News from Schools September 28, 2020

Coming Full Circle: Enter To Learn, Leave to Serve

John was a scholar at SJI International from 2008-2009. He was active in service as a student and received the Distinguished Service Award in 2008 for his dedication to community service. After studying economics and education in university, he is currently working as a teacher at a Lasallian school in Malaysia.

This article is also published in the 2020 issue of Infinitas – the official magazine of the SJI International Alumni Association – which will be available soon.


Having graduated from SJII’s pioneer IBDP cohort back in 2009, I can certainly imagine that this short piece is going to be placed next to ones from amazing globetrotters who have moved and shook the world in their own ways. My path will surely come as a more modest one, but I am glad that I have taken it, nonetheless.

I personally think that holistic education is one that is supposed to mould you beyond the classroom, and I cannot help but feel that my experiences in SJII back in 2008-2009 had shaped me into the person that I am today. From learning from my teachers to becoming a teacher myself, from being a hostel student to becoming a hostel manager, from playing volleyball to coaching volleyball, from receiving a scholarship to helping with the scholarship process, and from participating in service activities to organising them for others, life seems to have come full circle for me as I currently teach in a Lasallian school in Malaysia and organise service programs for youths.

My teachers have always been an inspiration to me, and I believe many of you (if not all) would agree that we have been abundantly blessed with good teachers at SJII. I was already certain that I wanted to be involved in education since I was in IB, but after pursuing my degree in Economics at The University of Queensland in Australia, I felt that I needed some life experience before becoming an educator so I decided to join Intel as a Finance Business Analyst. It was a good experience seeing how large multinationals function and how their processes have been streamlined for efficiency. Later, I also tried my hand at entrepreneurship by starting an escape room in my hometown as well as a hobby cafe! It was a vastly different experience working in such a small team and having to design processes myself! Nevertheless, they were all interesting endeavours that I treasure and have brought with me into my teaching (Economics).

I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to study at SJII and find my path in life. Having the opportunity to give back in this little way has certainly been the highlight of my journey so far in my career. There have surely been ups and downs, but I am enjoying my teaching despite the obvious weight that I have gained since my IBDP days! Thank you to all the amazing teachers and staff at SJII for the holistic education that you worked so hard to offer. It seems that your efforts were not in vain after all (I hope)!

John Ooi, SJI International Class of 2009

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