Each division of the school from K–12 has a structured and spiralled connection with their local service partner to ensure student empowerment in project design, implementation and reflective readjustment and ensuring that client needs are identified and met through the interaction.
As such, the Chinese New Year lunch is much more than a festive meal—it brings together students from across grade levels to organise and host the event, with sustainability at the forefront of their planning, and to ensure guests feel welcome and enjoy themselves. While the event is a special part of our Local Service programme, it involves students from all three parts of the Service programme—College, Local and Global—as well as student performers from Chinese and Music classes, and many teachers, support staff and parent volunteers.
For Primary School students, the Chinese New Year lunch gives them the opportunity to reconnect with some of the friends they have made through their local service, and they take responsibility for serving food and drinks to our guests on the day. Primary School grades have local service partners attached at each grade level, so that classes can rotate through all year and have consistent sessions for the partner organisation.
Middle School students were charged with food distribution systems, set up, clean up and resource use for the event. They liaised with local companies, the College Facilities team, the Parents’ Association, the Greenfingers College Service group and the Music and Chinese departments to ensure a smooth running system on the day. Student leaders from the Middle School Service Executive Committee applied principles of sustainability into the event planning to reduce the amount of waste generated. They also welcomed and reconnected with guests who they have built relationships with through their local service. It is always a delight for guests to see a fondly remembered student ‘all grown up’ wearing their green shirt.
High School students from Greenfingers helped make the event sustainable. They have planned and sourced a stock of materials that allow them to reduce plastic and single use items at large events by washing and reusing all cutlery and dinnerware. They also minimise food waste by composting effectively. Greenfingers have been working closely with Buddha Tzu Chi Foundation in Singapore, volunteering at their sustainably-run events in order to fully understand the systems involved. They were delighted to use their growing expertise at the luncheon.
The High School Global Concerns (GC) group Smiles of China, who support medical care for children at Starfish Centre in southeast China, planned cultural activities and dances to entertain the guests. It was great to see the GC, College and Local Service programmes intersect.
The Parents’ Association also contributed significant support including donations of red packets, mandarins and snacks. They helped with event preparations, arranged for a Chinese calligrapher and served the tea and coffee, which gave them an opportunity to interact with the guests and to see our students in action! A highlight was meeting some of the people their children interact with, as well as the music and dancing.
For students, the experience of being involved in such a significant event is very rewarding. Their efforts made sure the lunch went smoothly and that the guests enjoyed themselves. But more importantly it allowed them to apply what they are learning through their service to create a warm, welcoming and respectful celebration for guests from the local community.
Chair of Service and Head of Middle School Service Head of Middle School Be The Change