Monday, April 20, 2009


It was headmaster Pillay's idea that a fete should be organized in order to raise funds for the School Bus Project. During the previous P.T.A (Parent Teacher Association) meeting the School Bus Project was approved and the headmaster was authorized to raise funds using whatever means he deemed fit. The suggestion to conduct a fete was received whole-heartedly by the staff and a committee consisting of volunteers was formed forthwith. The headmaster and the deputy-head being the ex-officio members of this committee, it was empowered with the task of planning the details and forming various sub-committees for the execution of the plan.

It was decided to conduct the fete in the school-campus itself which was large enough for the purpose. A suitable date was fixed and various sub-committees such as the planning committee, the publicity committee, the seating and room-allocation committee, the entertainment committee, and the reception committee were formed.

Starting from the very next day after the formation of the committees, there was a flurry of activities as the various committees began their work. Workers got busy trimming the lawn, clearing the grass and weeds around the football field, painting the posts and railings around the tennis and basket ball courts as well as the swimming pool, putting a new coat of paint on the old buildings, the compound wall and other structures. Lessons were either interrupted or suspended as urgent meetings were called or pupils were pulled out for rehearsals. Various departments started organizing their exhibits for display during the fete. The Needlework section of the Domestic Science department concentrated on making dresses, baby-ware and dolls while the Cookery section made plans for baking cakes, scones, doughnuts and other eatables for sale on the big day. The Science department decided to put up exhibits of a competitive nature in all the three laboratories. Participants had to pay a small entry fee, but winners would be rewarded adequately. The English, Geography, History and Mathematics departments made arrangements for the display and sale of books, charts, maps, models, souvenirs, replicas etc. and for some competitions using electrical quiz boards on which coloured bulbs would light up when correct answers were given. The Art department built up a collection of magnificent paintings, clay models, statues and pottery. The Metalwork and Woodwork departments got busy making knives, shovels, tool-boxes, stools, cabinets etc. for display and for sale. In addition to what the departments put up, there were other interesting items like a jumble sale to sell hundreds of surplus items such as disused shoes, ties, caps, clothing, dolls, toys or any other useful article donated by pupils and teachers, a shooting range where you could try your luck by shooting with an air gun at paper ducks that were kept moving and also a "fish pond" where you could "fish" for gifts. It was also decided that an entry fee would be collected at the gates.

As the fete-day drew nearer, the air of expectancy deepened. The sub-committees started meeting almost every day to review the progress. In the meanwhile an advance amount was paid from the PTA fund to Toyota agents in Lusaka to book a 26 seat Coaster for Mufulira Secondary School and a huge poster bearing the picture of the mini-bus was posted on the main notice board with the caption, "Our School Bus- Soon A Reality".

At last the great day arrived. All the arrangements had been finished by nightfall of the previous day. There was multi-coloured bunting all around the central court-yard and on both sides of the paths leading to the amphitheatre, football field and gymnastics court. Hundreds of coloured flags were hung from clothe-lines stretched all over the place and massive multi-coloured umbrellas were placed in different parts of the main court-yard, with chairs arranged in circles. This is where people would sit and enjoy the refreshments that were on sale. As the fete would start at 2 PM only, the morning session was devoted for applying finishing touches. We could see the Cadets practising already their march-past in the football field and hear their band. The prefects in their smart uniform were at the gates and all over the school campus keeping an eye on the pupils who were moving about either on duty or on various other pretexts.

When the gates opened at 2 PM there was an onrush of people who were waiting outside for a considerable time. The prefects at the gates handled the crowd well and ensured that each one would get an entry ticket before being admitted in. The band at the reception foyer struck a welcome note and volunteers among the pupils led the visitors to the starting place from where they could follow the signs that were put up by our artists throughout the school campus which had been transformed into a wonderland of fun and amusement.

It took more than two hours for the spectators to pass through the departmental stalls, science laboratories, art, woodwork and metalwork rooms etc. Once they came out in the open, there were many other attractions such as Indian and African dances, plays in the amphitheatre, cadet march, gymnastics etc. which everyone was free to watch.

Soon it was 5 PM and people were still coming in. As the campus was overflowing with spectators, it was decided to close any further entry. The cadets allowed people who wanted to leave to use the exit gates, but the entry gates remained closed. However, those who were within the grounds were free to remain until 8 PM to listen to the melodious Indian music concert organized by the Hindu Association of Mufulira as a tribute to the school, which was scheduled to take place soon after the stalls closed at 6 PM.

It was a day of great enjoyment to the people of Mufulira, young and old alike. Not only that the fete was a very successful event, the takings of which enabled us to reach much closer to our target amount for the school bus project, but also was one of the most memorable days in the history of Mufulira Secondary School, under the able leadership of Mr. Arthur J. Pillay.