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One JIS: The Spirit of ‘Merah Putih’

Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) students spent their second week of the 2022/23 academic year paying tribute to our host country with a series of Independence Day celebrations!

Indonesia marked its 77th year of independence on Wednesday, August 17, and JIS dedicated the days before and after to community-building, fun-filled activities demonstrating our deep ties to and appreciation for this beautiful archipelago we call home. All of our campuses were dotted with the national colors of merah-putih (red and white), with vibrant Indonesian flags adorning the hallways and Dragons of all ages — students, staff, and teachers — coming to school dressed in red and white.

More than ten JIS elementary students hold Indonesia's flag craft

“It’s wonderful to have everyone at our campuses [...] celebrating this really important time, Independence Day, and all of us being together,” said JIS Head of School Maya Nelson. “This year the theme for Indonesian Independence Day is Pulih Lebih Cepat, Bangkit Lebih Kuat [Recover Faster, Rise Stronger]. I think those are really amazing words; important for the country and for JIS as well.”

Our JIS Elementary School Dragons at PEL and PIE kicked off the festivities on Tuesday, August 16, with a flag-raising ceremony and singing of the national anthem, “Indonesia Raya”. An invigorating day of traditional games followed, enlivened by Indonesian children’s songs led by PIE and PEL’s Bahasa Indonesia teachers. 

At JIS Middle School, Independence Day celebrations took place on Thursday, August 18. After opening remarks by Middle School Noah Bohnen and Ms. Nelson, the Bali Stage became a vibrant source of music with the help of our very own Panorama Choir, whose blended harmonies led students through “Indonesia Raya” and several national songs. Student performers then paid tribute to the rich artistic traditions of the archipelago by doing the Saman dance from Aceh province. The entire Middle School — students, teachers, administrators, and staff — joined in the fun by following the moves to a line dance from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) called Maumere. It took a few practice steps, but everyone got into the swing of it to rival any flash mob!

“This is a special day for Indonesia. And it’s a really great opportunity for a country that’s so spread out to come together and show a lot of national pride,” Mr. Bohnen said. “Many of us here are guests, and this is one of the ways we are able to connect to our host country and host country staff. It’s a great way to show our enthusiasm and respect by celebrating [Independence Day] with them.”

Finally, JIS High School concluded the week-long commemoration on Friday, August 19, with a special assembly at the Fine Arts Theater (FAT). Leaders of the JIS HS Indonesian Club welcomed audience members and thanked them for taking part in the spirit of tujuhbelasan (Independence Day) by wearing red and white or batik to school. Ms. Nelson made an appearance to share with us her personal connections to JIS and Indonesia, then handed the stage over to the JIS HS Choir’s performance of the national anthem, followed by students reading the Proclamation of Independence.  

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who was involved with the festivities in each division!