MRS SHEILA GODIN NEE LEWIS
Position/ profession: Teacher of English, Dubai
Why I am Grateful to Milagres College, Kallianpur
When I joined Milagres College, Kallianpur, in 1990, little did I realize how deeply my college and its faculty would transform my life forever. I am eternally grateful to our Lady of Miracles for guiding my decision to join Milagres College and would like to testify to the far-reaching impact of this gem that opened doors to me I never thought possible. The warm atmosphere of the college, the expertise of the staff and the strong moral fiber of all who work here weave a rich tapestry of which, we students, are an integral part.
Hi, I am Sheila Godin nee Lewis, a proud alumnus of my beloved Milagres College. From the word go, I was surrounded by classmates and lecturers who exhorted me to reach for the stars and pluck a few once they came to know of my love for the English language! Although I was quite an introvert and shy around people, the warmth of the staff and students melted any fears I had.
Perhaps one of the most valuable gifts my college gave me was the courage to face my greatest fear – stage fright! I started small by joining an extempore speech competition, and though I was quaking in my boots, I drew courage from the calm demeanor of the English faculty – Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Mrs. Mary Mammen, Mr. Aranha, Mr. Leo Noronha – who listened with pride in their eyes as I spoke and did not seem to have the slightest doubt that I would do a stellar job. Their genuine applause when I won is a memory that I will treasure all my life. Ask anyone with stage fright what a wonderful cure that is to jangled nerves!!
From there, the sky was the limit. My lecturers declared that I had a very good voice for the mike and before I knew it, I was compering college functions regularly. I also began competing in individual and group elocution, singing and music competitions and before I knew it, all my stage fright was a thing of the past. For this, I have only my lecturers to thank, and my beloved parents, Late Reginald Lewis and Mrs. Olga Lewis who made it a point of duty to watch every competition in which I took part.
That is how I began to develop layers of confidence which now propelled me to greater heights. My lecturers kept reminding me that they expected great things of me in the upcoming 2nd PUC examinations. That drove me to leave no stone unturned as I began using the library facilities extensively, researching lesser-known topics and discussing them with my lecturers Rev. Fr. Wilson D’souza, Mr. Clement D’souza, and Mrs. Hilda Rodrigues till I had ironed out all my doubts and knew my content well. Their deep faith in my abilities and the wondrous grace of Our Lady of Miracles paid rich dividends and in 1992, I secured the 9th rank for our college in the 2nd PUC examination in the state of Karnataka. The celebrations and felicitations that poured in following that achievement made me realise just how closely knit our Milagres community is and how deeply they support the achievements of their students.
Three years later, in the summer of 95, I secured the 8th rank in BA examinations held by Mangalore University. I also secured a Gold Medal in Hindi, much to the delight of my teacher. Needless to say, Iknew where I was headed in terms of a career by then. In the two years after that, I completed my Masters in English at Mangalore University, once again securing a Gold Medal in my final examinations and breaking the existing record in the university with my marks.
None of this would have been possible without the steadfast support of my lecturers. People do not realise how deeply words can affect lives, but I can testify that the positive words of encouragement spoken over me and the innate trust they had in me helped me achieve my greatest successes.
Now, 28 years later, I teach in an international school in Dubai with students from around 65 nationalities and staff who are mostly from the UK. In our free time, I often regalethemwith anecdotes about ‘my college’ and my experiences there. They listen with rapt attention and I see them draw parallels with their experiences today. I train the next generation to compere events, participate and win in debates and take the stage, just as my lecturers trained me. I am involved in Continuous Professional Development programmes for our staff where I train staff on integrating technology into the classroom. A long time ago, my college drew me out of my shell and showed me what I could accomplish and who I could be, and today, I do the same for my students.
Milagres College, although I left you in 1995, you are with me always, my best friend forever. The mere mention of my college fills me with a deep sense of nostalgia. God bless our Milagres College. May she continue to shine forever!