Busan, Korea – 18 November 2016- On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, forty Grade Six students from Busan International Foreign School (BIFS) will clean up the rocky shore area of Songjeong, a popular surfing beach and destination for Korean visitors and international tourists, as part of a newly-forged connection with the Haeundae Gu Volunteer Center. From 8:30 to 11:30am, BIFS students and teacher chaperones will comb the rocky shore at the Haeundae end of Songjeong beach for flotsam, jetsam and beach litter and place the material in bags provided by the city. The city will be responsible for removing the bags. BIFS wants this to be an ongoing cooperative effort, with each grade at BIFS from Grade Six to Grade Twelve participating in at least two volunteer projects per year.
Service to the community is part of the BIFS education. BIFS students and teachers have been doing cleanups around Busan for years, particularly on the famous Moontan Trail on Haeundae’s Dalmaji Hill. Says BIFS science teacher Gillian Vaughan, “Education of kids is the way forward. If you don’t educate the kids about litter they won’t take care of the planet. Environmental stewardship is embedded in the IB. In Sixth Grade students have been studying carbon footprint, renewable energy and ocean currents. When students were approached about participating in this beach cleanup they already had loads of information about the ocean gyres and environmental pollution from their Fifth Grade project. Says Craig Wilson, Creativity, Action and Service Coordinator at BIFS, “if students walk out of school realizing that they have a role, that they are not just observers of the world around them, that’s such a big step.”
BIFS students Fiona Wilson (13) and Stella Wilson (5) and their mother Deanna Rupert, now renowned throughout Korea for initiating clean-up efforts on Gwangali Beach after Supertyphoon Chaba in October, were the inspiration for the BIFS Songjeong Beach cleanup. The three foreign residents received an award from the Suyeong-gu District office on October 30, for service to the community.
BIFS is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum School. “Service Learning,” connecting the teaching in the classroom with action in the community, is integral to the IB’s vision of teaching peace through global citizenship and environmental stewardship. In addition to a rigorous academic education, participation in service projects is a requirement of the IB diploma, coveted for its status as a gateway to prestigious universities around the world.