The chilly morning of 16th November 2016 was no match for the frenzy and fervor doing the rounds in the Billabong High International School campus. The entire school wore a festive look, adorned with colourful banners, posters and elaborate gateways. The ambience of warmth, hospitality and cheer was evident in the upbeat mood of the students and teacher volunteers. The reason was Sophrosyne 2016 - a landmark initiative by Billabong High International School, Bhopal to create a network of partnerships and a healthy competitive spirit to nurture young talent aiming to build excellence of character and soundness of mind among the citizens of the future.
Sophrosyne 2016, the four day Mega Fest celebrating cultural, literary, athletic and intellectual excellence commenced at the School Stadium on 16th November 2016. The monumental effort aimed at creating collaboration and synergy was embraced by various schools witnessing an enthusiastic response during the registration process.
The Festival opened to a grand inaugural ceremony accentuating the quote, ‘Atithi Devo Bhavahah’, welcoming nearly 1000 participants from more than 50 schools across the country and beyond. A cultural fiesta comprising of enthralling performances from the host and participating schools kept the audience of distinguished guests and parents glued to their seats and rooting for more. The harbingers of change, age and gender posing no bar enthralled one and all such that the very air resonated with the message of empowerment and emboldenment. Stereotypes were crushed and caution was thrown to the winds as tradition,culture and novel thought blended seamlessly. Lina Ashar, Chairperson of Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL) inaugurated the meet terming the event as a historic step in bringing together schools to empower youth and enrich their lives. She unveiled the School Newsletter and the Coffee Table Book released to commemorate the event.
A host of events ranging from sports, art, IT and the literary arena challenged the students and kept them engaged for the next four days. The sporting events dubbed the ‘Go for Gold” challenge were a huge draw with some tough contests and nail-biting finishes. ‘Art Arbour’ was another favourite with several teams showcasing their passion for the traditional art forms. ‘Innovazione’ the IT segment revealed how tech savvy the youth of today is. The ‘Wordsmiths’, catering to the literary palate witnessed some very promising speakers with the street play segment, ‘Youths’ Awaaz’ truly bringing out the voice of the youth to a platform where it could be heard loud and clear.
A generous touch of History and culture was added to the event by the displays of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA). Rare pictures exhibiting the arts,aesthetics and history of Indian culture tastefully decorated the corridors of the school. There was enough entertainment to keep the participants busy during the evenings. ‘Live United’, a musical night set the stage on fire with group and solo performances. The audience too crooned along proving that music is indeed a universal language. A 'Dancetravaganza' the following night brought with it vibrant hues of the rich folk dances of India. The stage was open to other performers also and the response was more than enthusiastic considering the programme continued well into the night!
The four day event concluded with a valedictory function on 19th November. 2016. The Wordsmiths and Innovazione categories were conquered by Billabong High Bhopal, while Art Arbour was won by DPS Bhopal. The gold in Go for the Gold category went to a dominant Sharda Vidya Mandir. The overall victory, the Champion’s Trophy, went to Khaitan Public School from Sahibabad, UP.
The AFS students from different countries were felicitated for their high spirits, their easy affability and camaraderie. The participants departed with promises to return next year, having captured priceless memories and a legion of new friendships....secure with their most-trusted ally: the memory card of their phone.