CES-AID: Teachers volunteer time and talent for a good cause
CES teachers and social programme organisers known as 'yellow shirts' volunteer their time and talent to perform a charity concert for their students.
The aim is simple: to raise money for charity and have a great time doing it!
The event has come to be known as CESAID.
Our Miracle Fruit
The first of these events was in 2012. The greater CES family, including schools in Oxford, Wimbledon, Worthing, Leeds, and Dublin, were to devise ways to raise money for charity. The initiative benefitted from the great energy and drive of the school's owners. In Dublin, two CES teachers were musicians, and so their respective bands performed a concert. People came. Tickets were sold. It was a great success.
Across all CES schools, more than €11,000 was raised for Soul Of Haiti in the wake of the tragic events of 2010.
The following summer, the social programme again invited an end of year concert. This time CES Dublin raised €8,791 for Soul of Haiti. A teacher from CES subsequently travelled to Haiti to witness the 2013 funds in action, taking part in the construction and painting of a new school in Ile A Vache along with a team of doctors, nurses and tradesmen. While there, she also helped to start the process of building a database of children in the school and the adjacent orphanage for the Sponsor a Child Project.
The following year, the format of the event changed to become a sort of variety show, which created some logistical challenges. Every year, songs have to be selected, learned, and rehearsed. Tickets have to be sold, and the event has to be promoted to students. Equipment has to be humped and set up. It's fun seeing first-time performers negotiating with sound checks, sound men and monitors in a well-equipped and professionally-run venue like The Grand Social.
At a typical CESAID night, teachers and 'yellow shirts' volunteer to sing, dance, DJ, or do face painting, or just attend to cheer on their colleagues. Others give up their free time for rehearsals in the run-up to the event. The show largely consists of a kind of live-band karaoke, with teachers and 'yellow shirts' singing the hits, ably backed by a group of teacher-musicians. This 'house band' has christened itself The P45s somewhere along the way, so-named for those precarious moments when the lights and the applause conspire to coax out the more rock n' roll side of the performers' personalities.
Ultimately, the students and attendees are the heart of the night. If people didn't come along and so generously lend their fun and enthusiasm (not to mention their hard-earned ticket money), it simply couldn't happen. Thankfully, it has become a fixture and a favourite in the school's social calendar.
The funds raised since 2014 have gone to St. Paul's school in Lahore, with the result that several children per year who may not otherwise have continued their formal schooling have had their annual fees paid and books purchased by CESAID funds. It is a tradition to present a cheque at the end of the summer and to receive letters of thanks from those pupils in Lahore whose continued education is supported by the 'scholarship'.
In total, more than €40,000 has been raised for charity by CESAID events since 2012.