Projects are a great way for children and teens to get creative and use their skills, knowledge and values in practical ways. Check out these cool school projects and initiatives undertaken by International School students in Singapore.
Canadian International School
A discussion about social injustice during an Economics class inspired Kaushal Tummala and Max Doornbos to start The Singapore Injustice Podcast that addressed social issues in Singapore. The sixepisode podcast received 200 subscribers on YouTube.
One topic that Grade 11 students at CIS researched was the low living standards in migrant dormitories, which initially included a lack of access to basic necessities during the Circuit Breaker.
“We learnt that a lot of them haven’t been outside for months on end and they were tightly packed inside the dormitories.”
Kaushal felt personally connected to the issue of migrant worker welfare. The student council vice-president, who is in his final diploma year, shares, “I’m also from South India where most of the workers are from, and they have the same financial background as my parents.”
After finishing the podcast earlier this year, Kaushal and Max reached out to charities supporting migrant workers and participated by helping to distribute necessities like shampoo to dormitories across Singapore.
This August, Kaushal also founded The Welfare Workers, a service club that connects student volunteers with Singapore charities. He hopes to rally fellow students to come together to support various social causes.
“Our ultimate goal for The Welfare Workers is to pass the spirit of giving back on to younger students and future cohorts of CIS,” he says. “Since we have the ability to help the underserved, we should do more to give back to the community. People who are more ‘able’ should be able to help out people that aren’t.”
Dulwich College (Singapore)
Two Year 10 students at Dulwich, Olivia and Keira, are running a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) called Vocabulous! for other Senior School students to volunteer and participate in.
The CCA was a response to findings from research that they undertook: they discovered that children from low income families were approximately four years behind their peers academically by the end of second grade, and this gap continued throughout their time in school unless there was an intervention.
With the understanding that poor academic results lead to lower income jobs, Olivia and Keira applied for the Dulwich College International Pioneering Spirit Grant for Vocabulous! Each Dulwich Senior School student is linked to a P2 child from a local school who they’ll tutor on vocabulary via Zoom on a weekly basis for eight weeks.
“We chose to focus on vocabulary because it’s the basis for communication and learning,” they say. “Without this foundation, it’s difficult for anyone to develop comprehensive understanding and knowledge, thus limiting their potential”.
Keira and Olivia deliver training on how to tutor the children, technical skills and safeguarding. “We were extremely happy when our project was chosen to receive funding, and we hope that we’ll be able to make a difference in improving the children’s vocabulary and instil in them a love for learning.”
GESS – International School
At the International Science Drama Competition this year, which received entries from schools around the world, GESS students’ entry clinched second place – a recognition that was decided by public votes. Titled We Can Do Better, it was a statement by the students after studying the effects of unsustainable agricultural practices on the environment.
The theatre piece incorporated elements of shadow theatre with music and voiceovers to tell the story of why urgent attention should be paid to cultivating sustainable agriculture. Comparisons were drawn between the planet in its original glory and the demise it’s headed for by 2050 if humans don’t take matters relating to agricultural practices seriously. References were also made to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2050. Through this, the students have conveyed a clear message about how we can all work towards a sustainable future.
Nexus International School (Singapore)
For this year’s UN Sustainable Development Goals, learners and staff at Nexus dedicated the week of 13 to 19 September to acknowledge and highlight the goals they’d like to accomplish in a school-wide journey to building a better and more sustainable world. It started with the 100k Deeds Challenge that was led by Sai of Year 12, which was taken to the classrooms where learners presented their personal targets and solutions for their chosen Sustainable Development Goals.
For one of the Sustainable Development goals of Responsible Consumption and Production, the school’s IB learners collaborated with Soles4Souls, a non-profit organisation, to run a month-long donation drive on campus to collect unwanted shoes and clothing. The collection is kept from going to waste and put to good use, including for disaster relief or supporting homeless children.
IB learners at Nexus also stepped forward to propose a Cycling to School campaign in their environment systems and societies class; Years 10 to 13 are encouraged to take up cycling (in manageable distances) rather than taking car transportation to school. Through this campaign, they hope to see a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint.
Overseas Family School
While most student athletes might have enjoyed a break from competitive training during their school holidays earlier this year, two inspired swimmers from OFS Tigers, Overseas Family School’s competitive swimming team, decided to put their downtime to good use.
Jill Meines (Grade 8) and Naya Verma (Grade 7) participated in a fundraising initiative at the Swiss Club to benefit Tour de Cure, an organisation that raises vital funds to support talented researchers, surgeons and clinicians around the world dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. Participants were tasked with swimming 5km in two hours, an easy workout for OFS Tigers who regularly clock more time and distance during rigorous training sessions in the OFS Olympic standard pool. For Naya, cancer research is a cause especially close to her heart as she lost a grandfather to cancer many years ago.
Jill and Naya’s fundraising efforts raised over $1,600 for cancer research, a small but significant contribution to Tour de Cure’s efforts to fund groundbreaking projects that will have a big impact on cancer prevention and treatment.
International Community School (Singapore)
Project Orasight is a student-led initiative founded in 2020 by four ICS High School students. Its focus is two-fold: it seeks to educate the local Singaporean community on healthy habits for proper eye care, and also help raise funds and awareness for the non-profit organisation Orbis International (OI) in support of its fight against avoidable blindness around the world.
The project has 142 youth volunteers across Singapore arranged into five committees, all managed by the student founders. They organise events such as last August’s virtually held Race4Sight, where participants ran either 100km or cycled 500km over a 40-day period to raise funds for OI in anticipation of World Sight Day. From supervising all the members and hosting meetings to discuss and plan prospective events, to collaborating with third-party vendors and managing their relationship with their beneficiary, the four high schoolers have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with.
One of the founders, Jemima Siu, even received the Global Citizenship Award by EARCOS this year for being “strongly committed to engagement and action to make the world a better place”. Along with the award plaque, she was given an EARCOS Community Service Grant, which she promptly gave back to the community, by providing free eye check-ups and eye care products for the underprivileged in Singapore.
North London Collegiate School (Singapore)
Six Senior School students of NLCS (Singapore) are running the Amnesty International (AI) group in the school. AI has a vast network of over 10 million people who campaign for upholding human rights globally. Through AI, the school’s students understand the importance of active citizenship, giving a voice to the voiceless and creating an impact through meaningful action.
Supervised by the Head of Libraries & Grade 11 Tutor, Jonathan Guy, students meet every Friday to discuss specific cases needing urgent support and attention. The students craft letters to government officials asking for the rights of the affected individuals to be protected. Students further champion 12 publicised cases worldwide as part of Write for Rights, which is Al’s most influential human rights campaign.
The students believe that every individual can make a difference and affect change, and they appeal to those in positions of authority to uphold human rights. Through advocacy, information sessions and appeals, the students learn that their voices and their beliefs are the same voices and beliefs held by millions of people worldwide. The students make their actions count and strive for justice through their organised efforts, helping the world become a better place for all.
St. Joseph’s Institution International
SJI International debaters have been leading the way since 2017 with the Lasallian Debate League. The annual student-led charity debate competition is organised by the SJII Debating Society and aims to raise awareness of and funds for humanitarian causes.
This year, the debaters chose to shine a spotlight on mental health, with event proceeds going towards the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH). SAMH is a charity organisation that aims to reintegrate individuals with mental health issues back into society through communitybased mental health services that provide rehabilitative care and support for their families.
Like last year, the COVID-19 situation in Singapore meant that debaters couldn’t physically participate in competitions. The fourth edition of the Lasallian Debate League had to be held virtually, which came with its technological challenges, including a global Zoom maintenance happening concurrently with the tournament!
Despite the obstacles, the team comprising IB students Natanya, Sher Mae, Riya and Megan, together with guidance from Mr Nicholson, successfully hosted the tournament on 28 and 29 August. The event saw around 300 participants from secondary schools and junior colleges across Asia debate motions that touched upon pertinent issues ranging from climate change to organ donation. As of writing, almost $3,000 has been raised through this initiative.
Stamford American International School
R U OK is a mental wellbeing campaign at SAIS that provides support for its middle and high school students as they start questioning and understanding their place and value in society. The campaign encourages students to reach out to someone by asking “R U OK?”, listening, encouraging action and checking in. Previously held over a single day, it was held from 6 to 10 September this year.
Some key student leadership groups were involved as the core planning team. They produced advisory activities that engaged SAIS students and also increased their awareness of mental health. These included inspiration walls, creating podcasts, class movies, conversation corners and role-plays. The activities allowed for students’ choice and were driven by the students themselves. It provided an opportunity to deepen conversations, strengthen trust and increase wellbeing for every student.
Chaeyeon Lee of Grade 8 explains her experience as part of the planning team: “R U OK allowed students to reach out to fellow students they didn’t know well. It’s a great opportunity for them to talk to someone they didn’t know before and understand their feelings by asking if they are okay. The experience of planning the campaign as well as participating in it helped me to become more mindful and respectful of other students. I really enjoyed it a lot.”
Tanglin Trust School
Lost in Hack-lation is a student-led event where 70 students from Years 7 to 12 were invited to come up with innovative ideas to overcome modern communication issues by using technology. Although it pivoted to an online event due to COVID-19 restrictions, the students were undaunted and coded creative solutions to answer questions such as “How would you improve global interactions?” Industry experts such as Niall Hogan, Managing Director at Ogury, and Geoff Leeming, Founder & Consultant at Pragma Singapore, were also invited to share case studies and ideas.
Andy Subramanian, Year 13 student and co-organiser of the hackathon said, “It was enriching and gave me a different perspective about the world at large, particularly how we have become a truly borderless world over the past 1.5 years. Even though we are travelling less due to border closures, our bonds with family and friends living in other countries are now closer due to technology. I enjoyed the part where we got to interact with tech experts in the real world!”
Tanglin’s Director of Technology, Keith Rutherford, adds, “We saw dozens of different creative ideas that were judged on programming, presentation and the creativeness of their solution. Interacting with the students also gave me fresh perspectives – I thoroughly enjoyed the event!”
XCL World Academy
Every year, the International Baccalaureate Organisation offers an MYP Student Innovator’s Grant to Grade 9 and 10 students, thus providing a unique opportunity for students to build the skills they need to become socially conscious leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs the world needs today. XCL World Academy (XWA) students Devika (Grade 11), Edwin (Grade 10) and Neil (Grade 11) have been awarded the MYP Student Innovators Grant for 2021. This is one of only 27 grants given among thousands of applicants worldwide.
Devika submitted a powerful proposal for tackling food waste in Singapore. She expanded the research, planning and interventions she designed for her MYP Personal Project campaign to reduce the food waste at XWA’s cafeteria. She enjoyed working on this project and wanted to find ways to expand it to impact the wider community.
Neil and Edwin worked together on Innovation Circuit, their project that designs bespoke support for schools’ STEAM events. In collaboration with the participating school, the duo would consult and plan the event, down to providing the necessary promotional materials and educational workshops. Part of their setup includes a “hardware lab” with resources such as Arduino and Lego Mindstorm kits that could be loaned to schools for their events.
The pair plan to start collaborating with schools in Singapore and have ambitious goals to expand their reach across the region.
Australian International School
The Microsoft Asia Headquarters invited AIS to participate in its Minecraft competition in March 2020, as part of the launch of a new workspace at Frasers Tower. The task was to create a floor design for the space using Minecraft: Education Edition.
A group of Year 5 students from the school’s coding and design CCA jumped to the challenge and joined the competition. Over the past year, the CCA has been exploring and teaching the learning platform, and it was a great opportunity for the students to put their skills to practice and get some hands-on experience.
With the competition held during the Circuit Breaker period, it was initially difficult to organise, as the students were working together as a large group of 10. They were eventually split into two teams. The school is proud of the students for working hard through the last weeks of Semester 1 to complete the project. Of the schools that participated, AIS was the only school to see the project through to completion. The final presentation was held at the school’s Coral Dixon Theatre, where the students presented their floor plans to the Microsoft team. The design was selected to be 3D printed and displayed in the Microsoft office.
This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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