The “Race for Rice” at CMIS
David Gerber, CMIS Grade 2
On a recent Sunday morning I sat in church and listened to many stories
about the suffering of our neighbors in Burma. I heard about how a Chiang
Mai organization helped to rush medical attention to a man who had stepped
on a land mine laid by the Burmese Army - he needed his leg amputated in
order to survive. I heard about a village that had been torched by the
Burmese Army (SPDC) for a fifth time, and as the remains smoldered, the
faithful from that village held multiple church services. I listened to the
story about a 65 year old woman whose home was being destroyed for the third
time, and as she hurriedly threw some of her belongings into a bag she told
a friend of mine who was there to lend assistance, “Don’t be scared my
son. This will pass and we will rebuild our home. God takes care of us.”
As I write this, villages are being attacked, lives are being uprooted, and
stories like these are continuing to unfold.
Gerber and his class weighing the rice.
This month Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) did something to help make
the lives of the displaced and persecuted people of Burma a little bit
better. On Thursday, May 18, a food and goods donation drive called the
“Race for Rice” kicked off at our school. This event was designed to
foster a healthy competition among homeroom classes as they raced each other
to bring in an amount of rice equal to the weight of our Principal, Terry
Gamble. In addition to rice, items such as clothing, toiletries, and toys
could also be donated and would be added into the weight tallies. During
each lunch period, the rice and goods were to be weighed and the first team
to reach the 80 kg goal would be the winner of a pizza party.
delivery truck loaded with rice and goods.
The “race committee” predicted a fairly quick
competition, thinking that it would be about three or four days until a
winner could be determined; but as it turned out, the winner was declared
after the first day’s weigh-in. Not only did the winning team far exceed
the 80 kg mark, but a total of seven teams sprinted past the goal. First
place went to Grade 1A who donated an amazing 90 kg of rice and 80 items.
Only two days after the race began, the school had gathered nearly 1000 kg
of rice and over 500 items! The donations have already been transported to
the Committee for Internally Displaced People in the town of Mae Sariang
from which point they will be dispersed as quickly as possible to the people
Now when I go to bed at night, I try to imagine some of the people receiving
these gifts. I visualize a healthy mother who has new strength to carry her
child because of the donated vitamins she has been taking. I imagine
children happily playing with toys – a little girl dressing up in a tiara
and high heels or a little boy getting a new battle robot – and I picture
the faces of their parents as they put on a new hat or a warm sweatshirt.
The “Race for Rice” helped raise awareness in our school of the dire
circumstances that exist for many people just beyond our borders. It also
rallied our students, staff, and families to reach out to people who are
desperately in need. The CMIS community acted with compassion last week, and
I’m sure there are many more smiles in this world because of that.
Prem gets into investigative journalism
Intarawut displays her project about government propaganda.
On Friday, May 19th, Grade 5 students at Prem Tinsulanonda International
School waited in anticipation for people to arrive at their Media
Exhibition. Each Grade 5 student had researched a different form of media
and had to present it to the audience. Three classrooms were taken over to
put up display boards about media, to show school-made movies and Powerpoint
presentations, and to stage a puppet show.
Grade 5 student Jaro Bellier spoke of his project, “I researched theater
and puppet shows for my presentation. I also researched pollution and how it
affects our Earth. Then I made a background and puppets to inform people
about pollution. I performed it several times for several different
audiences. It was a lot of fun! I liked the Media Exhibition!”
Grade 5 PTIS students explored an in-depth curriculum before their final
presentation at the Media Exhibition. Media is one of the International
Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) Primary Years Programme (PYP), Units of
Inquiry. The subject focus is How people’s identity is affected by media.
Students spent weeks researching on their own and then created posters,
literature and movies about their topic. Additionally, students learned
about the affects media has on society and what forms of media are most
important for influencing society. This learning was supplemented by a
fieldtrip to the offices of both Citylife and Chiangmai Mail.
Grade 5 teacher David Best commented, “Our second Grade Five Exhibition
here at Prem was bigger and better than previous exhibitions. We had a huge
number of visitors on the day - a door count revealed hundreds of people;
from the youngest students, their parents and grandparents, to teachers and
overseas visitors. The day was a perfect culmination to the final year of
the PYP for the Grade five students at the school.”