Huge Turnout at Greater Houston Tamil School Graduation Day 2017


HOUSTON: Greater Houston Tamil School (HTS) and its branches celebrated their Graduation Day on Saturday, May 27, at Pearland Junior High West School. It was indeed a memorable event with more than 900 people in attendance. HTS has grown to become the biggest Indian language school in southern United States with 450 students. HTS is run entirely by volunteers who are driven by their love and passion towards the Tamil language. HTS has six branches in the greater Houston area – Pearland, Katy, Sugar Land, West Houston, West Katy, and Woodlands.


The program started with the traditional Tamil Thai Vazhthu (Tamil Prayer) and the national anthem of USA, followed by a welcome address by HTS President Karu. Manickavasakam. While pointing out that HTS was the first Tamil School to achieve accreditation, he also announced with great pleasure that the efforts put in by the volunteers and board members were helping in the growth of the school at an accelerated pace.


Innovative cultural programs were presented by the students. Katy started with the Tamil epic ‘Silappathikaram’ and an agriculture related program. Woodlands and West Katy brought entertainment aspect to the celebrations with their skit about a T.V show and a mashup of different songs, respectively. West Houston and Sugarland schools presented thought provoking plays about water conservation, agriculture, cleanliness and sustainability. Finally, Pearland came up with a nice portrayal of different speaking styles at different locations of Tamil Nadu in a hilarious way.


The Annual Report was presented by HTS Secretary Sangeetha Neelagandan. She pointed out the start of the sixth branch at West Katy and also the successful accreditation of Sugar Land and West Houston branches. The Financial Report was presented by the Treasurer Dhamu Narayanan. Advisory Council member Jagan Annamalai then informed the audience about the approval of Houston ISD to award high school LOTE credits to HTS students on a case by case basis and also about HTS efforts to get Texas Education Agency to create a high school course code for Tamil language.

Advisory Council member Gopal Krishnan explained the rationale behind the recent formation of Greater Houston Tamil School Sangam. Muthu Natarajan then talked about upcoming Sangam events.

The chief guest of the celebration was Professor. Vasu Renganathan, Dept. of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania. He mentioned that he was thoroughly impressed by the performances of the kids. He also mentioned that the Houston Tamil community was taking the language to the next generation in a fantastic way and urged the community to continue their support. He released the HTS Malar which was received by Advisory Council member Gopal Krishnan. The chief guest was honored with a memento by our ex-Treasurer Professor. R. Radhakrishnan. The chief guest also awarded trophies to administrators, teachers and other volunteers.

A video presentation by Joint Secretary Balaji Lakshmanan capturing poignant moments during the academic year got rapturous support from all the students. The much awaited student award ceremony followed. The students proudly came on to the stage and received their awards from their teachers. HTS Vice President Venkat Ponnusamy then thanked all the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event a grand success.

The celebrations concluded with a wonderful dinner catered by Annam. The proud parents and grandparents left the venue praising the efforts of the children and the volunteers.