A joyous ceremony revealed the hard work and impressive personal growth of 40 former Form 4 students who have spent the past five months as dedicated volunteer employees of St Jude’s.
The celebration provided insight into the new Giving Back course, where students helped in many areas of the school, from the kitchen to boarding and teaching to business office roles.
“When we started this program, most of us just thought of the benefits of the certification. Now we thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. Some of us were working in areas which we had no idea about, but now we are almost specialists in those areas,” student participant Ezekiel Haji said.
Upper primary headmaster Peter Manjalla said the Giving Back program was proposed to Form 4 students as a “bridging” opportunity for their break between completing Form 4 and progressing to Form 5.
“We asked them three things: what would they like to do, how long are they are available and to write notes (about their experience),” Peter explained.
“This program helped the students to learn how to work. Not just as a student at St Jude’s, but as part of the team of workers at St Jude’s. They met many challenges, such as how to behave professionally and how to be a model to their young brothers and sisters.
“We are still looking at our mission of developing the future leaders of this country. If they can’t practice their leadership now, how can we be sure they can do it for their community? So we have to give them the opportunity.”
School founder Gemma Sisia expressed her pride and thanked students for their months of dedication to the school.
“You know, it’s very easy to learn maths and science and everything in the classrooms, but by volunteering, I think you’ll agree, you learn a lot of skills you don’t normally learn in the classroom,” Gemma said.
“I also want to thank you for being the pioneers (of the program). As you have been such wonderful pioneers, we will be doing the program again next year.”
Students who took up placements across the school shared their many positive experiences.
Olsen helped teach science in upper primary. “We had a good experience with the kids. I enjoyed teaching Standard 7 actually, they were very good. They wanted to learn more, so all of us gave what we had,” he explained. “There’s a very good feeling that comes from being a teacher.”
Two students, Simon and Irene, were stationed in the school Visitors Office and also had positive feedback.
“I worked with all different kinds of people, and after meeting some of these people I was really inspired with my career to be a university professor,” Irene said.
“We are so grateful to have had this chance, to experience the visitors team. We have increased our skills of having a sense of humour, of having confidence, and being able to handle lots of visitors and being responsible with time,” Simon said.
The new Form 5’s returned to school last week, and we look forward to seeing what more they will achieve.
To find out more about sponsoring one of our generous students click here.