The 2017-2018 academic school year began just over a month ago at the Xavier Jesuit School in Sisophon Cambodia. This year, we welcomed two more Grade 7 classes on top of the Grade 8 class to our secondary school. The school year began on the 16th of October 2017 and as part of the curriculum, each high school grade has two hours of Agriculture Classes a week scheduled into their weekly time-table.
It has only been just over a month and the vegetable garden is thriving. They are almost readied for harvesting. Each class is assigned three to four rows of garden-bed and they get to plant the vegetables and herbs of their choice.
During the months of January and February, Ms. Sona Yom and the kindergarten teachers at both schools, Dey Lo and Phnom Bak, are keen that all the children learn how to plant trees and vegetables. The children are eager planters. Many families can create small plots close to their houses. Even though the area here is poor, the earth is fertile and rich in nutrients for trees and plants. However during the dry season, it is difficult to find water unless one has prepared ponds from the previous year’s rainy season.
On the 19th of May, a group of students from Wah Yan Hong Kong Jesuit school and three teachers came to do one day of volunteer work at the Dey Lo Kindergarten school. They helped to clear weeds and brush from one area of the school grounds and then they planted some trees on this ground. These trees will eventually provide more shelter from the heat for the children playing around the school and provide fresher air for them to breathe. It is a long-term project. No children will remember the names of the Wah Yan students but many children will benefit from their one day’s volunteer work.
In order to protect the roads and to create a green campus, Br. Paul Nguyen and Mr. Louth Vuthy have been supervising the planting of over 600 new trees all around the school site. This means that we have planted over 1000 trees since the start of the project. Some of these trees are hard wood trees and they have been planted near the ponds so that they can be watered during the dry season. They will provide shade. Most of the other trees are local varieties or ordinary trees which can survive long dry periods without water. As time goes on, we will discover which varieties grow best on our land and which do not grow well. The Campus already, looks much greener than last year!
On Tuesday, the 3rd of March 2015 at 3.00 p.m. in the afternoon, the Governor’s office gathered the officials from the Departments of the Environment, Water Resource Management, Mines and Energy, Fishery and Forestry and Development to visit the school site. The Governor had already given permission two months ago to the Xavier Jesuit School Project to take earth from the bottom of the river to use as land-fill. The first 5000 cubic metres had been taken to use as land-fill area around the primary school site. These officials came to inspect the work and assess the possible impact on the environment.
The four members of the school team, Fr. Ashley, Br. Toeun, Ms. Sonai and Ms. Lucia together with Ms. Ponchacka of our Education Mission Leadership Team (EMLT) traveled to St. Ignatius College review in Sydney from the 8th-12 of July 2014. This school hosted a Colloquium for leaders of Jesuit schools across the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. Nearly 100 principals and board members participated in this Colloquium on the theme of “Reconciliation with Creation.”