Dear Parents,
Since the boys left Chandbagh after their Golden Night dinner and mocktail evening last Thursday, the place has, impossibly, become busier than ever!
It started with a storm on Friday evening with gusts of wind over 80 km/h that brought down 8 trees on the campus, two being snapped clean at the trunk behind Skinner’s and the rest giving up some part of themselves and blocking the roads and paths in front of the Main Building, in front of Martyn House and behind Foot. In typical Doon style, every member of the administration team and every off duty bearer, security guard and mali came to the rescue with axes, saws and brooms to have the wood cut and neatly stacked as well as the paths cleared by the following morning for the arrival of our first summer visitors.
Summer @ Doon, our Seminar on Youth Leadership, began on Saturday at noon with the arrival of 72 boys and girls from around the country. They were welcomed by the team of masters who planned the summer programme and by Raghav Lakhanpal, Batch of 1992 and MP for the Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency, who spoke to them about the lessons that failure and loyalty teach you. During the course of the next two weeks these students will experience a little of what the Doon experience is like for our boys.
Apart from a series of seminars devised by the masters around the theme of Youth Leadership, they have a daily programme of sport, are producing a play, visiting the FRI, putting together a musical performance, building sustainable LED lighting systems, making pieces of original arts and crafts, producing a film, trekking up to a temple with views of the snow capped Himalayas, engaging in some organic farming with a leading environmentalist, visiting the RIMC for some Leadership in the Battlefield, rafting on the Ganga with the team led by India’s first father and daughter duo to climb Everest and hearing from some of our Old Boys who are making their way and leading  in their respective fields: Samarjit Singh (international pistol shooter), Ankur Bahl (Everester and adventurer), Abinav Kumar (IPS officer and writer), Abhinandan Sekhri (co-founder and CEO of Newslaundry) to learn from their experience.
The Indian Public Schools Conference U15 Hockey Tournament started on Monday with 8 teams staying on the campus and battling for the trophy. This is the first time we have hosted an IPSC tournament since 2006 and we are delighted to have done so as it gave excellent exposure to our younger players. In fact, our boys were able to make it to the finals which were narrowly lost out to MNSS Rai in the final 1:0. They played very well and we are looking forward to seeing them play next year.
We also held another round of SAT and SAT2 papers on Saturday 2nd of June and are hosting an ACT paper this coming Saturday for which 9 of our boys have stayed behind. In the midst of all of the hustle there are a few Doscos moving around the campus with their heads down, studying hard.
Of course, holidays mean building work and infrastructural improvements. From where I am sitting now, in my office, I can see the drainage work that is being carried out around Tata House and across the bottom of Tata field (known as Tata pond from July to September). I can see the three Chestnuts masters’ houses that are being renovated and I can see and hear the scaffolding being erected on the first floor corridor of the main building to give that area a face lift and move the pigeons on. The work of maintaining and improving a century old campus is ongoing and requires the coordinated efforts of a large number of people. The hub of that work is the Campus Development Committee (CDC) chaired by Sumanjit Chaudhry (Batch of ’63) supported by the time and the generous donations of many other members of the DSOBS fraternity.
Some of the upcoming projects are the renovation of the science laboratories, which will turn them into the flexible and practical learning spaces they need to be for learning through experimentation. We are also renovating and remodeling the bedrooms of H and K house to decrease the density of boys in the smaller rooms and enhance their boarding experience. A future extension to the top floor of Tata House is also being planned that will turn what is, for the most part, fondly called ‘the cage’ into the common room that the house deserves and will give more appropriate living accommodation to the C Form boys. We also have projects like the Sports Centre and the illumination of some of the sports fields in the planning stage that we are working towards; again, with the generous support of the fraternity helping to turn the dreams of our current Doscos into reality.
It is 7 weeks until the boys return to Chandbagh and in that time I hope that you notice what remarkable young men they can be. In spite of the increased laundry, the things that you might have to pick up after them and the amount of food that you now need to have in the house, they are such wonderful company. Those of you who came to the PTMs in the last month will have heard some of the things we had to say about spending time with your children, listening to them, taking care of what they are using their internet time for and making sure that they get the sleep they need.
If you would like to read about three of the things that we are exploring in school, then here are a few articles that might be of interest to you.
This American College of Pediatricians article, on the impact of pornography on children from June 2016, is one that supports the message that we are sharing with the students across the year groups about the effect of some of their online behaviour. Naella Grew is the specialist that we work with three times a year on some of the more tricky issues of teenage development and behaviour (sometimes it is helpful to have an outsider for our boys to talk to). Her website includes some useful things for parents to read about pornography and depression.
This Deloitte Insight report is something that relates to the issue of students not only getting into college, but also being equipped to be successful there. We know that while many of our students do well at college, there are some who do not have an easy time when they get there. Making sure that they are ready to succeed is what our Lifeskills and our Careers programme is all about and regularly reviewing it and taking feedback from students who are in the first, second and third years of college is becoming part of our feedback cycle to continuously improve.
This article about the effects of including kindness in a school’s curriculum is something that I read back in 2014 when it was published and it is still as relevant today as it was then. In fact there are more articles on LinkedIn and more pieces of evidence from experience that keep popping up, so much so even the HBR is talking about it. One of the things that I am trying to do with the help of my colleagues and the older students who are willing to work with us, is to grow compassion in school. Even responding to poor behaviour, carrying out consequences and delivering punishments when necessary, can be done with kindness and recognizing the humanity in others. The trouble is, that not everyone believes this or has the wisdom yet to understand.
Last time I wrote we are saying goodbye to PK Nair and Philip Burrett and I said that I would let you know who will be taking over the responsibility as deputy head in this newsletter. Well, in case you missed the Facebook announcement, what you need to know is that Kamal Ahuja is our new Deputy Headmaster and I am delighted that we were able to find, after an extensive and international search, that the best person for the job has been with us for almost 20 years with a short gap in the middle working at another school.
Handing over: PK Nair with the new Deputy Headmaster Kamal Ahuja

Have a wonderful time together, look after each other and keep learning. We will see your sons back here on the 29th of July. Please help us by not sending them back with two phones, money or wireless dongles; it ruins the experience and only lowers the respect that we all have for each other. Please do send them back full of good stories to tell and an appetite for making a difference and being prepared to see the world in new ways; that will make everything better.
Below are the important dates for the term ahead and attached is a copy of the calendar for the 2019-20 school year that will help you with your long term planning.

Until July,

Matthew Raggett
The Doon School
Mall Road
Dehradun-248 001
Uttarakhand (India)