Monday, 17 November 2014 15:57

Empowering Students at ISH

Students at the International School of Helsinki (ISH) are given the opportunity to plan and organize CEESA events.

ISH hosted the CEESA blue division high school girl’s football tournament this month and I took on the tournament assistant’s role, working together with our Athletics Director. In this position, I assisted our AD with many different aspects of the event. My responsibilities included; planning the game schedule, cultural and social program, writing articles for our community newsletter, designing the event gift, and helping out with other things to make the tournament a success. Besides being the tournament assistant, I also played on the ISH team.  

The tournament took place last weekend and went extremely well! All of the teams seemed to enjoy the 5 rather chilly days in Helsinki, while playing football and spending time with their host families, and interacting with other teams. I’m so happy to have been given the privilege to help out with organizing this tournament and it will benefit me in many ways in the future.  Now, I have more experience and knowledge of what it takes to organize an event of this size. Besides event management, I was also able to practice my public speaking skills while giving a speech at the opening ceremonies.

At first, I got interested in this opportunity when our AD asked for volunteers at the beginning of the school year. I thought that it was really cool idea that my new learning environment empowered students to take on responsibilities to help the school community. ISH does not only allow students to help out but also be a part of planning and decision making. I decided to volunteer since I was new to the school, didn’t know many people and this seemed to be a great opportunity to get involved right away.

I was given a lot of responsibility and had a ‘say’ in the planning and decision making for the tournament. By giving students the opportunity to take responsibility and make decisions, they feel as if their voices are being heard. This can only make events better and they will have a perspective from the student’s point of view.

Coming from a US high school and studying in Finland as an exchange student in the IB diploma program has its differences. Only from the sports perspective, the players and coaches are so welcoming and friendly. I have played sports all my life and also played football at my old high school. After coming here, helping to organize and playing in this tournament, I have realized how much importance CEESA puts on sportsmanship. Having played in different leagues, I am so impressed about the amount of emphasis that is placed both on learning how to play competitively and at the same time being fair, and kind towards others.

The atmosphere at the tournament was competitive but still warm and welcoming to everyone. This tournament was a great experience which I’m so glad to have been a part of. By empowering students in our schools to participate in the organization and decision making, will give them more responsibility and benefit entire school communities as a whole, not to mention learning valuable life skills.

Tory Mcferson
Grade 11 student
International School of Helsinki