In many ways, the culture at our school was a unique one. It was not the one that our parents identified with nor was it connected to where our parents then worked. It was unique. And we as boarders were part of it for ten full months of a year.
Some have articulated this concept in colorful terms calling it the ‘third culture’. Some have defined the fluid nature of it by calling out the ‘lack of cultural moorings’. And many have attempted to define its contours and cornerstones in our literature (The Dohnavur Post).
Many have contributed to building this unique culture at our school and one man stands tall in this respect – Mr. Edison Daniels. Mr. Edison Daniels has been an integral part of it for so many years – investing his and his late wife’s entire career in it. We can attribute the crown-jewels of the culture to him – a love for music, an appreciation of literature, a penchant for language and a deep respect for nature. While these are just the most obvious ones, his impact goes far beyond these. His drive for excellence, an eye for detail, practical simplicity, healthy respect for orthodoxy and a zest for life made him a shining beacon for us drifting young minds without ‘cultural moorings’. Simply put, he was an adult example for us in the boarding school set up.
We have been having our annual alumni meets from 2014. The alumni meets have helped form a platform to draw from each other. In 2017, we instituted the Edison Daniels Lecture on Life as a formal program of the annual alumni meet. It is named after our dear Mr. Edison Daniels, in appreciation of his and his late wife’s long years of dedicated service to our school and the great impact he had in shaping our culture.
The purpose of the lecture as part of our program is to bring an intellectual rigor that will tap the vast potential of the alumni, helping us draw from each other’s life experiences. It will be delivered by a distinguished alumnus as a formal lecture. It can be on a topic of choice by the speaker. It is titled Edison Daniels Lecture on Life to indicate that the topic can cover any part of our/speaker’s life.
Over the years we have had distinguished alumni deliver the lecture. Below are a sample list of topics covered by the speakers.
- Connected his current work in ecology and life at school
- What Mr. Edison taught and how it was valuable in life
- God’s calling to be a farmer
- Unique nature of our ‘third’ culture
I trust and believe that we will greatly enjoy and benefit from this institution (lecture) over the coming years.