Deena M. Mistri
Early life and family
Mrs. Mistri was a member of the Zoroastrian Community. Born in Hyderabad Sind on 21 May 1925 to Dhunmai & Seth Pestonjee Jamshedji Soparivala.
Mrs. Mistri finished her Bachelors of Arts from the Bombay University in 1945. It is after completing her B.A. that she started visiting the B.V.S. and helping students with elocution competitions and started tutoring English to those that needed extra help. She was only 20 years young when she decided to go into teaching.
She started teaching English to the secondary classes at the B.V.S. in 1951. She was the first lady teacher to teach the secondary classes during those days. She completed her B.Ed. with Honors in 1958 from the University of Karachi.
While she was teaching at the B.V.S. she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from the US in 1961, where she completed her Diploma in Education. In America she taught at the University of Athens - Ohio and at the University of Austin - Texas as a visiting professor.
She and her colleagues were invited to the White House Rose Garden, where President John F. Kennedy gave a short welcome speech and greeted them.
She was given Honorary Citizenship to Texas from Governor Price Daniel in 1962 for teaching at a local high school in Austin and as a visiting Professor at UT Austin.
On her way back from the States she was invited by the British Council to observe the British teaching system in London.
Mrs. Deena M. Mistri served the Bai Virbaijee Soparivala Parsi High School for 55 years. The same school that was founded by her great grand father Seth Shapurji Hormusji Soparivala - in 1859.
After 21 years of service, she became the Principal of the B.V.S. in 1972.
Her time was the golden period for the school, which churned out future leaders in their fields like medicine, engineering, business and politics. Situated on prime property in the middle of Saddar, Mrs. Mistri turned down many an offer to move the school away to areas like Clifton and Defence. She also stayed away from overly commercializing B.V.S., keeping the school morning shift only and retaining only the matriculation system instead of having dual standards of matriculation and Cambridge. She simply used to respond to demands of parents to the need of Cambridge system by saying “I can’t have class difference within one boundary wall”.
B.V.S. Parsi High School is still one of the most sought after schools in Karachi after the reputation and legacy she left behind. The Government of Education - Sind, rated B.V.S. "The Best Private Boys School for the Millennium" in Sindh, Pakistan.
During her tenure as a Principal B.V.S. secured 100% results in the Science and General Groups. With almost 99% of students securing A grade.
Mrs. Mistri was awarded the "Pride of Performance" by the President of Pakistan - General Pervez Musharraf on 23rd Mach 2002 for the contribution she has rendered towards providing quality education in Pakistan.
Mrs. Mistri took partial retirement after working full-time at the B.V.S. till 2004. She was employed at two schools from 2004-2011.
At the time of her death, Mistri was Chairperson of Westminster School and College, Karachi. She worked till the week before her death.
In 1991, Mrs. Mistri successfully fought her battle with breast cancer. She was treated with radiation therapy at George Washington University Hospital that kept her (3rd stage) cancer in remission for over 20 years.
She was awarded the "Pride of Performance" by the President of Pakistan - General Pervez Musharraf on 23 March 2002 for the invaluable contribution she has rendered towards providing quality education in Pakistan for over 60 years.
Mistri died on 27 January 2011 as a result a brain infarction. Her funeral was held on the 29th of January in Karachi, with over 2000 attending her funeral to pay their last respects.