Care for the School, Care for the Environment
On the service front, the Primary 1 and 2 pupils continued the canteen-adoption programme which was started in 2006. These young Josephians took pride in keeping the canteen litter free after each recess and cultivated good habits of care and concern for the school environment.
Community Involvement Programme
The Primary 3 to 6 Junior Josephians put in at least an hour each school term in a big clean-up of their classrooms which we hope could instil a greater sense of belonging and bonding within the school community. Besides the quarterly spring-cleaning events, the boys and teachers were invited by a group of SMU students in the first quarter of the school year to donate their storybooks to the children of Janata Primary School in Nepal. The Primary 6 boys also embarked on some meaningful post-PSLE Community Involvement Programme (CIP) for the very first time for 3 days in October, cleaning the Novena Church and the 1-room flats of the lonely elderly residing at Toa Payoh South.
The CCA groups had a variety of community service both within and outside school. The Chinese Cultural Club members shared Chinese New Year festive joys presenting bags full of daily necessities after an afternoon of songs and interactive games with the elderly under the care of Xin Yuan. The Photography Club members, Scouts and the Chess Club members assisted in Xin Yuan’s Flag Day and fundraising activities within our school. The Innokids and Prefects prepared bags of fruits and vegetables in August and November to spread the message of healthy-living to the elderly and needy families in Toa Payoh. The Modern Dance group visited and helped in the cleaning of Rama Krishnan Mission Home. The Hockey players went on a litter-picking session at MacRitchie – the school’s adopted reservoir for a period of two years. The Band and AVA members polished musical instruments and cleaned up the AVA equipment during the holidays. The Soccer players and swimmers from the Swimming CCA put in a few minutes after each training session picking up litter within the school compound and at the Jalan Besar Swimming Complex respectively. The InfoComm Club members put their creativity and IT skills to work designing ‘Season’s Greetings & Thank You’ cards for Xin Yuan Community Care, while the Robotics Club, Athletic members and Powerkids ‘flexed their arm-muscles’ in the preparation of Christmas decoration for the Christmas Appreciation lunch for Xin Yuan’s beneficiaries and donors to be held in December.Teachers were not left behind when it comes to community effort. The Mother Tongue teachers raised funds for the purchase of groceries while the Primary 6 teachers did the ‘marketing’ and donated generously when the funds raised was not sufficient to provide for 60 needy families. The Primary 4 teachers started a production line packing 60 bountiful bags of items during one long afternoon and our ‘Santa Clauses’ were none other than our Primary 1 and 2 teachers who delivered the goodies bags door-to-door to two blocks of one-room flat residents in May. The Primary 3 and 5 teachers donated and hand-delivered 40 generous packs of fruits and vegetables to share our National Day joys with the elderly in August.
In 2009, the school continued its efforts to help the boys understand the school values of Empathy and Fraternity through donations to various organisations as well as the organisation of ‘Hair for Hope with a Twist’, a modified version of the Children Cancer Foundation’s (CCF) ‘Hair for Hope’ which aimed for members of the public to show their support to children with cancer by shaving their heads. The modification was the result of the H1N1 epidemic that struck the nation that year. Through the sale of tulips, tulip pots and outright donations, the school raised a total of $19,000. As a result of its efforts in character formation, the school received the MOE Character Development Award.
In 2010, together with the PTA, the school organised a ‘Friends’ Forever’ fund-raising carnival held on 3 July. One of the highlights of the carnival was CCF’s ‘Hair for Hope’ event which saw 61 shavees volunteering to have their heads shaved. Among them were the then vice-principal, Mr David Ching, Mr Jason Dendroff, then President of the PTA, teachers, parents and students. The event even received press coverage in the Chinese national papers the following day. A week prior to the ‘Hair for Hope’ event, letters to parents were sent out by the school to create awareness of Childhood Cancer, and also to seek the kind support of parents and students by pledging monetary support generously to all the brave SJI Junior Volunteer Shavees coming forward to have their heads shaved for a good cause. Collection of monetary pledges was carried out by form teachers from 29 June to 16 July 2010 in the school. Daily ten-minute sharing aimed at raising awareness about Childhood Cancer were also conducted before the school flag-raising ceremonies to enable the students to better understand childhood cancer and how they could do their part to help those less fortunate than them. The total amount raised by SJI Junior that year was $40,000. All monetary pledges were donated to CCF to help children with cancer and their families.
Men of Others
In 2011, to enhance the boys’ ability to be of service to others, the school embarked on a pupil leadership programme which provided the boys opportunities to acquire leadership skills and apply them. Functional Leadership positions, where boys took on operational roles in the classroom, were complemented with the relevant training. At the same time, boys who displayed leadership potential in their CCAs were accorded roles too. By increasing the number of leadership positions available in the school, many more boys were given the opportunity to take charge. Their capacity was further enhanced through quarterly Focus Group Discussions and Leadership Camps for P2 and P4 boys.
The Prefects too, sharpened their saw through Focus Group Discussions and went through regular training sessions. A high point for them must surely be their visit to SAFTI where they had a first-hand experience of servant leadership. Their training was put to the test when they completely took charge of the Teachers’ Day celebrations and discharged themselves admirably.
To develop the students to be “Men for Others”, the school raised their awareness about the plight of the less fortunate. The awareness bore fruit as evidenced by the abundance of donations in cash to the Catholic Welfare Services and the various flag days, or in kind for instance, through the donations of new stationery to orphanages and Children’s Home. The school managed to incorporate a CIP visit for our Choir boys to a Children’s Home in Taiwan and in a donation drive among the P1 and P2 boys, their contributions amounted to 38 boxes worth of stationery to three orphanages in Singapore – such was the generosity of our parents and students!
Having a heart for the elderly was also cultivated through the school’s Hydroponics Programme where the P4 boys grew and harvested vegetables that were suitable to the elderly palate and later made house visits to deliver the vegetables to the residents in the Toa Payoh district. The boys also played host to the elderly from AWWA who joined the school community in the National Day celebrations and relived their youth through the traditional games and food items that the school arranged as part of its National Day celebration.
In 2012, the school reached out to its new neighbours in the Geylang Bahru vicinity. The Robotics Club set up a display booth at the Moulmein-Kallang GRC and Whampoa SMC Sports Carnival 2012 held at Kallang Community Club on 15 July, which was well-received by 2000 residents who turned up for the event. The Champions of the Primary 2 and Primary 3 Interclass Chinese Story Telling Competitions were also roped in to entertain and impress the Kolam Ayer community during the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration when they told their winning stories on stage.
In 2013, the school focused on extending care to the environment. The lower primary boys focused more on care for their immediate environment through keeping their classrooms clean. The Primary 4 boys progressed to learning to care for the Elderly through the monthly “Healthy Hydroponic Spinach for the Elderly” Project in which a Primary 4 class would be scheduled to cultivate hydroponic spinach, after which, the pupils would harvest and pack the spinach for delivery to the elderly beneficiaries of Xin Yuan Community Care, a welfare organisation in Toa Payoh, which is one of the community partners of the school. The Primary 5 boys were entrusted with the responsibility of playing big brothers as they each partnered a Primary 1 boy and be their “Recess Buddy” for the first two weeks of the new academic year, showing them how to buy food in the canteen during recess time. Staff of SJI Junior, the main drivers of the CIP in the school, also participated in CIP through community service in non-profit organisations at the end of the work year.
Values in Action
2014 saw a rebranding of CIP. In its place was Values in Action (VIA) which are learning experiences that support pupils’ development as socially responsible citizens who contribute meaningfully to the community, through the learning and application of values, knowledge and skills. VIA fosters student ownership over how they contribute to the community. As part of VIA, pupils reflect on their experience, the values they have put into practice, and how they can continue to contribute meaningfully.