It was one of the best Sports Days in TLT history if not the best.

These words were echoed by most of the student athletes, parents and faculty who attended the 2017 TLT Sports Day on Friday, November 18 at PAD Park in Clifton.

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“Sport teaches us incredibly important lessons about life. It teaches us about the joy of triumph, but also about learning to be resilient when we lose, and to lose with grace,” stated Cedar House Captain Saud Rahman in his introductory speech.

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“The opening ceremonies were really special ,” said parent Zaira Isphani.  “Usually parents arrive and simply wait for their child to participate.  But this year the march past, the athletic oath, the martial arts demonstration and the overall excitement in the air were such a refreshing change.”

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One would think that the opening ceremonies would be tough to beat but the student athletes came to win and all of them put in outstanding performances both on the track and in the field.  Cedar, Juniper and Oak houses battled each other and the outcome was very much in doubt till the very end with the conclusion of the house relays.  Oak won the event, followed closely by defending champon Juniper and Cedar.

Graduating Class Reflects on their Final Sports Day

This year’s competition had over 200 athletes from grade V through to grade XI.  “What a great way to end my TLT career,” said a happy Head Girl Abeera Faisal.  “I didn’t win any personal medals but watching my house mates in Juniper do so well  and carrying the school flag for the opening ceremony was something very special.  I will probably not be competing with or against most of my friends when I move on to my new school but TLT Sports Day will always stand out as a highlight.”

The event was something unique to newly elected House Captain, Shahbano Raza. “I love to compete on the track and I just feel it is one of the few places that I can showcase my athletic and leadership skills.  Carrying the house flag was something I have always wanted to do,” said an emotional Raza.  “What was even better was the victory lap with all my orange clad teammates,” said a happy Anushay Khurshid who led her Oak teammates to a first place finish of over Juniper

“It was a lot of fun.  I am not the greatest athlete but I was given the opportunity to serve on sports council and do my part to make the event better for my fellow students,” stated grade IX prefect Fatimah Bandeali.  “This is what makes TLT so special.  We are allowed to showcase our strengths and passions in so many ways.”

“I love the social atmosphere of the three days.  We are under so much pressure during our regular school hours that we don’t get many opportunities to simply unwind with our peers and our students,” stated events coordinator Safura Nouman. 

“Our teachers put in so much time and effort every day.  To see them out here in the sun so that we can enjoy ourselves in some healthy competition speaks volumes about their character,” states a very appreciative Rabia Jawad.  “You see Sir Jamshid running beside our Special Ed kids and encouraging them to keep on going and you realize the meaning of empathy, understanding and love that he has for all of us,” adds senior Baasim Rizwan.  “We are talking about an old man who ran miles today with these kids just to make sure they were motivated,” laughs Math Coordinator Qamar Wajid.

Teachers seem to enjoy the event almost as much as the students.  “The senior boys put on quite a show in their events.  They are really fun to watch,” said an excited PE instructor Hafiz Mansoor.  “They have a wonderful combination of speed, grace and power that is simply a sight to behold.”  Samina Ashraf, the senior school Physics teacher and parent added, “All of our kids seemed to enjoy themselves not only in the events but also in the athletic enclosures.  It was nice to see them so well behaved and simply enjoying each other’s company.”

It was truly a memorable day for all of the young athletes, teachers and administrators.  “I just joined TLT a few weeks ago,” states newly appointed math teacher Sabica Aleem, “and this was truly a wonderful experience to be with the kids in a setting other than the classroom.  Working alongside teachers who care about these kids is truly rewarding.”

Head of School Filled With Pride

“An event like this takes a great deal of time, effort and hard work,” states Head of School Naila Jamall. “Our coaches and teachers do a great job in supporting and encouraging our student athletes.  There was a real sense of communal effort out there and I loved the way kids volunteered to be a part of sports council and assisted teachers and officials during the course of the day.”

All competed, many climbed the podium, most didn’t, but Sports Day 2017 was a wonderfully successful event with its colour, competition and camaraderie.  “We always reflect on how we did as a school community after such events”, explains Jamall.  “We are always looking to improve on what we have done in the past so we can strive forward.  Our kids competed hard on Friday, and we as a faculty have to keep working harder to make things even better for them next year.  We get feedback from many sources and last year our Sociology class conducted exit interviews and surveys that gave us the qualitative and quantitative data that we utilized to make this year’s event even better.  Like our runners, we never stay in the starting blocks and we are always striving for improvement and excellence.”

It’s a challenge Jamall sets before her entire school community and more often than not, the Learning Tree community finds a way to raise the bar.  “I have been waiting so many years to compete as a member of the senior school” says multiple gold medalist Rabia Jawed.  “I am exhausted but it’s a great feeling to compete and come out on top.”

“We all did our part and I’m so proud to be at TLT.  It’s a special place with special people always putting students first,” added athletic director, Rhuksar Rashid.  “We took a look at last year’s event and reflected on what went well and where we could improve.  Our kids were given tips on proper nutrition and hydration and we had no issues with injuries or heat exhaustion because our pre and post stretching regiment was put into place.”

“When the relays begin, you can feel the excitement in the air.  It’s a great atmosphere and I couldn’t be prouder of the kids and the faculty,” states an exhausted but satisfied Head of Sr. School, Jamshid Minwalla. “Sports has played a huge part of my life as a young boy, as a father of two daughters and now for these kids who need these kinds of opportunities to unwind and have fun.  It was a fantastic day-- a wonderful blend of fierce competition and tender care.”

As Saud stated eloquently in his opening remarks, “Sports Day 2017 is indeed special for all of us within the Learning Tree community.  It’s a time where we come together – 200 strong, to represent our respective Houses – Cedar, Juniper, and Oak, but we also come together to compete against each other and also care for one another.”