The years when the ‘dreams came true’ at PakTurk…

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The years when the ‘dreams came true’ at PakTurk…

Muzammil Shahzad, who graduated from the PakTurk College in Lahore in 2012, wrote his school memoirs for the PakTurkFile. In the second part of his memoirs, he narrated his experiences in the 2006-2007 academic year, the educational activities, and the place of his mentors and teachers in his life.

Part Two:

Sixth grade is, in my opinion, the most crucial period in a student’s education. Thanks to refined teachers, this period builds a rock-solid learning foundation. The ‘movie or drama serial hours’ we had on the weekends had a different taste. The episodes we watched from the Samanyolu TV series Beşinci Boyut (The Fifth Dimension) impressed us a lot.

Not only our school teachers but also the mentors in our dormitory had a great share in our upbringing back then. They used to arrive from their universities tired and attend us despite their fatigue. In those days, everything had a different taste. At breakfast time, the mentors playing MP3 tunes on the computer would add a different taste to what we ate. The inspirational tunes sung by Group Yeniçağ still take me back to those days. Our mentors used to organize various activities for us on the weekends.

Brothers Hüseyin and Yusuf were our first mentors in the dormitory. Everyone was apprehensive of Brother Hüseyin; he had just graduated from high school when he came to Pakistan, but he had a five-year-old child the time he had to leave the country. I know Brother Hüseyin loves Pakistan the same as his own country. He devoted his youth to serving the people of our Land of the Pure. He was the best table-tennis playing mentor in the dorm. The table tennis matches between my Maths teacher Mr. Musa and Brother Hüseyin would thrill us no different than the excitement of the derby matches in football 😊 Back then, the mentors always spoke Turkish to us, no matter how much we did not understand them. Thanks to those conversations, we could understand Turkish a year later. While saying these, I still do not forget the efforts of my Turkish teacher Doğan Yücel at school and after school, and I express my gratitude to him.

A dormitory building from a villa was not enough anymore

The retreat during that winter vacation was the first book reading camp of my life. The program was jointly attended by the day students and the boarding students. We used to read in the morning with regular tea breaks. Besides activities such as reciting from the Qur’an, we used to participate in football and table tennis tournaments and compete in general knowledge quizzes. Each teacher was assigned to plan and steer one activity. The picnic we had at the Model Town Park on the last day of the camp was wonderful. May Allah bless those precious teachers who organized everything.

Seventh grade was even better. That year, in the 2006-2007 academic year, more friends came to stay in the dormitory. Many students on scholarship came not only from Lahore but also from main cities like Faisalabad and Okara. The number of scholarship students, which had been 25 a year before, then increased three or four times. Our dormitory building – repurposed from a villa – was no longer enough. Our teachers rented another villa right across the street and converted it into a dormitory. The owner of the second villa was a very famous Pakistani movie star.

New teachers came from Turkey that year. Teacher Ercan was one of them; he was a computer teacher. He was also one of the last teachers to leave Pakistan with his family. Teacher Taner and Teacher Engin also came in that year. Besides the newly arrived teachers, we also had a new principal: Mr. Adem. For sure, he was an immensely popular principal.

Tea and biscuits tasted different

We also had newly-arrived mentors Brothers Yalçın, Mehmet, Emrah and Yasin. They would attend to solve our every trouble; even if it was at night, they would get up and help us. They studied in universities and departments with challenging courses that required intense study. Notwithstanding, they helped us with our school subjects every time. University of the Punjab, the university where Brothers Hüseyin and Mehmet attended, was one of the most challenging higher educational institutions of the country. Our favourite day of the week was the convention day. After the last study period, we used to get together with our dorm mentors and chat accompanied with treats. That tea and those biscuits either had magic ingredients or the taste of the conversations there was unique.

That year, new friends like Umar, Abdul Basit and Adeel joined our class. We mostly hanged out with Adeel. He was younger than us because he started school very young, but he was very smart. Adeel is a professional cricketer now. Abdul Basit was a true scientist since then. He saw everything from a different angle.

Another feature of that year was the addition of a song hour to the general schedule of the dormitory. We used to learn the beautiful songs chosen for us by our mentors. For example, we memorized Vatanım Benim (My Homeland) that year. A year earlier, we had memorized the hymn Cürmüm İle Geldim Sana (I Beseech You with My Sins). They also founded football and table tennis clubs. These activities added a different atmosphere to our dormitory.

When will the construction start?

The most important feature of my PakTurk School was that it always kept the students active. Our Science Fair was epic. We held our Science Fair at the Jilani Park, one of the largest public parks in Lahore. We received a lot of attention during that two-day program. It just did not end with that science fair. We gained self-confidence through our active participations in the school functions held at the Alhamra Hall. Once, some guests arrived from Turkey and we sang them Barış Manço’s song Can Bedenden Çıkmayınca (Till Death Do Us Part). The most exciting part was that we later watched ourselves on the Samanyolu Haber Turkish news bulletin in the evening. Even sitting down and writing Turkish with this proficiency today requires self-confidence, and this is thanks to my esteemed teachers. In my eyes, each is unique in this world.

The biggest difference between that year and the previous was motto ‘The Dream Came True’. Our school was festooned with many banners carrying this motto. The banners had the pictures of the new PakTurk School project. Everyone was very excited. The school building on the banners was immensely impressive. Everyone at the school asked one another, “When will the construction start?”. The answers to these questions were given with the ground-breaking ceremony. My teacher Doğan Yücel already wrote the details of that ceremony in his own article. That ground-breaking ceremony has a special place in all of us, the students, because it was for our new school building and our beloved school would have larger premises. Each class would have two or three branches, not one anymore. More devoted teachers and mentors would come to Pakistan. All of these happened in due time!

To be continued…


Part One: The beginning of a new life: My first year at PakTurk

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