Students who attend Cayman International School are privileged. They attend classes on a beautiful, modern campus and receive a high-quality education. CIS students have many opportunities to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, complete with access to excellent facilities. It is easy to take for granted what many other children around the world could only dream of having at their school.
CIS helps remind students to be thankful for the opportunities they are given and to give thanks by paying it forward. Part of the way that students do this is by volunteering to help those who are less fortunate. Both informal and formalised community service programmes are offered at the school.
The formalised service programmes begin in grade nine. It is a requirement that all students devote a certain amount of time each year to perform volunteer work. The amount of required volunteer work increases with each grade level. Ninth graders must complete 15 hours of volunteer work, 10th graders must complete 20 hours, and 11th and 12th graders must complete 25 hours.
Cayman International School provides students with many opportunities to easily complete their volunteer work time. For instance, the school often organises neighbourhood and beach cleanups. Students can also volunteer at school sporting events.
Every year, high school students can go on an international service trip. The trip differs every year and varies in purpose, length and location. They take place in Latin American countries so that students can practice their Spanish speaking skills.
Two years ago the service trip took place in Peru to provide community support in schools, soup kitchens and other settings. Last year students went to Nicaragua to provide students with fresh produce from a garden the students planted. This year students are travelling to Costa Rica to restructure homes. Volunteer work provides both the students and recipients of their volunteer work with positive experiences. The recipients are provided with better resources that can lead to healthier and brighter futures. The students are given the opportunity to reflect, and see how their actions can affect others so positively.
Ellie Nickason is a 12-year-old student in Grade 7 at Cayman International School.