I recently had the pleasure of visiting Daystar Academy and photographing events, the school learning environment and the interactions of teachers with students. All of this will eventually be incorporated into a new website in the works. The school’s campus is pleasant enough and the staff helpful, but what truly struck me was the inviting nature of the school. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after a few encounters with students in the hallways, it dawned on me that what made the school so welcoming was the way the students politely greeted me.
As a parent, NGO employee and photographer in China, I’ve had numerous (dare I say countless) visits to schools. In most international schools, the experience has been one of a stranger looking into the fishbowl. At times, the students may be curious about my presence, but I don’t think I ever had a student randomly greet me who was not assigned the job of greeter in the first place. The students at Daystar didn’t grudgingly say "hi," they welcomed me as if I was entering their own home. In essence, I was part of their fishbowl. By this simple act, Daystar’s students made a tremendous first impression.