Founded in 2021, the Student Press Corps at BASIS International School Guangzhou expands the student voice at the school, while also giving students valuable experience writing for a public platform. Students are selected for the SPC based upon a written test and interview process. As their skills have grown and progressed, the SPC members have contributed several articles now to the school’s WeChat newsletter, Phoenix News, which is one of the most important official school media outlets.
Their faculty advisor, Raul Cruz, Director of College Admissions, shared his thoughts with us on the importance of this initiative, as well as two standout articles from the inaugural members of the Student Press Corps at BASIS International School Guangzhou.
From Faculty Advisor Raul Cruz
Student publication is an integral component of high school culture. For many schools, student journalists serve a unique role in documenting the eclectic activities their schools organize. At BASIS International School Guangzhou, the Student Press Corps (SPC) was founded with this same mission in mind–to invigorate our community through the voice of our students, teachers, and staff.
From interviewing teachers on the installment of a new artwork display to writing about the latest senior tradition, the first class of SPC has expanded the activities on campus toward the broader audience across our community. Our student-run departments–Interviews, Article Write-up, Translation, and Design–work collaboratively to illuminate the exciting events at school while enabling students to write, discuss, and express their own opinions.
As a young organization, SPC engages student journalists from Grade 7 through 12 to join the initiative of empowering the community members’ voices. Our journalists regularly interview teachers and students to discover exciting endeavors happening on campus, and they help amplify this joy through writing newsletters. Since our establishment in June 2021, SPC has helped contribute to more than ten school newsletters, and more are coming.
The first members of SPC are chroniclers of the history of BASIS International Schools and pioneers of promoting a more inclusive and vibrant culture here on campus. We are thrilled to continue the commitment to share our students’ life on campus with everyone!
Student Press Corps Article: Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday whose intricate history is intertwined with the history of Mexico and Mexican culture. This holiday celebrates the life of ancestors who have passed. In 2008, UNESCO recognized the importance of Dia de los Muertos by adding the holiday to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Today, Mexicans from all religious and ethnic backgrounds celebrate Dia de los Muertos, but at its core, the holiday is a reaffirmation of indigenous life.
As a modern living tradition, Day of the Dead has many practices that vary depending on where in Mexico you live. For our first Spanish class here at BASIS International School Guangzhou we created calaveritas literarias, decorated and displayed colorful Calaveras, created marigold paper flowers (cempasuchiles), and set up ofrendas of the dia de los muertos (altars) to honor loved ones.
Spanish students went to the Maker Space and had the opportunity to decorate their own skulls. Everything about Dia de los Muertos is bright and colorful, especially the decorations. If we’re going to add skulls to an altar, these skulls should be decorated with bright and shiny color, and a giant white smile.
The reason a holiday revolving around death is so full of color instead of being gloomy and gray is because we celebrate the lives led by those who are now gone. It’s not simply a day about mourning our loved ones and telling stories of them around their tombstones in the cemetery and our altars; it’s a day about remembering their lives and the impact they had upon us, as well as keeping in mind that just because they’re no longer with us doesn’t mean that they’re entirely gone, because we keep them alive in our hearts and memories.
Culture is more complex and dynamic than we are often taught to recognize in our daily lives and experiences. Creating a Day of the Dead altar together with the different activities that its construction entails, is a way to inspire students of many different cultures to participate and learn about Mexican culture, and it connects BASIS students with long held practices that bring the past to life.
Student Press Corps Article: Student Choice
In BASIS International School Guangzhou, every student has a chance to speak out for themselves as a unique individual. Therefore, teachers of the elementary school department recently decided to provide students with more freedom of choice in the classroom, allowing students to share their opinions about the classroom. If the suggestion is legitimate, changes will take place as soon as possible. The goal of this new activity is to allow students to demonstrate their personalities and express their own opinions.
Students are also given opportunities to go to the library and choose whatever they wish to read–no restriction on the choice. Teachers, in this case, act only as guidance. They assist students to find books that fit their preferences and ability.
“Every Friday in class, we will give the student an activity for them to complete; we have two each week, but each activity matches a set of objectives for that week, and students need to demonstrate their understanding of the objectives by doing several tasks. It is a kind of choice board. And the other way to show their choice is that we do reading, and they can choose their own book from the library, and I will give them guidance on what kinds of books are right for them, but it is entirely their choice. Same as our writing, I offer guidance on creating a list of topics, but what they choose to write is their choice, and I support them along the way.” Said Ms. Ely, introducing her role.
This activity does help students to develop their critical thinking skills. They don’t need to consult their teachers’ opinions whenever they face a single challenge. Under these conditions, the student will try to answer problems on their own or find their classmates. Make students decide on their books, and they can soon make decisions about their life.
Visit our careers website for more information about teaching with BASIS International Schools.
Learn more about BASIS International School Guangzhou on our careers website.