What’s Student Leadership All About?
Student Leadership plays an active role at Yew Chung International School of Beijing, but what is it? We speak to the co-executives, Sydney Lee (Year 12) and Kersi Pastakia (Year 13), about the role of Student Leadership, their greatest achievements and the upcoming Christmas Bazaar.
Please introduce yourselves
I’m Kersi. I’m half Chinese, half Indian and I have lived in Beijing all my life. I joined YCIS Beijing in K4, so I have been at the school for fifteen years.
I’m Sydney. My parents are Korean, but I was born in the United States and raised in the Philippines. I’ve lived in Beijing for five years, and have been at YCIS Beijing for the whole time.
Why did you join Student Leadership?
[Kersi] I’ve been here for such a long time that I know the school inside out. I’ve experienced every year level and can understand many student’s perspectives which makes me feel that I can represent them really well. Having been here for so long, I want to give back to the community.
[Sydney] I joined Student Leadership in Year 9, which is quite early. I’d just come from another school and felt that we could learn from how their student council was run. I also felt this was a good opportunity to develop my leadership and communication skills.
What role does Student Leadership Play in the School?
Student Leadership used to be known as Student Council, but we recently changed its name to “leadership” to reflect the role here. We don’t just organise events and do fundraisers. We are a voice for students and enable changes all around the school – from improving our environmental practices to making our house system more meaningful.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
This year, we have done some major reorganisation to Student Leadership. Previously, it was one big group of students all taking part in every discussion. It wasn’t very efficient and it became quite disorganised.
Firstly, we decided to reduce the number of students who could form part of Student Leadership – so we opened it to school scholars only. This meant that there were fewer people, and they were all more committed and often had a special interest or skill to bring to the table.
We then created separate groups, so that they could each focus on different areas that matter. The groups are divided into Community, Houses, Sustainability and Events. Each group has its own executive leader in charge, and then we are the co-executives, who oversee the whole thing and make sure all projects happen on schedule.
Doing this has allowed us to move away from teacher direction, because we are more focused and independent. It’s already made a big difference and should change Student Leadership forever, so it’s definitely our greatest achievement.
Please explain your role in the upcoming Christmas Bazaar
Firstly, we think a bit of background is helpful to understanding the Christmas Bazaar. YCIS Beijing never used to have one, but a few years ago an IGCSE student put one on as their enterprise coursework. Since then, it has been done every year and is now one of the biggest school events of the year. We like this story because it shows how, at YCIS Beijing, students can make a big difference.
Student Leadership has been working with the Parent Organisation to arrange stalls. We have also organised stalls for all year groups so that everyone in the school has a chance to get involved. Normally, the Bazaar stalls are designed for students to buy things, but this year we are catering for parents too because the Primary concerts are on the same day so there will be more parents coming along.
What are you looking forward to about the Christmas Bazaar?
It’s always fun to get the chance to interact with the younger years who come and visit. There’s also lots of interaction with parents and teachers too. I think one of the nicest things is being able to find out what students really care about – some of them will be running charity stalls just to share more information. It’s a great way to get to know our community.
For more information on our Christmas Bazaar, and to sign up, click here.