Meet M Villupuram's Amalorpava Mary, a teacher who is a blessing for many
Mary, a physical education teacher at a government school, has been playing a vital role in the lives of several rural students by giving them opportunities to compete at the state-level.
Published: 11th December 2022 05:09 AM | Last Updated: 11th December 2022 12:07 PM | A+A A-
VILLUPURAM: The shore of success could be seen from afar. It was no easy task for class 10 student Satya, who was caught in a vortex of uncertainty, waiting for a ray of light from the other side. However, little did she know that a woman would be waiting at the sands of time, almost as if she were overseeing her perilous journey, with many beaming eyes resembling hers.
Satya is not alone. M Amalorpava Mary, a physical education teacher at a government school, has been playing a vital role in the lives of several rural students by giving them opportunities to compete at the state-level and giving them hope to make it big in life. She has trained more than 100 students from ARR government higher secondary school, at Kaaranai Perichanur in Villupuram district, for over 10 years.
Mary, who is a sports lover and an athlete herself, has been training students in swimming, athletics, martial arts, basketball, and ball badminton, and many have qualified in state and national level tournaments. In October, 15 girls and two boys trained by her qualified for state-level swimming competition. She has also been spending from her own pocket to train the students without collecting any fee from them.
“Our teacher paid Rs 60 per hour for each of us to train in a private swimming pool in Villupuram. We used to swim there for two hours daily for a week. Our parents trust our teacher and they send us with her anytime,” says Satya, who has now mastered the tides.
“I believe that sports is no less than other academic papers because it is key to keep the mental and physical health of students in balance. In the modern era where students are distracted from studies and indulge in various delinquent activities, sports can be a productive ways to make them aligned with values of life,” says Mary.
Mary decided to train the girls in swimming after knowing about their skills from the locality. “Every morning by 4 am, I take the children to the government swimming pool in Villupuram in a government bus. That’s when the first bus to Villupuram from Karanai village runs. After reaching the pool they will be trained for two-and-a-half hours in all styles of swimming including butterfly and breaststroke. By 7-7.30 am we will take the bus and reach the school by 8.30 am so that they don’t miss regular classes,” she adds.
Two boys from classes 9 and 10 have also qualified for a state-level tournament. “It is a great opportunity for us because there are seniors from our school who got into college through the sports quota and have good jobs now. I see it the same way and am looking forward to performing well at the state-level,” says R Santhosh, from Class 9.
Mary said it does not bother her to spend a little on the students. “My will to help rural children, especially girls, comes from my experience as a single mother. I feel girls in rural areas must be empowered in some way to survive independently in life and as a sports teacher I want to equip my students with the best opportunities,” she adds.