandana was such a fantastic cultural experience and wonderful way to pay tribute to our area teachers,” Dr. O’Toole said. “I am so honored to have been able to attend and take part in such a moving event.”
The program concluded with an authentic Indian dinner.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh is a social and cultural organization that aims to preserve, practice and promote Hindu ideals and values. For more information, visit www.hssus.org.