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Dear Rev. Alan Froggatt,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

I hope that I am not too late in sending you this message for the United Church of Chester. as you celebrate Katie Wilcox Day in church.

The theme for this Sunday as per the Church of South India almanac is 'Mission with Christ's Spirit'.  I was invited to deliver the sermon for both the morning and evening services at our Church and as I prepared the message, thoughts of Ms. Katie Wilcox who came here on a mission with Christ's spirit was foremost in my mind.

In its 74th year of existence, Lady Doak College remains consistently among the top 100 liberal Arts & Science autonomous colleges in India.  The college has grown in numbers with 4827 students and 500 permanent teaching and non-teaching staff permanently on its rolls.  

First generation learners and students from low socio-economic backgrounds are still nurtured in Lady Doak College despite the intense demand for admission from all over the state and the country.  We believe that we are carrying on the vision of Katie Wilcox in providing scholarships to such students who dream big and are willing to work hard to get where they want to go.

One such ''big' success story that we celebrated this year was that of our old student, Revathi V., who qualified to run for India in the Tokyo Olympics held in July 2021.  This amazing rags-to-riches story is of an orphan girl, Revathi V., who would have missed the opportunity of a better life, but for the sports coach who observed Revathi running barefoot in a school meet.  Impressed by her talent, this coach took it on himself to convince the girl's grandmother, who herself was a widow and daily-wage earner, to permit her granddaughter to continue her education at Lady Doak College, where he knew that full scholarship support would be given in Christian spirit, for Revathi to continue her education which she could ill-afford otherwise.  When Revathi's grandmother was brought to Lady Doak College for the very first time, she had felt overawed by the educational ambience on campus.  She felt that Revathi and her younger sister would be safest staying close to her or with her.  A collegiate education was beyond their dreams and their hope.  

However, the coach persisted in making his appeal to her grandmother and succeeded in getting her consent to study in Lady Doak College which he assured would be the perfect environment for her granddaughter to blossom in.  The recommendation for admission was processed, Revathi was given full scholarship and support for a long-standing medical problem while the coach continued to focus on her sports fitness and preparedness.  Flexibility in the curricular structure made it possible for Revathi to take her tests and exams whenever possible.  Committed teachers who owned Revathi as their own, ensured that she came through with respectable grades.  When Revathi had some serious health issues, Lady Doak College also took her to the best neuro doctors in town and paid her medical bills. 

While Revathi flourished in the sports arena as an athlete breaking three national records, she has also earned her BA degree in Tamil literature.  Revathi went on to represent the country in the Tokyo Olympics in the mixed relay event.  She did not win a medal but she became a household name in India as newspapers and television channels carried the story of her battle against odds, the coach who identified her talent and the college that came forward to provide the requisite support. Lady Doak College, the first women's college in Madurai, has also become the first women's college in the state to produce an Olympian.  Revathi is now in a good Central Government job, with a handsome monthly salary and enjoys all the perks of a successful sportsperson. 

This is the mission of Christ's spirit at work through the vision and life of Ms. Katie Wilcox and the legacy that she has left behind.    We are glad that we are blessed to be a blessing.  

Lady Doak College remains a monument - a pulsating and vibrant one - to the selfless, committed missionary service of our founder.  We join the United Church of Chester in celebrating the life of Katie Wilcox.  Once again, I invite members of the United Church of Chester to visit us.  We would be happy to host you - especially as we plan to celebrate our 75th year of existence with special events next academic year, 2022-23 and our 75th birthday on 14th July 2023.  Do mark this date on your church calendar and pray with us and for us.  Our prayers are with you too.

God bless!

Yours sincerely,

Chris

 

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