Student Life
Students for Students: A Matter of Wellbeing + Sustainability
By: Kaitlin Shum '24
Discover how students at HKIS empower each other through participation in the Wellbeing and Sustainability Board.
Within the High School, students are becoming more conscientious about their health and wellbeing. Often times, in a high stress environment and the external pressure of college and university admissions, students can forget that their mental and physical health are the keys to success. And with that, a healthy environment is the key to a healthy future. At HKIS, there are two student organizations that address these important issues: The Student Wellbeing Board ensures that our student body doesn't overlook the importance of treating our minds and bodies in healthy ways. The Student Sustainability Board helps HKIS better take care of the environment.
Led by students for students, the Sustainability and Wellbeing Boards each have their own responsibilities and initiatives they plan throughout the year. Each board comprises multiple leaders, including Jane Poon (Sustainability Board) and Valentina Jarkas (Wellbeing Board).
The Sustainability Board is an ExCo (Executive Council)- affiliated board that aims to make HKIS more sustainable by augmenting environmental practices, programs and policies into everyday life. A recent initiative was the Sustainability Day on April 28, an awareness day filled with interactive games and activities.. The board is also working to implement new Eco-Classroom norms across all divisions, such as eliminating all single use plastics from sports games! “ I think it’s our duty to do as much as we can to protect nature, as this planet is out past, present, and future. It is beautiful, and we need to preserve it for generations to come.” says Jane Poon.

Smile! The Wellbeing Board group photo
Similarly, the Wellbeing Board creates and organizes initiatives to boost the wellbeing of the High School student body and fosters a school community that values the importance of physical and mental health. Although wellbeing is hard to quantify in terms of progress, weekly surveys and holding discussions on mental health has been a good way for the board to see what is effective and what needs improvement. In a time of stressful AP exams and looming deadlines, the Wellbeing Board encourages students (and teachers!) to take a step back away from the stressors of school and work. A popular initiative held by the board are “Gratitude Grams”, where students delivered cards and candy to their classmates as a way of showing gratitude toward each other. The activity was a success, and the student body can’t wait to take part in it again soon!

It is incredible to see High School students take on ambitious goals for the good of the community, and seeing these changes are inspiring future students to take part as well. For Valentina, joining the Wellbeing Board was a way to give back to the community. As a Freshman, she saw the challenges of COVID in the community and how the Wellbeing Board was an integral part of the transition between online and offline school. She wanted to be a part of the journey of making the community a more inclusive and open environment and give back to the school that has been her home for the last 12 years.

“I feel really inspired by the passion of our board members, and it makes me feel really hopeful for the future.”

Valentina Jarkas