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Apr 21 2022

How BCIS Students Find Purpose

Grady Singleton

How do you define purpose? Although everyone might have their own definition, helping students learn to find their individual purpose is a key part of the pedagogy employed at BCIS. In fact, becoming "purposeful doers" is one of the four learning impacts our students will develop, along with becoming "creative thinkers", "critical thinkers", and "connected learners". These four learning impacts serve as the core of BCIS's Secondary School learning and teaching, and recently served as the topics for our Shaping our Future series of panel discussions. For the topic of "purposeful doers", we found that the best way to learn about acting with purpose was to have our very own students plan and host the forum themselves. At BCIS, each student is encouraged and empowered to grow into a purposeful doer who will act for the good of others in the school, the community, and the world.


Our final Shaping our Future talk was fully student-led and was hosted by a pair of Grade 11 students, Jessica and Vivian. Joining them were four student panelists, Bonbon, Juyeon, Chris and Helen. Our group of talented students turned out to be equally able hosts, creating engaging dialogue on the topic of purpose. Each of our panelists had their own ideas on the definition of purpose, but every one of them had a clear vision of how they could act as purposeful doers. As Bonbon stated, "My purpose is to give back. An example I can give is when I first joined our school's volleyball team. Throughout the years, I've always had classmates from the grades above coaching me, teaching me the different forms, and the different game strategies we use." Now that Bonbon is in Grade 11, he has used this example of purpose to coach the younger students on the team.


Chris, a Grade 12 student, is also on the volleyball team. Like Bonbon, he has been able to lead other students, and inspire them through athletics. Chris himself also finds inspiration in being active. He recalls one time at the gym, when he was tired at the end of a workout. With his coach's encouragement, he was able to challenge his limits and keep going to become even stronger. This sort of impact can be found in the many sports Enrichment Activities (EAs) at BCIS, where students are challenged outside of the classroom as a supplement to their rigorous academic activities in class. Such motivation can serve as the key for students to unlock their purpose and provide opportunities for them to take action.


Chris and Bonbon are not the only ones who found the inspiration to be purposeful doers through sport. Helen, a Grade 10 student, was inspired by a quote from her ballet coach. "If you're not dancing through your life just like you're doing ballet and giving 100%, then you will never truly feel happy about what you're doing. That inspired me to think that, whatever I do, I wish to try my hardest," she stated. Such inspiration serves as the engine that drives our purposeful doers forward. Juyeon, a Grade 12 student, finds inspiration in a different place. When she was younger, she began to raise dogs, and developed a passion for animals. She has since been able to turn this passion into action, interning at a veterinary clinic, and using her English and Korean language skills to create a blog that shares important information on animal care with people around the globe. Whether it is Helen with her ballet, or Juyeon with her pets and animals, our students take their passions and turn them into purposeful action.


When discussing purpose, Juyeon separates the concept into two categories: "internal forces and external forces." At BCIS, we provide students with an environment that helps motivate them externally, with supportive teachers and in-depth learning opportunities that challenge students to act with a purpose. Our expansive Enrichment Activities program also helps students identify their passions which they can take internal inspiration from. This vast school setting challenges and empowers our students to find their purpose and act on it. As our wonderful host, Jessica, said, "You've been thrown into an ocean, and you don't know where the land is. You can swim anywhere you want, but you don't know what are the difficulties along the journey. After you have chosen a path, the only thing you can do is keep going, because that's the only way that can get you to the destination." BCIS provides students with the limitless ocean that allows them agency over the actions they will take, as well as the boats and rafts in the form of teachers and support staff to help them reach their destination safely. As demonstrated by this stupendous Shaping our Future event, our students themselves are highly proficient at acting with a purpose to inspire others and create a better world.