The Tiruttani Panchayat Union School's claim to fame is that several decades ago former President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan studied there for seven years. This singular fact has had a deep impact on the fortunes of what was once an Aalamaram Palli (school under the Banyan tree).

Rotary District 3230 has taken up the school, which was in a shambles when they found it, and renovated the entire building at a cost of over Rs.90 lakh.

Undertaken as part of the Rotary District 3230 Centenary Charitable Trust's ‘Schools into Smiles' project, the school now has 14 pucca classrooms to house the 350-odd students who study there.

“The school, which will be inaugurated on September 5, the birth anniversary of Radhakrishnan observed as Teachers' Day in the country, is a product of some fine collaboration between the government and the Rotary Club,” says Benjamin Cherian, past district governor, who initiated the project. The funds from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme were bolstered by Rs.30 lakh from the State government's Namakku Namme scheme, and a further Rs.60 lakh contributed by Rotary members.

A library, new benches and tables, computers and a set of 26 DVDs that attempt to explain scientific concepts in Tamil and a reverse osmosis plant are among the facilities that this spanking new school will have.

Three classrooms have been funded by the Round Table and one by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting S. Jagathratchagan.

It will also be renamed Dr. Radhakrishnan Middle School, in honour of the former President.

About 20 of his family members will be present during the function when the school will be re-dedicated to the nation this Sunday, Mr. Cherian added.

A small exhibition chronicling the life of the former President will also be on display at the venue on the occasion.

The Schools into Smiles project had covered about 100 schools until 2005, restructuring and rebuilding wherever necessary.

These schools were chosen as they did not have a proper building, no compound walls, no toilets or desks and chairs.

Since 2005, another 30 schools were chosen. A combination of funding from Rotary Clubs, contributions from Non Resident Indians (through FCRA), philanthropists, funds from the MLA/MP Area Development schemes, fuel this campaign on, Mr. Cherian said.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National