High School Service Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Service Learning has long been an important part of the education we provide at International School Bangkok (ISB). Developing adaptable and caring global citizens is fundamental to ensuring students' success as leaders in both today’s and tomorrow’s world.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our usual service-learning activities format shifted its focus local with a variety of fundraisers, service projects, and partnerships with local charities in Thailand. While changing regulations placed certain limitations on how our students could serve, that didn't stop them from doing what they could to support those in need during this pandemic.
ISB students are the initiators and active participants of exceptional projects that serve to improve the lives of others. They have demonstrated their adaptability, care, and creativity in a wide variety of projects they’ve created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its limitations.
Culture of Care
As part of the graduation requirement from ISB, students are required to take part in community service. But the culture of service-learning at ISB goes beyond requirements - it’s a value and a passion for our students. To see what service-learning means to our High School (HS) students, watch our video:
Students completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme complete a Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) Project. An excellent example of one such CAS project is a series of Virtual Gaming Tournaments run by Matthew & Pawin (Mark) to support iCare Thailand, a local charity committed to long-lasting and meaningful community development through projects that empower youth and help the underprivileged. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they provide essential food and supplies to those in need. Matthew & Pawin (Mark) ran tournaments at first only for High School age groups but later adapted and expanded their tournaments to include younger-age appropriate video games so Elementary and Middle School ISB students could participate.
“During the first week of the tournament, we had acquired 11 teams who participated in the tournament, contributing over 4,700 Baht to the iCare charity foundation. We wanted the players to not only have fun but also to raise awareness about the people who are struggling in this difficult time. Throughout this experience, we have learned many things, including the core aspects of hosting an online tournament and learning to adjust from our previous mistakes. We've had a lot of fun during those few weeks, but there were times that we struggled, but we learned to persevere and commit to what we have already started,” said Matthew & Pawin (Mark). They raised over 16,000 Baht in total for the iCare Foundation, and other students are now using their project model for their fundraising efforts.
Another CAS project, the Bumblebee Mask project, was initiated by Jihoon to raise funds for the Bumblebee Free Library, a local library near ISB. Jihoon said, “We held a mask competition to select the printed design on the mask, then sold 100 masks for 149 baht. As I applied ISB values of care and responsibility throughout this project, I learned how we should care and have a commitment to the well-being of our community.” Jihoon raised 10,000 baht in total for the library through his creative mask project.
Service-learning projects are also completed through our student clubs. R4K is a student-led club with the goal of providing access to robotics and programming knowledge for all children. They started with donating robotic materials but expanded into partnering with local schools across Thailand to teach others about robotics. "Donating is one thing, but the experience is what really opens your eyes," said Ken and Tan Tan, Co-Founders of the R4K Club. They now partner up with local Thai schools, helping teachers become R4K school advisors, teaching a few students to become student coaches, and providing the necessary teaching materials. Funds for these learning materials are gathered through various fundraisers and events. This year they have already raised 72,399 Baht!
Other High School student initiatives have included a Virtual Chess Tournament to support the Issarachon Foundation, an ISB Virtual Talent Show, which raised 15,000 Baht for iCare, and a UNHCR Club Afghani Ingredient Delivery fundraiser to support Afghan Refugees. These are just a sampling of the many clubs, initiatives, and activities that our students initiate and participate in. We are proud of the creativity, care, courage, responsibility, and commitment our High School students have shown during the pandemic.
Enriching Local Communities
Whether globally or locally, ISB is value-driven through and through. We are passionate about enriching the lives of our local communities - as are our students. Our High School students have demonstrated significant care, adaptability, and creativity as they have sought solutions to the problems facing our local communities in Thailand.
ISB is committed to supporting our students and developing globally-minded, creative, and value-driven students who can find meaningful solutions to the problems the world faces. It is this commitment and care that continues to make ISB one of the top international schools in Thailand.