SIS Semarang: On Developing a Deeper Sense of Community and Charity in Students (An Interview with SIS Semarang Head Teacher Lenard Murray)
SIS Semarang, like its other sister SIS schools, believes in raising not only intelligent and competent children but also loving, caring, and responsible adults with a genuine sense of community and charity. For this reason the school and its student body organize activities throughout the year, mainly focusing on charity and community building works.
“Community service is a student-led activity, with the guidance of the teachers. With most of the activities held within the school, students themselves raise the money and build up the fund,” SIS Semarang Head Teacher Lenard Murray shared.
“During ‘Fantastic Fridays,’ students come in costumes depending on the theme, we also have ‘Hat Day,’ ‘Crazy Hair Day,’ ‘Be a Teacher Day,’ and a whole lot more,” Teacher Lenard said. Students who wish to participate must pay IDR10,000 towards the Student Relations Committee (SRC) fund and charity fund that accumulates throughout the year.
“Last March 3 we had our annual business fair. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, each grade level created a business plan where students experienced profit and loss; created price points, markups, and marketing materials for advertising or promotions; and sales.”
SIS Semarang invites other vendors and schools to join or find partners for future bazaars and fairs, where the students and school split the income. About 40 percent of the profit plus the IDR100,000 paid for rent of each booth go to the charity fund. The other 60 percent helps build the SRC that helps pay for other student-related activities. Soon they will be building an environmental fund to educate the local community on the importance of looking after the world for future generations.
Teacher Lenard explained, “since the school opened in 2010, each year for the last seven years, SIS Semarang has held a medical mission, inviting members of the community who are less fortunate for medical and dental check-ups. We provide doctors and dentists, and children, adults, and the elderly come for free medical treatment and advice.” The school is able to help an average of 100 people annually.
These activities help promote the five fundamental SIS values: integrity, respect, innovation, perseverance, and collaboration.
The SIS Semarang Head Teacher pointed out that “the kids will need skills they can then use to open up the doors of opportunity themselves and not merely wait around until someone possibly opens one for them. We need our graduates to be well educated academically, but we need their inner spirit to shine so that they will be the movers and the shakers of this world.”