Thursday, March 29, 2007

Who Wants to be the Headboy?

This is a sort of unofficial prospectus for the coveted post of Headboy of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Public School, Jubilee Hills. This is based purely on my personal experiences as Headboy in 2006-07 ("my" referring to SUSHOBHAN SEN, 10D).
This information may also be used for the post of Headgirl or any other post, though it might not be as accurate.

Disclaimer: I, Sushobhan Sen, Headboy, 2006-07, do hereby state that any and all information stated below is based on my personal experiences during my tenure. This information maybe used at your own risk. This information is also liable to change from time-to-time and is only reflective of the series of events taking place in the academic year 2006-07 (hence referred to as "The Year"). Furthermore, any deviations in terms of responsibilities, selection procedure or otherwise after the year will not be my responsibility. This post may be used as a prospectus but will be subject to unforeseen changes. Copyright (c) 2007 Sushobhan Sen. All Rights Reserved.

  1. Eligibility
    1. Class: 10 (NOTE: post-2006-07, the school has decided to reintroduce Classes 11 and 12. The post of Headboy could thus, shift to Class 12.)
    2. Age: 14-15 years, in some cases 16 years (NOTE: see note above)
    3. Skills:
      • The Candidate must have excellent speaking skills and must be capable of speaking in an extempore-style situation on any given day without objections.
      • The Candidate must possess some credible achievements in one or more of the following areas: sports, academics, co-curricular activities (includes debates, quizzes, recitations and similar activities) and participation in the morning assembly.
    4. Discipline: The Candidate should be well-known for his discipline and his exemplary behaviour and skills must be endorsed by a teacher(s) and/or students.
    5. Management: The Candidate must also show skills of being able manage difficult situations. Preparing an event on short notice, handling undisciplined students and balancing studies, sport and prefect duties all fall under this category.
    6. Academic Performance: Students who have scored above 80% in their Class 9 Annual Aggregate alone can nominate themselves. However, this number is subject to change based on the given conditions and requirements.
  2. Selection Process
    1. Stage 1 (Nomination): Once the Candidate feels that he fits the criteria stated in Item 1 above, he can nominate himself for any 3 posts ( number subject to change). The names and nominations are to be written down neatly on a piece of paper. It should be noted that the names and nominations of all the interested students of a class must be noted down on a single piece of paper and must be handed over to the Class teacher by the respective Class Captain, whether or not the Class Captain has himself/herself handed over their nomination. The Class Captain is selected freely by the Class Teacher and the post is subject to change.
    2. Stage 2 (Filtering): The Heads-of-Houses (also referred to as House Mistresses) call a meeting of all students of Class 10, wherein the candidates are asked whether they fulfill the requirements stated in Item 1 above. Candidates who do not qualify at this stage must leave without protest. The purpose of the other students is to detect and report any false information given by the candidates.
      Note that at times, in some special cases, the Heads-of-Houses can bend the rules stated in Item 1 above in case the student is found to be exceptionally deserving.
    3. Stage 3 (Interviews): Students are called for an Interview of the highest post they have nominated themselves for. Posts/designations are ranked in the following descending order of hierarchy:
      • Headboy and Headgirl CLASS 10
      • Assistant Headboy and Headgirl CLASS 9
      • Literary Captains CLASS 10
      • Cultural Captains CLASS 10
      • Sports Captains CLASS 10
      • Jr. Sports captains CLASS 8
      • House Prefects (in descending order of rank: Head Prefect CLASS 10, Asst. Prefect CLASS 9 and Jr. Prefect CLASS 8)
        If the candidate nominates himself for 2 or 3 of the above categories, he will be invited for only 1 interview (that of the highest nominated post) and the outcome of that single interview shall be used to assign a lower post, in case the candidate seems unfit for that (the Highest nominated) post, but fit for a lower one.
        At times, a candidate who has not nominated himself for a certain post may win that post out of popular consensus among the selectors. A particular case would be the selection of the Cultural Captains (Sushanth 10D and Sharanya 10E) in the year 2006-07.
    4. Stage 4a (Extempore) HEADBOY AND HEADGIRL ONLY: A set of students for the posts of Headboy and Headgirl are shortlisted (those candidates who have not been shortlisted will not be called on to speak during the assembly, and can consider themselves to be out of the race). They are then invited to speak on any random but relevant topic during the morning assembly, in front of all the students of the school. Some of the sample topics are given at the end of this sub-item. The candidate will not be given more than a few seconds to think. He must speak clearly, with a definite idea of what he wishes to cover, in a brief, concise and yet, compelling manner. Some of these topics (or their variations) are:
      • Ask not what your school can give to you; ask what you can give to your school.
      • Students should come out and participate in co-curricular activities of their own free will.
      • How can discipline in the school be improved?
      • Can sports and studies co-exist?
      • Is the implementation of the grading system a positive step?
    5. Stage 4b (Self-Introduction) HOUSE PREFECTS ONLY: Students shortlisted for the post of house prefects are asked to give a brief introduction of themselves. They are then required to speak about the various advantages of them being selected for the respective post. Note this this process will take place after the assembly, in front of only the students of Class 10 (seated in order of their House). Also note that the six houses in question are Arjuna*, Karna*, Krishna*, Markendaya*, Sree Rama* and Vasistha*. The candidate is expected to to conclude his speech within approximately two minutes, which means that he must complete his entire speech without adding anything irrelevant.
    6. Stage 5 (Voting): The Candidates shortlisted for the posts of Headboy/Headgirl and Head House Prefects will be voted on by the students. The franchise for the posts of Headboy and Headgirl includes all the students of Class 10 irrespective of gender, class or House. However, for the posts of House Prefects, only those students belonging to that particular house can vote. Candidates can also vote for themselves (or for others, as may be the case). The ballots are then handed over to the Head(s)-of-House(s) for counting. No further changes can be made.
      EXCEPTION: In the selection for the post of Sree Rama House Boy Prefect 2006-07, the shortlisted candidates were Sishir 10E and Rohit Yadav 10I. However, Siddharth 10I was the most popular contender for the post. Due to this, the Sree Rama house students requested the Headmistress Mrs. Sucharita to cancel the previous election for the post and conduct fresh elections with Siddharth as one of the contenders. The demand was accepted and fresh voting was conducted for the post as per the franchise mentioned above. Siddharth went on to win the post.
    7. Stage 6 (Counting): Students have nothing to do with the process. Teachers add up the votes won by each candidate. This may take several days.
    8. Stage 7 (Declaration of Results): Towards the end of June, the winners are announced during the morning assembly, usually by a member of the selection committee. First the Headgirl, then the Headboy and finally the rest of the Prefects are announced, as per the order given in sub-item 3 above. After this, there will be no change and students who have not been selected are requested to take the loss in their stride and not cause any unacceptable and anti-social ruckus.
  3. Responsibilities
    1. Events: The Headboy/girl, along with the Apex Body is responsible for handling all cultural events in the school, with the exception of Foundation Day (July 5), Sports Day and Annual Day (Primary School). Other such events falling under this category of 'non-Apex Body' events may also come up. However, most events such as Rakshabandhan (Rakhi), Republic Day (August 15), Children's Day, Teacher's Day and other special events will be handled primarily by the Apex Body. if necessary, House Prefects may also be included.
    2. Escorting: The Headboy and Headgirl (leading the Apex Body) will be required to welcome and escort all the Chief Guests who visit the school. No special drill will be taught in this regard. The Prefects will line up in order of their ranks, as stated in Item 2(3) above, in front of the lobby. The Head Prefects will face the Chief Guest while he enters and is greeted by the Principal. They will then take a U-turn and follow him in, while the other Apex Body Prefects follow their path. At no point of time should the hierarchy of the Prefects' Ranks be disrupted.
    3. Speeches: The Headboy will be required to make a large number of speeches (usually Votes of Thanks) with or without prior notice. At times, even a short lecture to a few classes by a visiting guest might require a vote of thanks. The Headboy might also have to give a Welcome Speech once-in-a-while, in case the Headgirl wishes to handle the vote of thanks for once. Unless the Headboy is confident of himself, he should show his speech to the Head of English Department for corrections and clarifications. The achievements and designation of the Chief Guest may be obtained from the Principal/Vice Principal/Organising Teacher.
    4. Marching: The very first responsibility that the Prefects will come across will be the Foundation Day. Prior to this, there will be over a week's worth of training. The Headboy will be taught the basics of march past (including giving commands, holding the flag and saluting) and will also practice the drill with the rest of the Prefects. This is an excellent opportunity to bond with them, especially the members of the Apex Body. Cooperation is the key to success. Hence, the Headboy should try to build a good rapport with his team. Also, he must bond with the Asst. Headboy/girl, who would be the youngest in the Apex Body after the Jr. Sports Prefects. They can be the Headboy's most important allies.
      Later on, during Sports Day (usually in end-November or the beginning of December, canceled in 2004-05), the Headboy will have to march once again, but this time with the whole of Class 10. Also, during Sports Day, he will accompany the Chief Guest and Principal along with the Headgirl up to the dais. This can be done in innovative ways, as per the will and resources of the Principal and Management (during the year 2006-07, it was done using a jeep and four horses!).
    5. Duties List: The Apex Body, due to their responsibilities stated in Sub-item 1 above, will not be required to directly participate in day-to-day duties, but will have to assign duties and points to houses each week. The point-scheme may be discussed with the Vice Principal before implementation. Apex Body members will cyclically put up the weekly list of duties on the Class 10 common Notice Board, or the board stipulated by the Vice Principal. All House Prefects will look up this notice for their duties. Points may also be published on this board. The Apex Body will have to maintain points given each week for reference later, if the case may be so. Apex Body members will supervise the House Prefects' Duties, as per the guidelines to be outlined by the Headboy and Headgirl, given to them by Mrs. Gayatri, or any other authority. A sample duties list is given below.
      • Arjuna House: Stage Duty (includes handling the stage during Lunch Break)
      • Karna House: Wrong-Uniform Duty
      • Krishna House: Stairs and Corridors Duty (includes handling the stairs and corridors during assembly hours and breaks). Prefects will make students move in line down the stairs before and after assembly and after school.
      • Markendaya House: Late comers' Duty (students availing school bus facility will not be penalized for coming late). The punishment for coming late once or twice is simply noting the student's name in a special register (usually with the Vice Principal) and in the appropriate column in the student's diary. being late more than 3 times a week brings with it punishment outlined by the Vice Principal/Mrs. Bhavani/The Principal (in rare cases).
      • Sree Rama House: Canteen and Stationery Duty (during the Lunch Break and Short Break)
      • Vasistha House: Bus (making students enter their buses) and Ground (maintaining discipline in the ground) Duty. The Sports Prefects may assist in this.
      • Morning Line Duty: Full Apex Body, as well as those House Prefects with the following duties:
        • Canteen and Stationery
        • Bus and ground
        • Late comer's
      • Apex Body Duties: to be decided by the Headboy and Headgirl.
    6. Lamp Ceremony: The last and final duty of the Headboy/girl will be to hand over the lamp to the Asst. Headboy/girl during the Class 10 Farewell (conducted by the Class 9 Prefects during mid- or end-February) in the presence of the Principal. This signifies the official dissolution of the Prefect Body.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Will I miss any classes in all this?
A. Yes. And lots of them. One of the most important skills that the Headboy must possess will be the ability to balance studies and duties. Once selected, the Headboy cannot back out, citing poor performance in studies as the cause. take the job at your own risk.

Q. What happens if some teachers are unhappy with me?
A. You will have to handle it on your own. You must try to please all the teachers, but if you scorn any one of them, you will have to manage it.

Q. Will I have to make announcements?
A. Yes, you will be required to make plenty of announcements, either during the assembly or using the Public Addressing (PA) System. The Headboy will need to be sharp and crisp while speaking. The announcements can be on any topic, not necessarily connected to your duties, and it could be on behalf of any teacher. You cannot make any protests.

Q. What if my team in not cooperating with me?
A. You will have to convince them. The option of complaining to the Vice Principal will always be open, but should only be invoked in extreme cases. Rapport-building and trust are very important.

Q. Can the Apex Body reprimand any Prefect in case of negligence?
A. Yes. The Prefect Body is completely under the Apex Body, and members of the Apex Body are under higher members as stated in Item 2(3) above. The Headboy/girl are under the Principal and teachers.

Q. Can a meeting be called in case of an urgent situation?
A. Yes. With the permission of the (Vice) Principal, the Apex Body can call a meeting of all Prefects on the Stage, in the Reception or any other free room, using the PA System.

Q. What room can I use to hold Apex Body meetings to plan/discuss an event?
A. Technically, any free room can be used। However, the Reception and the Library have been traditional favourites in this regard.

Q. Who is my House Mistress?
A. This is a commonly debated question. Unlike the other houses (each of which has a at least three House Mistresses classes 8, 9 and 10), the Apex Body is an independent entity and does not associate itself with any house. Ideally, the Vice Principal would be the Apex Body Mistress, although she may choose to hand over the post to some other teacher. At times, especially during/before Sports Day, the Physical Education Teacher(s) would take over the job.

Q. So which house do I belong to?
A. Your house. Although the Apex Body will maintain neutrality at all times, in inter-house competitions (excluding the March Past on Sports Day), if an Apex prefect wins a prize, his/her House will be given the points. There is no special Apex Body cup, or points list.

This blog post has been checked and endorsed by the following people:
G Vennela, Literary Captain, 2006-07
Kali Kishore Rao, Literary Captain, 2005-06
Shashank Mohan, Karna House Prefect, 2004-2006

BETA EXIT NOTICE: This blog post is now out of beta, although a few minor changes might be added from time to time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Taxing Times: A Poem I Liked

Here's a poem that seemed both hilarious, and yet gave a strong message: that we, the citizens, need to be able to spend more, and that taxes are beginning to go through the roof. Read on...

Tax Attack!
Rating: S (Superb!)

Tax his land, tax his wage
Tax his bed in which he lies.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.
Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.
Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke.
Tax his tobacco, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his booze, tax his beers,
If he cries, tax his tears.
Tax his bills, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.
If he hollers, tax him more,
Tax him until he's good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod* in which he lies.
Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me to my doom!"
And when he's gone, we won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance tax!

Source: Deccan Chronicle (March 22, 2007) Editorial
*sod: the surface of the ground, esp. when covered with grass; turf; sward. (noun)