As the “heart of our school” and “a pillar of our community,” Daw Winsome has been nominated for and proudly announced as the recipient of the ISY Community Service Award. The award was presented to Daw Winsome on March 6th at the annual ISY Gala. This award brings light to those in our ISY community who have been notably dedicated towards service learning and taking action for the community. 

When asked to describe her service learning journey here at ISY, Daw Winsome took a moment to collect her thoughts from all these past years. “My initiative and effort for community service since 1997 has come true,” she said, smiling. Reminiscing about the past, she said, “I was the first one to invite orphanages to our school and teach those children English, math, and information technology (computers). It was like having a little school in a big school.” 

After the initial actions of service at ISY, Daw Winsome started brainstorming more ways that the concept of service could be incorporated into the students’ curriculum. This led to the first service learning group called “Community Service” (now called “Community Action”). She specifically allocated this activity to run every Friday after school, rooted from the idea that “if you are really into service, you should sacrifice that time.”

Daw Winsome elaborated further on how actions taken by the ISY community have truly impacted and been appreciated by those in need. Her most memorable experiences ranged not only in educating children on different school subjects, but also in gardening, technology, art, and sports. She also mentioned how “recycling A4 paper and returning it back for school use” was also among her favorite experiences. When asked about who else made service learning at ISY possible, she gratefully mentioned: “the orphanages we have worked with, the aged homes, the staff, the students, the films made for teaching at Burmese schools―all of them played a key role in our service learning journey here at ISY.” 

She further expressed her joy that ISY is now integrating service learning in its day-to-day curriculum. Students now know “how to think according to the MISO method: how to investigate, how to plan, how to interview people,” due to the school’s effort. However, she put emphasis on how “the service learning being integrated into the curriculum needs to be further improved and encouraged. Only then would it make sense for the learning.”

When asked for her expertise on how to approach those in need in Myanmar with an authentic and respectful manner, Daw Winsome responded by saying that students should reflect on service activities to gain further understanding of contents. “Students need to follow certain steps: get permission with proposals, investigate the need, and be courteous in every matter.” 

The ISY community very much looks up to Daw Winsome as the pioneer of service learning in our community and inspires students every day to encompass compassion, curiosity, and love for the world around us not just in her chemistry classroom but also beyond the walls of our classrooms.

Published by Global
Photographed by ISY