Senior academician Oscar Gonsalves felicitated for his service to education

A book Oscar’s Odyssey was released at the function, which listed out the achievements and milestones of the educationist

Senior educationist and administrator of Sharada Mandir School, Oscar Gonsalves was recently felicitated at a public function held in Panaji, recently. The chief guest for the function was Dattaraj V Salgaocar, industrialist and Chairman of the Sharada Mandir School Trust. Recipient of the prestigious Jnanpith Award, and prolific Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo delivered the keynote address and was the guest of honour at the felicitation event.

A book, Oscar’s Odyssey, enlisting the achievements and milestones in the life of Oscar Gonsalves was released at the function. The book’s editor Mario E. Fernandes; chairman of the Sir Oscar Felicitation Trust, Jose Remedios Pereira; and secretary of the Felicitation Trust, Sonali Kawathankar heaped praise on Gonsalves and mentioned the contribution of the academician in their respective careers.

Oscar’s Odyssey book release. (L to R) Sonali Kawathankar, Mario Fernandes, Edwin Menezes, Jose Remedios Pereira, Damodar Mauzo, Dattaraj V Salgaocar, Oscar Gonsalves and Sandra Gonsalves

Addressing the audience, Dattaraj Salgaocar, who is also the managing director of VM Salgaocar Corporation Pvt Ltd, said, “Despite being forthright, Oscar Gonsalves, a devoted educator, offered a soft touch to Sharada Mandir School. He shared my vision and with his unwavering devotion and leadership skills, overcame every challenge in his path to help the faculty and students while also being aware of his duty. During the pandemic crises, his commitment and never-say-die attitude were most evident. He has significantly raised the bar of education at the school.”

Speaking at the occasion, Damodar ‘Bhai’ Mauzo, who like Gonsalves, hails from the village of Majorda in Salcete, said, “Oscar has lived a full life, giving of himself, his village, the people, and the neighbourhood. It is commendable that he is being recognised for the value of his contributions to the field of education and the effort that he put forth to create a sense of community among the students. Just like his mother, who was my teacher in school, Oscar has made a difference to scores of students.” Mauzo added, “it is not important how long one lives but rather whether or not those years were spent in a fulfilling way.”

Fr. Alfredo Vaz led the audience in prayer before Reena Thakur, a faculty member, performed a prayer dance, and then a student, Aarika Raikar, performed a dance piece at the function.

Editor of the book Oscar’s Odyssey is London-based Mario E. Fernandes, a student of Gonsalves. Mario reminisced about the good old days being inspired by Gonsalves. He also described how challenging it was to co-ordinate from
London with those in Goa while compiling and editing the book. Sponsor of the book, Edwin Menezes of Edcon Real Estate spoke about Gonsalves’ passion for education and grooming young talent.

In his thanksgiving address, Oscar Gonsalves praised his family, the school, and his students. “We are the results of
the upbringing that we have received from our families; and parents have a significant impact on how our lives turn out. We are what we are because of the ideals that our parents instil in us”. Gonsalves commended Fr. Basil Andrade
for opening numerous schools wherever he was deputed. “Fr. Basil offered me a position as a teacher in his school, which I accepted reluctantly; but soon I began to enjoy the teaching profession. I was inspired by and learned how to be a good teacher from the inspiring stories narrated to me by Fr. Basil.” Gonsalves also thanked everyone who have contributed significantly to his development as a teacher, headmaster, and administrator.

Gonsalves also had a special mention to state government officers, like former Director of Education Department, Mrs Suman Pednekar; and former Jt Director of Accounts late J N Prabhudesai, who have facilitated reforms that have benefitted teachers in the state.

Former students of Gonsalves sent messages from all over the world, with Young Perry from London sending a song in Gonsalves’ honour. Nila Mohanan, a former IAS officer stationed in Goa, also sent Gonsalves a video message in
which she praised his abilities as an educator. Secretary Sonali Kawathankar proposed the vote of thanks; and Ashford Gonsalves expressed his appreciation. A portrait of Gonsalves, created by artist Dilesh Hazare, was handed over to the man of the moment.

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