On any given Thursday in June, schools, colleges and universities throughout the Kingdom hold a Wai Khru ceremony.
This is the day when students pay their respect to their teachers, not just for passing on their knowledge, but also for the advice, counseling and encouragement the teachers give to their students throughout the year.
At the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind and the Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities, the students took off the morning of June 19 – a Thursday, as that is the day for Brihaspati, the Vedic god of wisdom and teachers – from study to perform the Wai Khru ceremony.
Father Peter accepts a floral gift from one of the blind students.
After spending many hours making decorative floral arrangements, a student from each class was selected as the one who would present the gift to a representative from the teaching staff. Each floral arrangements, or paan, can take many hours, or even days to create, and being blind or having a disability can make it more difficult. But the students know what they want, they know what designs they want to make, even the blind children, and no matter how difficult or long it takes to make their paan, it is all worth it when paying respect to their teachers.
A Redemptorist Vocational student presents a beautiful flower cone to Father Michael.
Prior to the presentation, the students, with hands pressed together, give several low bows while reciting the student oath.
Student Sasiwimol Raksaphram then read “Good Teacher in My Heart,” which she wrote. There also was a beautiful flower-tray contest and a song sung by students to their teachers.
The vocational students pay respect to Father Michael and Sister Pavinee.
At the vocational school it was Father Michael and Sister Pavinee who accepted the floral gifts from the students. While over in North Pattaya it was Father Peter, in his role as President of the Father Ray Foundation, who the blind children offered their floral arrangements.
While the teachers received gifts from the students, in return they presented awards to the blind and disabled students who have shown outstanding work in the classroom or on the sports field. Scholarships were also given to students at the vocational school whose families may be suffering from financial hardship, and which will make life easier until the student graduates and finds suitable employment.
More information can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected].
Two award winning floral arrangements.
The blind students pay respect to their teachers.
The students with disabilities repeat the students’ oath.
The paans can take many hours to produce.
The blind students proudly show of their awards.
Redemptorist students line up to show respect to their teachers.
Yanyong Pattaloha, founder of the Withoon-Nuanphen Pattaloha Fund, donated 14 scholarships, each worth 10,000 baht.