HARI School to hold Teacher Appreciation Program

Christopher Dornblaser

In Hindu tradition, there is an emphasis on appreciation for the guru, the teacher, from the shishya, the student.

On Sunday, the Hindu American Religious Institute (HARI) Temple, 301 Steigerwalt Hollow Road, New Cumberland, will host a program called "Guru Vandana" to honor teachers, and some teachers from York County are expected to attend.

HARI School students chant Sanskrit prayers.

The temple holds the HARI School, which is a Hindu cultural school that holds classes on Sundays September through June to teach Hindu children in grades one through eight about their culture.

The students at the school have invited teachers from their own elementary and middle schools throughout central Pennsylvania to come to the program.

Nearly 40 teachers have already RSVP'd for the day, according to Dinesh Pai, director of the school. Pai said teachers from Central York School District and Dallastown Area School District are expected to attend, along with teachers from neighboring counties.

Guru Vandana:  In Sanskrit, the liturgical language of Hinduism, "vandana" means "salutations," so "guru vandana" means "salutations to the teacher," or an expression of gratitude for the teacher. 

Students in the HARI School invited their grade-school teachers to come out to the temple so they can show their gratitude toward them.

"The kids are very excited," Pai said.

The program comes just one day before the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, but many other Hindu communities hold Guru Vandana throughout the month of May, according to Pai.

The day: The teachers and their families will arrive  between 10:15 and 10:30 Sunday morning and will be given a tour of the temple. At 11, the program will begin with opening remarks from a speaker emphasizing the importance of the teacher and student relationship. Pai said that in the Hindu tradition, the teacher is almost as important as the parent.

After that, there will be a ceremony, where the students will line up in front of their teachers and perform traditional Hindu rituals.

“We will top it off with a personalized memento for all the teachers,” Pai said.

The program will run until 12:30 p.m., and the teachers will then be treated to a lunch.

Pai said they are expecting around 200 people there, between the the teachers, their families, the students and the families of the students.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at