August 24, 2017
St. Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia (Tropicana PJ Campus) also known as SJIIM, is different from other internatonal schools due to its Lasallian education ethos and roots. It recently showed its point of difference again when 18 of its new SJIIM IBDP Scholarship Programme scholars participated in the 2 nd SJIIM Scholars’ Lasallian Leadership Training Camp in Manila, Philippines.
A time honored Lasallian tradition that is also observed in its brother school, SJI International Singapore, the programme prepares the school’s scholars as Senior Lasallian Student Leaders to serve the school’s community and the needy public on their return from the camp. This time, the scholars consisting of 2 Vietnamese scholars, 1 Filipino scholar and 15 Malaysian scholars embarked on the 12-day camp which focuses on Lasallian Formation, Leadership Training and Service Work. There, scholars learned about the Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle and the founding history of the Institute of the Christian Brothers and offered services and support to the less fortunate in the Philippines. Brother Thomas Lavin who is the Brother President of SJIIM, reiterated the importance of this Lasallian Leadership Camp, “This leadership training programme is an integral part of the SJIIM Scholarship Programme as it prepares our scholars and senior students for leadership roles and shows what being a Lasallian is all about. Our pioneer group of scholars last year had good reviews about the camp and we are confident that our scholars this year will also find it beneficial as well.”
Upon arrival in Manila, none of the scholars knew what to expect, having never been exposed before to the good works of the school’s founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. In fact, most of scholars have also never been to the Philippines before which made it even more exciting for them. The camp involved visiting numerous Lasallian schools, namely La Salle Green Hills, De La Salle University Dasmarinas, De La Salle Araneta University, De La Salle University and De La Salle Santiago Zobel Campus where by meeting students and faculty members from each school, the scholars had a better understanding of their Lasallian culture, values and practices. It was through these visits that they learnt more about what it means to be a Lasallian and the three core values which are Faith, Service and Community.
The scholars also had an opportunity to join in the school’s community service programmes. An example was in De La Salle Santiago Zobel where the scholars were tasked to create a community service project to carry out in the Taguig Rehabilitation Centre for drug addicts and Goodbye ‘Gutom’ (Goodbye Hunger) for children in poverty. Aware that language barriers and being unfamiliar with the children would be a challenge, they planned activities that were suitable for them and took the lead in different aspects of the project. This pushed them out of their comfort zones by experiencing poverty in ways they have only read or heard about. Our scholars interacted with children who were homeless and abused, and even recovering drug addicts who are presently based in rehabilitation centres. Here, they planned activities with them, fed them and bonded with them like Kuyas and Ates (older brothers and sisters) which in turn, help honed the scholars’ leadership skills and exposed to them the larger meaning of life. This was reflected in the feedback of one of the SJIIM Scholars, Yip Song Ling who said, “I have learnt the meaning of empathy. It has thus instilled an awareness within myself to participate and contribute more to community services that can change the life of the less privileged for the better. I also realised that education plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of every individual and this is the reason why the La Salle schools exist.”
One of the Lasallian schools visited was De La Salle Araneta University which was in a farm called Salikneta. The scholars spent two memorable nights there which involved exposure to insects and toads in their bathrooms. More uniquely, they had a chance to interact with nature where they had chances to milk a cow, pick chicken eggs, bake bread, prepare and bottle calamansi juice and plant paddy among many other activities.
A special experience for the scholars was that they were also very fortunate to witness the ‘First Vows’ of two Filipino Lasallian Brothers in the La Salle Green Hills. Upon the scholars return to Kuala Lumpur, it was found that the scholars have become more aware of what is means to be a Lasallian and understood better the obstacles and challenges that come from the cause of serving the last, the lost, and the least. They have also bonded together well and are now ready to help grow the Lasallian mission back in SJIIM and Malaysia.
A Brother school of the esteemed St Joseph’s Institution and SJI International in Singapore, St Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia (SJIIM) provides Lasallian holistic education for 3 to 18 year olds. SJII Malaysia offers International Primary Curriculum, Singapore Math and a strong Mandarin Programme as well as the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (“IGCSE”) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (“IBDP”).
Located in the heart of the Tropicana township, the Tropicana PJ campus is a 6.5 acres purpose-build school which offers wide-ranging facilities such as indoor sports hall, swimming pool, auditorium / performing arts centre, separate elementary & high school library, soccer field, tennis court and a sick bay with a full time nurse and doctors on call. To ensure a safe environment for the students, the school is also be equipped with campus-wide security system. For more information about the school, visit www.sji-international.edu.my.