Article by: Jiwon Cyhn
ISM is renowned for its passion for service, which is evident from the Classroom Without Walls (CWW) in middle school to ICARE in high school. Service is a vital aspect of ISM, as “it serves as values that are truly vital for the upcoming years in our lives such as compassion and humanity,” states Yong Seok Lee, a senior heavily involved in service. He also adds, “partaking in service in the critical years of our adolescence will lead to benefits in the students’ attitude and create a better community.” It is obvious that the ISM student body and teachers care about giving back to the local community. However, according to ISM CAS coordinator, Mr. Neil Woods, service was not always “central to school education”. .
Mr. Woods describes his recollection of service in the U.K during his high school years, and how service has evolved since then. Mr. Woods was involved with Combined Cadet Force (CCF) when he was a teenager, as well as many other clubs; thus he has experienced much exposure to service throughout the years. Mr. Woods mentions that 25 years ago, “service commitment was not a central focus,” and that “globalization and increased awareness further pushed the importance of service… everything seems closer now. When (he) first went traveling, there were no cellphones or Internet but now we can talk to someone directly on Skype who’s right in the middle of crisis. People can also respond very quickly through social media. We are more connected and the empathetic part of us wants to help.” However, he also mentions that the difference in service from the past to the present can be quite “overwhelming because there are so many problems and it is hard to decide what you are going to support and what the right course of action is.”
Overall, service is still definitely “the best way to give back to the community because it gives students a broader and wider view and understanding of our community and our world,” notes Sammy Westfall, who herself participates in a range of service work. Although service has evolved, there is still the great need to help those who are less fortunate and to do so, in the wise words of Mr. Woods, one must have “ an open mind”.