Krish Punjabi’s Jerudong International School (JIS) journey began when he was just two years old. He remembers some adjustment as he learned English then and not much else — but it has been one fulfilling journey ever since.
Today, he’s in Sixth Form, holding the roles of House Captain and House business CEO, with a toolkit that will help him take on the rigours of university life and beyond. He owes it all to “supportive and enthusiastic teachers” who have helped him grow in more ways than one.
“My teachers have always placed my growth first and foremost, most notably my business studies teachers and psychology teachers,” he enthuses. “They’ve really been able to foster my interest in these subjects and I genuinely haven’t found a single day at JIS dull!”
JIS raises leaders. It’s part of the JIS student profile, alongside engagement, communication, thinking, resilience and integration. For every act in line with these virtues, a student earns a Polio Point. With each point, US$1 is donated to UNICEF to vaccinate a child at risk of Polio. This year, the school plans on saving 10,000 lives.
At this British international school — home to over 1,680 students representing 55 countries — future leaders of their generation get an early start. In Junior School, pupils are raising awareness on important sustainable issues affecting the school, helping to run the Green Market and supporting the 2021 JIS Earth Week.
The Junior School Council also raised a large sum of money to purchase a considerable number of equipment for Brunei’s special needs primary school sector. “They have demonstrated great collaboration skills in working together to help,” shares Victoria Moriarty, Junior School Council Coordinator.
When they progress to Senior School, JIS students can vie for roles as head boy and head, as well as seats in the Senior School Council. The Senior School also has 16 houses — each has a House Captain and leadership team which includes an Eco-Captain, Well-Being Captain, Digital Captain, Social Events Captain, Sports Captain and so forth.
As they make plans and voice the concerns of their peers during regular meetings with the Principal and Vice Principal, they’re honing their soft skills and gaining critical exposure to what a board meeting or participatory democracy is like.
JIS’s 300 co-curricular activities offer more opportunities to lead. Model United Nations, which teaches diplomacy, international relations and more, is a popular choice. So is the Bronze International Award (Duke of Edinburgh) for students in Year 10, Silver Award for those in Year 11 and Gold Award for Years 12 and 13 students. The Scouts CCA was established last year for students between the ages of 10 and 14 — as they go camping, fire lighting, campfire cooking, learn first aid, complete badges, they are evolving into responsible and resilient learners.
Former student Jazie Zaini remembers being part of the Eco-JIS programme, Osprey House student council and a fundraising campaign for Charity Water (now a yearly Earth Day tradition). The exposure helped her channel the inner leader in her and land the role of Head Girl at Sixth Form, despite being relatively new to JIS then.
She finds her IB Diploma experience equally enriching. “Opting for the IB prepared me for real-life experiences too,” she explains. “It made me understand that there needs to be balance between academics/career and social life to really enjoy life. That is why I think the core subjects of the IB — Theory of Knowledge, CAS (Creative, Active and Service) and Extended Essay — are really special in this Diploma.”
This foundation helped her land the coveted role of Brunei delegate for a couple of international events such as Korea-ASEAN Youth Winter Olympics, ASEAN Tourism Conference and YSEALI Academic Fellowship. Today, she aims to inspire more youth to follow in her path of service learning and community engagement — right here at JIS as an Environmental Education Graduate Assistant.
Standouts within and beyond campus grounds.
In Year 11, Krish joined the House Green Business programme, selling raw honey from the JIS garden to parents and children. “Although selling was the ultimate reason for me joining, I did fall in love with the process of harvesting honey,” he explains. “It involved lots of garden work i.e. growing organic plants and building an eco-friendly sustainable water irrigation system to create a suitable garden space for stingless bees to thrive in.”
Within a few months, he was made House Business CEO and helped his House win the COBIS Green Award 2020, a testament of their numerous efforts to save the environment.
One of Krish’s most treasured memories so far is a weekend trip to the heart of Brunei’s treasured jungle, Temburong, led by the Housemaster Chris Darwent. “A dreaded weekend here is truly what brings out the ‘man’ in our boys,” he shares. “It really is the mantelpiece experience that instills that ‘Hawk House leader’ within them.”
Once he graduates, he plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in commerce with a major in business information systems at a university in Sydney. Then, a career in commercial blockchain and a position at the forefront of the global digital revolution. With the leadership traits JIS has instilled in him, he is well on his way.