Every year, Shanghai American School Puxi hosts its International Fair. The annual event raises money for the PTSA, with school clubs able to earn funds through their games and food sold.
Although similar to the carnival we host here in SAS Pudong, it has in the past, entertained a large number of Chinese locals, and in some years, the number of locals has exceeded the number of international students. Yet this year, in order to mill down traffic and promote this event towards international students, it was only open to those with a SAS ID Card – others only able to enter in the company of a SAS student while having to pay 20RMB. The change was especially obvious. Usually, it was jam packed, hard to move around, and lines for food took at least fifteen minutes. But this time, it was more calm, and everyone seem more relaxed at the non-frantic environment. “I’m so glad SAS made this a rule, I can finally get food quickly” quipped one student.
Midway through, there was a performance by two from the Jaracanda School for Orphans in Malawi and a SAS Puxi student, Chelsea. Since 2009, Robert Burke, a Shanghai American School teacher began establishing fundraisers and raising awareness about the situation at hand. The efforts made by Mr Burke and much of SAS Community resulted in a rapid development of the facilities and living conditions in this area of Malawi, and established a strong partnership and friendship between the Jaracanda School and SAS Puxi. The upbeat, hip hop dance represented how SAS was a school who believed in community service as more than just monetary aid, but a way to bond two extremely different communities.
Overall, the International Fair was a success – with the decline of Chinese locals and less crowding as well as the numerous games, food vendors and lastly, the dance performance that really demonstrated how community service in SAS extends to more than just fundraising and providing supplies, but the importance of integrating those into our society as well.