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    In the diverse, global community of International School Bangkok (ISB), parents often encounter new cultures and concepts when it comes to school involvement. One such concept is ISB’s Booster Club, which may be entirely new to parents accustomed to different educational systems but offers unique ways for parents to get involved in their child’s education. 

    Booster club origins, purposes, and functions may be unfamiliar to incoming Panther parents. This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about the ISB Booster Club, which is a pivotal part of enriching student life and contributing to the school's vibrant culture. 

    booster hut hero

    Cultural Origins of Booster Clubs

    The cultural origins of booster clubs can be traced back to the early 20th century in the United States, a time marked by the increasing prominence of extracurricular activities in American schools. As schools expanded their offerings beyond academics to include sports, music, drama, and other pursuits, the need for additional financial support became apparent. This era saw the rise of community involvement in schools, with parents, alumni, and local businesses rallying behind their schools' programs.

    Booster clubs emerged as a grassroots response to this need, initially forming around high school athletics. With limited funding available from school budgets, these clubs took on the responsibility of raising money to cover expenses such as uniforms, equipment, and travel costs for teams. Their efforts not only ensured that student-athletes had the resources they needed to compete but also fostered a sense of community pride and camaraderie among supporters.

    Today, booster clubs continue to play a vital role in supporting extracurricular programs in schools across the United States. Their cultural significance lies not only in their financial contributions but also in the sense of community they foster and the values of teamwork, dedication, and school spirit they promote.

    Understanding the Booster Club at ISB

    What is the mission of the Booster Club at ISB? “It’s kind of in the name; it’s to boost the presence and awareness of activities that students are involved in outside of the classroom. So Boosters, my description of it, is we are here to promote school pride and school spirit within the community,” says ISB Booster Club President Heather McCain.

    What sets ISB’s Booster Club apart from its counterparts in the US and its fellow international schools in Southeast Asia is that ISB spreads its support across all activities across all three divisions. While traditional booster clubs often have to fundraise for equipment and trips, ISB already provides for these student needs. As such, our Booster Club is able to spread its support much more widely. 

    “We’re very broad, which can become a bit unwieldy, but we have fabulous teams that target each of the areas. So [for example,] we have the Arts & Activities team, which supports not only our IASAS competitions but also our High School Music, Dance, and Theatre programs. We’ll be the parents who are helping to sell tickets [to the shows], and we’ll be the parents who are donating money for late-night food for the students if they have a late practice or rehearsal. Every year [when] ISB hosts Middle School Model United Nations (MUN) as a stepping stone to IASAS MUN, and so we just hosted that here recently, and our Arts & Activities team, we donated delegates bags that had notebooks, a pen, a Panther Pop, and stickers,” says Heather.

    Another example of the widespread support ISB’s Booster Club provides is the encouragement and support it offers to Athletics in grades 4 through 12. From organizing Team Parents to engage families in supporting the teams to sponsoring celebrations and Banquets for the athletes and their families at the end of each season, the ISB Booster Club Athletics team is made up of parents of students from each division. These parents organize the IASAS (Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools) bags for our traveling athletes, personalized towels for our Varsity athletes, and personalized shirts available to all our athletes. Beyond these physical supports, the Booster Club also provides significantly intangible benefits to our students and school community in the form of #ISBPanther Pride.

    ISB’s Booster Club Promotes Panther Pride

    The Booster Club at ISB plays a pivotal role in fostering school spirit and pride through a variety of engaging initiatives. From organizing events like Spirit Week and seasonal celebrations to providing support for athletes and coaches across all divisions, the club actively engages students, parents, and faculty in supporting the school community. By offering cheer gear, hosting celebrations, and providing Panther swag, such as customized shirts for robotics competitions or swag bags for the IASAS Cultural Convention, they create opportunities for everyone to come together and celebrate achievements.

    Moreover, the Booster Club emphasizes the importance of collective participation in nurturing a strong sense of school identity and camaraderie among ISB Panthers. Encouraging parental involvement in extracurricular activities and offering tangible support, the club reinforces the values of teamwork and community involvement.

    One of the noteworthy contributions of the Booster Club is the sponsorship and awarding of the Spirit of ISB award. This award, given during every JV/Varsity Athletic season and both semesters for high school Arts & Activities, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding spirit, courage, character, or service to others. The purpose of this award is to highlight exceptional adherence to our ISB Values as a Panther and to celebrate and recognize the best of the best in our community.

    Functioning of the Booster Club at ISB: Collaboration & Connection

    Our Booster Club is a key source of support and connection for students, parents, and faculty alike. It is led by our dedicated Head of School and a dynamic executive board, which includes a President and three Vice Presidents (responsible for Athletics, Arts and Activities, and Fundraising, respectively), a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Additionally, they have a robust governing board that functions to implement the mission of the ISB Booster Club.

    Notably, the Booster Club's calendar is closely aligned with that of the school’s Athletics and Arts & Activities calendars, as all these stakeholders collaborate regularly to support our students. Booster Club-run events like the Pancake Breakfast at the start of the school year and Panther Pops (mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies baked with a Mars bar inside on a popsicle stick) sales throughout the year add a little something extra sweet to our yearly calendar. 

    The Fundraising team, which works in tandem with the President, plays a crucial role in ensuring adequate financial support for the diverse programs and projects the club supports. Additionally, volunteers, while not all hold voting positions, contribute significantly to the club's operations, taking charge of specific roles such as banquet coordination, athletic team management, and recognition efforts.

    “If you pull back the curtain on how many things the school makes available for students and for us to have a piece of supporting all of them, it takes a big team to even provide those little touchpoints and interactions,” says ISB Booster Club President Heather McCain. 

    How ISB's Booster Club Gives Back to the Community

    Through the collaborative efforts of our Booster Hut, which sells ISB Panther Spirit gear, and various fundraising initiatives, the ISB Booster Club invests in a wide array of endeavors. Heather says, “At the end of the year, our goal is whatever we raise in any year is put back into the students somehow throughout the year. So if we raise more than we thought we would, or we are more efficient in our purchasing, or we are more cost-effective in how we do our activities, we will look for bigger opportunities to give back to the school. We are always looking for ways to put it back into the school in a way that benefits as many students as possible and in a way that meets our stated goal of promoting school pride and school spirit.”

    This year, the Boosters Club would like to support the school’s efforts to become more eco-friendly and eliminate many single-use plastics. A big part of that for Arts and Activities is the single-use plastic banners created for each school event to inform the community of upcoming events. So, the Boosters Hut has allocated 1 million baht of their surplus to Arts and Activities to build an LED screen in its place. This screen can then be used to keep the community informed about all manner of arts, activities, and school updates.

    The Impact of ISB’s Booster Club Goes Beyond Funding

    Beyond the material benefits of fundraising and support for school initiatives, the Booster Club's true impact lies in the immaterial contributions they make to the ISB community. The Booster Club plays a vital role in shaping the school's culture by fostering a sense of belonging, pride, and unity among students, parents, faculty, and staff.

    Through their efforts to promote school spirit, support extracurricular activities, and invest in the overall well-being of students, the Booster Clubs creates a positive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and supported. By working together towards common goals and shared values, the ISB community continues to thrive and grow, thanks in large part to the dedication and commitment of its Booster Club members.

    Booster Club's impact on the ISB community is profound and far-reaching. By getting involved and supporting the Booster Club's efforts, parents not only contribute to the success of their children's education but also play a vital role in shaping the vibrant ISB community.

    How to Get Involved with ISB Boosters

    To get involved with ISB Boosters and contribute to the vibrant community spirit, parents can take several proactive steps:

    1. Attend Booster Events: Look for Booster Club events and activities throughout the year. Whether it's a fundraising event, a spirit night, or a school-wide celebration, participating in these events not only supports the Booster Club but also strengthens the sense of community within ISB.
    2. Volunteer Your Time: Booster Clubs rely heavily on volunteers to organize and execute their initiatives. Parents can contribute their time and skills by volunteering to help with event planning, fundraising efforts, merchandise sales, or other activities that support the club's mission.
    3. Support Fundraising Initiatives: Parents can show their support by contributing financially to the Booster Club's efforts, whether purchasing spirit gear from the Booster Hut or participating in fundraising campaigns. Every contribution, no matter how small, enriches the ISB experience for all students.

    Interested in joining our vibrant community? 

    How to Apply

    Parent Community Student