Students at Sevalaya enjoy their Library period but what doubles their joy is Vidiyal the manuscript magazine prepared by the students themselves . As soon as a new monthly issue is released, they crowd round it to find out if their creative outputs have found a place in it or to see their friends’ writings/pictures in it.
Faces break into proud grins when one sees ones creation in that issue and friends peep in to get a glimpse. One such alumni of Sevalaya Abirami discovered her artistic talents thanks to Vidiyal. Later, with support from Sevalaya , she completed her BA in Fine Arts and contributes professional quality illustrations for Lionbridge Technologies.
In 1996, Managing Trustee V. Muralidharan talked about the manuscript monthly journal his group of friends used to publish in their college days, to express their ideas and their opinions on events and trends. The staff felt that providing such an opportunity to the students would help tap their creative talents.
Children were told to submit their writings, paintings and the like. There was a brain storming session on naming the magazine . Muralidharan suggested that since it was a new beginning, a new dimension being added to the children’s learning, it could be called Vidiyal (the dawn ). Thus Vidiyal , an integral part of Sevalaya’s Mahakavi Bharathiyar Higher Seciondary School , was born.
Back then, the school was in its infancy and the number of students lesser. Each year only a couple of issues would be released. As the school grew more contributions poured in and the number of issues increased. The collection of articles, selection and production was being done by the Tamil faculty of the school.
Then in 2003-04 one of the volunteers P. D. Narayanaswamy with similar interests involved himself in this project. He got together a group of talented, interested students and formed them into an editorial board and taught them some basics such as writing an editorial and , listing contents .
For some time this group under his supervision took charge of the creation of Vidiyal and groomed juniors to take over when they had to prepare for board exams .By now the strength had grown and number of staff too had increased with many with new ideas and thoughts and all the staff got involved in this creative work.
This started a new period with the staff taking up this project every quarter on rotatio. Students in primary classes also started contributing their work.
When Sevalaya was part of British Council’s Global School Project from 2009-2013, Sevalaya’s partner school Cunnigham Hill Junior School also contributed articles for Vidiyal.
Earlier the articles would be written randomly while some staff would give certain themes for the monthly project. Some of the good articles were sent to newspapers and children’s magazines and got published. Issues focused on specific subjects/themes helped improve the children’s general knowledge.
The school used to select specific areas of improvement each year based on which a slogan would be chosen for the year and many of the Vidiyal issues of that year would be linked to this. Later on, the festivals celebrated that month as also other issues of national / international importance in that month were taken up as themes for the month and this has been continuing till date.
Every student of Sevalaya gets an opportunity to display his/her abilities as the topics for the month are announced well in advance and staff also motivate the children to present their contributions.
The group of teachers in charge of Vidiyal for that particular month also get a chance to exhibit / exercise their creativity which reflects in the way they select the themes for the month and execute, the lay out and design of the issue etc., Class leaders also exercise their leadership skills in getting maximum number of contributions from their class.
Vidiyal is thus a combined effort which brings out hidden talents in children, increases their self-confidence, sets them on the path of self- discovery and growth and contributes to their overall well- being .