High School Service Learning
Each student is required to complete 10 hours of service each year. This will accumulate if not completed and is a requirement for graduation. The students taking the International Baccalaurette program are required to complete a higher number of service hours. (Please see the HS IB program for more details.)
Over the past three years, students have traveled to Nepal, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and Borneo.
Twenty students from grades 9 and 10, with four teachers, embarked on a journey of community and self-discovery spending seven days in Kathmandu, Nepal as part of the service learning program at ACS. In partnership with OCEAN Nepal Orphanage, the ACS team spent three days painting, singing, dancing and seeing the sights of the city while developing relationships with 14 students, ages 5-18, from the orphanage. As we looked for opportunities to test our physical and mental abilities and see the beautiful surroundings of the villages and mountains, we embarked on a 3-day trek that totaled 15 hours of hiking time and a total of 45 km, climbing to a maximum elevation of 2,700 meters.
For many, this experience was transformational as we immersed ourselves in a new culture with radically different lifestyles than those of our own. We are very proud and grateful for all the students who took part in this exceptional journey, reaching out and adding value to the lives of the OCEAN family while simultaneously being receptive to their adding value to our own lives as well.
Click here for pictures of the trip.
One Tanzanian family has a new home. One Tanzanian village is well on its way to opening up a new classroom. All the ACS volunteers who made this happen have a new perspective on life in Sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty-nine students and four staff members joined our 8-day Eid holiday service trip to Tanzania. They laid cement floors, plastered walls, and painted at two different construction sites. They also made new friends with the children at two local schools, visited a Maasai tribal village, and approached within a few meters of the elephants, baboons and other wildlife at Lake Manyara National Park.
It was an eye-opening adventure for everyone involved; one more powerful reminder of our commitment to extend our learning beyond the classroom and across the globe.
Click here to view pictures of this trip.
Twenty-nine ACS students headed to Sri Lanka over Eid holiday to work for Habitat For Humanity to build housing for a village near Dambulla. For five days, the group laid bricks, dug holes, mixed cement, moved materials, and shifted sand at various homes in the village. The students worked closely with the families and built relationships with the homeowners as they worked shoulder to shoulder. The ACS group also got a chance to visit a historical UNESCO heritage site, home of a 4th center King's palace. The Habitat For Humanity student leaders also organized a visit to an orphanage to meet the young children and donate money raised through fundraising. It was a busy trip filled with great food and hard work that won't soon be forgotten!
Click here for pictures of this trip.
In March 2014, 18 ACS students went to Borneo with Camps International. This experience deepened student's historical and environmental awareness of a region very different from here. They were immersed in a jungle habitat and with unique flora and fauna.
One student wrote: "The Borneo Service Trip with Camps International was a very unique experience. I learned so much about the local culture and their way of living -- especially on how different we live from the Borneo population."
The high school has 13 service clubs which are a cornerstone in the Service Learning Program for developing leadership, collaboration and initiative through event planning. Annual events include High School Leadership Retreat, Picnic in the Park, Fall Festival, Earth Week and PCRF Dinner. For a complete list of these clubs and a brief description of each, click here. Check out these student websites below.
Global Issues Network Program (GIN)
The GIN Program connects students with an inspiring program that motivates young people to "be the change." Students participating in this program attend international conferences with world-renowned inspirational speakers. They return with many ideas to make a difference at home. Our local events GINergy which is a student-run weekend.
To view pictures from this event, click here.
ACS has a long-term goal of becoming a "green school." The Green Team works to support a variety of initiatives to encourage better practice from lower energy use to eliminating plastic water bottles. The team works with the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Schools Program and are in partnership with six local schools and Roots and Shoots, the NGO founded by Jane Goodall.
This year, the NYU Sila Conference opened at ACS as the featured school for the green school project. Participants from several local universities toured the campus, interviewed our Green Team, and then develop competing proposals about how best to make ACS more of a "Green School." The winning team was awarded $5,000 to implement their proposal. The solution was to teach students how to make non-toxic, biodegradable liquid soaps for hygiene, educational, and environmental purposes. The winning team hopes to reduce the amount of toxins released into the air and eliminate the harmful chemicals that students come in contact with everyday by using regular soaps.
To view pictures of the Sila Conference, click here.
The service program works with many local partners who provide a variety of opportunities for our students. These include:
- Sheikh Khalifa Hospital
- New York University Abu Dhabi
- Special Care Centre
- Future Centre
- Operation Smile
- Emirates Wildlife Society -World Wildlife Federation
- Medecins Sans Frontieres (NSF) International
- Abu Dhabi Cause Connect
- The Enterprise Club
ACS students have also organized "bus raids", labor camp dinners and supported the Box Appeal.
Click the picture to view more photos of the Special Care Centre event.
CAS - Creativity, Action and Service
CAS is a requirement of the IB Diploma program. This results in a high level of engagement by these 60 to 70 students who pursue the full diploma. They are active in many of the service club events and also show initiative in a variety of aspects of campus life. Each student must complete a CAS project. The following are some examples:
- Winter Formal Dance – Raised money to provide medical aid for workers in the UAE.
- Syrian School Supplies Collection Campaign – Collected 10 boxes of school supplies for displaced children in refugee camps.
- Clothing Collection and Giveaway – Collected and distributed more than 35 boxes of clothes, shoes, and blankets to the community in need and Syrian refugees.
- GIN AD Hungry for Change
- Untitled Dance Show
- World Bicycle Relief Organization – Raised enough money to buy at least 20 bikes to empower rural people in Africa through transportation.