Community service is an integral part of the holistic education that we offer at St Stithians Boys’ College. The College has structured programmes that enable our boys to take part in various community service projects. Students who engage in community service projects can benefit from the experience in many ways. They develop a good work ethic, engage in conversation with people of different ages and diverse lifestyles, and learn new skills.
Our Grade 8s are involved in compulsory community service programmes on Thursday mornings at Refilwe Community Project, Novalis House and Kwena Molapo Primary School. These programmes are well structured and meaningful to our students. The Grade 9s, too, are involved in a compulsory community service programme at Vuleka School in Rosebank, and the St Stithians Samaritan Group (PSG) is instrumental in this programme by providing lifts and monitoring the boys while they perform their community service.
Service to the school
The boys in the College have many opportunities to serve the Saints community; for example, they can:
- Serve as Chapel Stewards
- Help at the Saints Easter Festival
- Help backstage, and with sound and lighting, at school functions and productions
- Offer first aid support at sports fixtures, and on school camps and tours
- Become scorers/recorders at sports fixtures
There really is “something for everyone”. No boy should feel excluded from making a contribution to life at the College.
Various projects take place during the school year:
Grade 8 Mandela Day project
On 18 July 2014 – Mandela Day – the Grade 8s participated in a mega-event hosted by Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa, at the Sandton Convention Centre. The focus of this event was to package meals that were distributed across the country in the fight to eradicate poverty in Southern Africa.
Orange Farm Project – August holidays
Last year’s Residential Programme was based in Orange Farm township in Johannesburg. Community service was performed every day during the first week of the August school holidays. A group of Grade 11 students helped out at Siyakhula Childcare and Support Centre, which is situated in the heart of Orange Farm.
Round Square international service projects
As members of Round Square, the boys are given the opportunity to take part in an international Round Square service project. These take place in various part of the world and are always very enriching experiences for the participants.
Support to the wider community
The Grade 8 boys visit Novalis House, a school for the intellectually and physically disabled, as well as Refilwe Community Project and the Kwena Molapo Pre-School on a regular basis throughout the year. These visits are linked to the Christian themes of “love in action”, “servant leadership” and “inclusion”.
Boys thus understand that the community service programmes are firmly rooted in the College's Christian beliefs and commitment. The Grade 9 boys visit Vuleka Primary School (St Michael's Church, Rosebank) on a weekly basis, where they act as teachers' assistants in the Grade 1, 2 and 3 classes.
They also undertake 24 hours of service, where they assist communities or organisations under the requirements for this compulsory community service. Various Houses in the Boys' College have their own community service initiatives.
For example, the Houses have collected sports equipment and magazines for local high schools, vegetables and fruit for the feeding schemes and other initiatives. They have also collected stationery for various schools, and clothes and toys for children's homes.
The Parents' Samaritan Group was formed by a group of parents with the objective of working alongside their sons in serving the community. Each term, the Parent Samaritan Group co-ordinates a collection drive where it asks for contributions from parents and pupils from the campus. The recipients of this collection week vary.
The Round Square philosophy can be summed up in the acronym IDEALS, which stands for:
- International understanding
- Environmental awareness and action
- Service to the community
St Stithians Boys' College joined the Round Square Association of Schools in 1998 and has become a very active member of the organisation. The Round Square Association currently has a membership of over 60 schools worldwide, in countries as diverse as Japan, Peru, Kenya and Thailand.
Round Square schools share a commitment to the educational philosophy of the late Kurt Hahn, a German educator who believed that character in young people is best developed outside the classroom.
Boys and girls in Round Square schools are encouraged to take part in challenging and demanding activities. It is through taking responsibility and extending themselves in these situations that the students develop self-reliance, compassion, understanding and tolerance of others.
These pillars of the Round Square are part of the fabric and ethos of the College and are put into practice in a variety of ways. International understanding is an important pillar of life at the College. Over the years the boys have become global citizens through attendance at the annual regional and international conferences. Over 500 delegates, mainly students, attend the international conference, which is held at a different Round Square school each year.
Delegates at the conference attend keynote addresses on the theme of the conference, and debate issues of international importance with fellow delegates from all over the world. They also share information and take part in service projects, and adventure and environmental activities.
Representing the Colleges at these conferences is a great honour for the College boys and girls. The Round Square Association was founded on the pillar of service to the community, and the Colleges are extremely proud of their extensive local and national outreach programmes and projects.
For more information on the Round Square Association, visit the Round Square website at www.roundsquare.org.
The President's Award
The President's Award is a programme run by the College to help the boys develop a holistic and well-balanced outlook on life. It involves recreational activities, adventurous journeys, community service, skills and residential projects. The skills component of the programme is to encourage the development of personal interests, creativity or practical skills; the community service component teaches the boys how to give useful service to others; the adventurous journey component leads to a spirit of adventure and discovery when the boys undertake a journey in a group.
The last component – physical recreation – encourages participation in physical activities and improvement in performance. Students can complete one of three levels: Bronze, Silver or Gold.