iMPAct Newsletter February 2011

Table of Contents

    My First Time Playing Kirtan in Darbar Sahib

    by Gurprakash Singh Khalsa, MPA Alumni and Staff Member

    Gurprakash Singh Teaching Yoga

    On Sunday, January 9th, I played in Darbar Sahib for the first time with the Cherdi Kala Jatha. It was a feeling that I can’t really describe, but I’m going to try. It was extremely foggy. Those of you who have been to India in the winter know exactly what I’m talking about. I was feeling a mixture of nervousness  and total gratitude when i bowed my head on the freezing Parkarma.  On the way to Darbar Sahib I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands.  I thought ‘I’m about to play for the first time with numb hands! Oh god!’ I was in awe of how confidently and nonchalantly Sada Sat Simran and Jugat Guru led the way with me, the freshie tabla player in tow.

    It was still Ishnaan Seva time as they were reciting the shabds inside before they let the rest of the sangat in. We bowed and Jugat Guru got prasad for all three of us. He told me to tell Sada Sat Simran, but I  totally didn’t understand him amidst the people reciting the shabds, so Sada Sat Simran got ANOTHER maha-elephant sized prasad serving. I thought “Oh well, we’ll just have to eat more prasad than normal.” Little did I know, it was so cold that when I got the serving of prasad (which pretty much filled both my hands), the ghee solidified into its white hard form, making the prasad much less palatable. Then Sada Sat Simran said “Hurry up! They only have two shabds left  before we play!”  I forced the prasad down my throat, wiped chunks of solidified ghee off on my churidars, and went in to play.

    I was nervous at first, but before I knew it, it was just the kirtan playing. To me there was no microphone, no sangat, no insecurity about people listening to the live broadcast. Just the full gratitude and blessing to be playing in the house of Guru Ram Das.  My heart was smiling as we played shabds in honor of Guru Gobind Singh, and when we finished i had a feeling of supreme lightness. It was not like I was spacing out, but as if the air molecules in direct contact with my skin decided to lift my physical body weight off of the ground. I felt clear, nervousness gone, totally clean slate, no fear of dying, no desire to die either and vice versa with living.

    One feeling was fixed like it had been dead bolted to my heart: gratitude. The fact that I was blessed enough to come to Amritsar to this place, having the Guru literally take my anxiety out of my body, and play gods praises in one of the most energetically powerful places on the planet built an experiece so powerful that even if i spend my life as an armpit sniffer working for old spice (The worst job I can imagine!), I would still be able to look back at this experience  and say “Thank you god for letting me do that. I am blessed in my life.”

    Yoga Competition 2011

    by Savitri Kaur Beaver, 12th Grade

    Yoga, one of the many competitions we have throughout the year at Miri Piri Academy, isn’t like any other competition. Out of soccer, basketball, and frisbee, the yoga competition uses the most core strength and navel power. Students come together to compete against each other in a variety of exercises and postures.

    Exercises like camel pose, bow pose, and 108 frogs are done by the entire squad as a whole. Then stretch pose, varyus kriya, and sarban dundae kriya are performed by seven chosen members of each squad, including three boys, three girls, and one junior. I’ve never seen such persistence and motivation take place in a competition. Yoga is what we do best here, and it becomes a very close match when we have to compete in it!

    Everyone enjoys this competition for many reasons. We get to push ourselves and see how far we can go with the help of squad members cheering us on. Knowing that you’re the winner if you are the last one with your head and feet six inches off the ground, the pain lessens and lessens as you keep up. Overall this year’s yoga competition was amazing, and everyone put their full effort into it and had a blast. But let’s not forget how sore we all were for the next few days after…

    We Need Your Help!

    Grand Prize!

    More than 65% of our students depend on financial aid, and we expect that we will award more than $420,000 to those students over the coming months. Our Financial Aid Fund has received a grant for $275,000 from the CCC as a starting point, and we now need to raise just $145,000 from our friends and family.

    To kick off our 2011 fundraising efforts we are holding a great online raffle.  The grand prize is a Free Summer Solstice Sadhana, generously donated by 3HO.  There are lots of other prizes too.  Our goal for this raffle is to sell 1000 tickets by April 10th.  As of publishing time, 63 tickets have been sold.  Please do your part to help us get all the children to India this year!

    What’s Happening at MPA

    • Miri Piri Academy has been officially certified as a Cambridge International Examinations Professional Development Qualification Center.  Teachers can now receive Cambridge teacher certification after undergoing training at Miri Piri Academy.
    • Enrollment and financial aid applications for the 2011-2012 school year are now open! Parents were recently sent instructions for re-enrollment. If you know anyone who is interested in enrolling their child please email us at: [email protected] so we can send them instructions as well.
    • Students have nearly completed the Dinner Competition, a highlight of the year in which each house prepares a meal and entertainment for the rest of the school.  Students are judged on food quality, presentation, entertainment and a number of other criteria.  Pictures coming soon!

    Highlights from the Blog

    We are proud to announce that Kirandeep Singh, our Academic Principal, has completed the CIE Programme Leader course and Miri Piri Academy is now authorized to offer the Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers to our teachers.  This is a significant honor for our school and will greatly benefit our teachers and students.

    Grade 10 is studying Shakespeare in a unique way.  During this activity, one student was called up and a handout of Act 1 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet was given to them. The student then had to pick an occupation out of a box and enact the lines as if he/she were that occupation.  […]

    To kick off our 2011 financial aid fundraising efforts, we are excitedto announce the opening of our first ever online raffle. More than 65% of our students depend on financial aid, and we expect that we will award more than $420,000 to those students over the coming months. Enrollment has already begun, and the applications […]

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    As is the tradition, every year, the MPA teachers cook a special Indian meal for the students for Lohri (12th Januray 2011).The teachers then play host and serve the food to the students, which is followed by song and dance around the bonfire to keeps the cold away. And not to forget the delicious hot […]

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    Support Miri Piri Academy

    Your donation will not only go to support Miri Piri Academy, but you can also obtain a substantial tax break! We are so blessed to have monthly contributors that give from $11 up to $300 per month. Funds are used to support the students directly through our Financial Aid Fund, to help with operational costs and for capital improvements. We are also in the process of establishing an endowment fund.

    Thank you to all of the donors who make our program possible! We encourage all of our parents, friends and alumni to be a part of ensuring Miri Piri Academy’s future. If you are already donating, we encourage you to consider increasing your monthly donation. Simple email us at [email protected] and let us know what change you would like to make.