Student voice 29 Jan 2019


By Elena Chamorro, grade 12
Photograph by CIS Communications

SEE ME is a short film that aims to educate the CIS community (students, teachers, and parents) about the lives of our maintenance staff, and to provoke more respect for them. As someone who takes the MRT to school every day, I often walked past our guards and janitors on the way into school and began to wonder what their stories were. I often asked myself what kind of person it made me if I didn't know the people I saw every day and I couldn't find an answer. So what could be better than asking them myself?

The most important thing for me was to ensure the video was captivating, and that the audience didn't feel bullied into caring. I worked with Kai Franks (grade 12), another senior, who wrote the score for the film, and helped me find the tone of the piece. I wanted viewers to hear a call to action and to feel inspired to change their behavior after watching the film, and Kai's score helped execute this with its Hans Zimmer-like feel. In addition to Kai, I'd like to thank Andrea Bertoncelli from the Communications and Marketing department for letting me borrow (and teaching me to use) our school's more advanced video equipment. Unlike other interactions I've had with adults in tech-related fields, Andrea was kind and generous, even staying after school to make sure the interviews went well. Additionally, I'd like to thank all the staff featured in the video - Mr Goh, Ms Mandi, and Mr Padmanathan - for taking breaks from their busy work days to provide interviews and for trusting me with their stories.

I can honestly say that by the end of filming, I gained an even larger sense of respect for the staff at CIS, not only because of the difficulty of their jobs, but because of their profound empathy towards those who continue to perpetuate stigmas on them due to their job titles. I think the amount of understanding and care these staff members have for others can be a lesson to all of us - that even if all we have time for is a simple "good morning" or "thank you", it is worth it to make people feel seen.