Bermuda High School’s Round Square Day 

Posted: 31 July 2018

Bermuda Round Square day

Round Square Rep, Frances Cook, outlines how a change in format to the school’s Round Square Day has allowed students to better realise the spirit of the IDEALS, whilst helping embed Round Square deeper into the fabric of school life.

Author and position: Frances Cook, Round Square Coordinator, Teacher of IB Diploma Biology and Science 

School: Bermuda High School (BHS) is an IB day school based in the city of Hamilton serving 636 girls from 4- 18 years old, Boys 16-18. It is 123 years-old and is the only girls’ school on the island. 


Bermuda High School (BHS) has run Round Square Days since the school became a global member in 2005. In recent years, however, the school has changed the format to better reflect the spirits in the IDEALS. 

In its previous guise, Round Square Day acted as an ‘international day’ where students (of all ages) would decorate their classrooms along the theme of an allocated country, dress in a variety of traditional costumes, dine on dishes from around the world, and learn a little of the culture of nations around the world. Colleagues observed that the format was a little superficial, the structure – chaotic at times, and resulted in limited learning opportunities for the students. 

On becoming Round Square Rep two years ago, I worked with the student leaders to change the format. Round Square Day at BHS is now a chance for the school community to work together to incorporate the IDEALS into projects which benefit the local community and celebrate our membership of this unique and dynamic organisation. Student leaders are responsible for organising the day, giving them a chance to learn valuable leadership and teamwork skills, and strengthen relationships between their peers. Two students, who had returned from the International Conference at Chadwick, eager to support an idea that they had learned at the event, inspired the format of the day. The new structure also includes a ‘build a bike’ initiative. 


The new Round Square Day takes place annually in November; a time when the children are free of exams, the hurricane season has ended, and the weather is warm but not too hot. It also acts as an enjoyable lead-in to the Christmas spirit of giving back and community engagement. 

The organisational committee is, in effect, the school student committee: 2 head students from IB2, 4 deputies (IB1) and 14 Year 11 prefects, games captains or House leaders. Previously, Round Square activities had been organised by a separate committee but this had the drawback of positioning Round Square as a side-line club. By working with the existing school-wide student body, Round Square could be embedded into the heart of school operations. 

Planning begins a year before the event with the students themselves designing the format of the day. They brainstorm ideas of what they would like to do based on the themes that we set together (this year, the IDEALS focus was around Leadership, Environmentalism and Service). The students are then responsible for researching the opportunities and contacting the organisations with whom they would like to work.  

We were grateful for the help of an individual linked to a non-profit called Keep Bermuda Beautiful, to identify sites on the island in need of support and evaluate those areas with safety and logistical considerations in mind. 

Students were allocated to projects based on the parish that they live in on the island (there are nine in total). The idea was that they give back to the area where they live but also meet and get to know other students in different year groups who also live in that parish. This also helps with logistics as we can draw upon parents and teachers to help transport the children to and from their venues.  

Students work in mixed-age group teams, in order to experience different personalities and perspectives, and learn a little of what makes a team work well. 

The student leaders and I met at lunch every fortnight throughout the year, and weekly as the event drew closer. The Head and Assistant Head of Secondary would attend these meetings, imbuing them with a gravity that helped ensure their importance was recognised and progress was made. 

Key areas that we discussed were logistics – access to shelter and toilets  –  and also the format of the day to ensure there were enough activities in each parish to make the student teams’ input worthwhile. 


Groups of students (with at least one staff representative) were assigned to a location in their home parish for a morning clean-up of their area, and in the afternoon, they engaged in Barazza Groups and various service projects around the island.  

This year, our day began with a team building activity led by student leaders with ideas from Leadership expert, Mike Webber, for example. 

Everybody Up 

This is a progressive initiative. Divide groups into pairs and have them sit opposite each other in the ground holding hands and touching feet. The objective is for both people to stand up at the exact same time. After a pair has succeeded, they then will join with another pair and attempt to stand up with a group of four. After four succeed, go to groups of 8 then 16, and finally the whole group stands up at the same time. Students must hold hands in such a manner that if there was an electric current, it would go through all members without breaking the circuit. Students must also have feet touching in a similar manner. 

2 Truths and a Lie 

Each person has to make three statements about themselves – 2 truths and one lie. The rest of the group must try to figure out which statement is not true. 

The morning clean-up took place in 12 locations across the Island removing trash from areas such as beaches, parks and railway trails and resulted in us collecting 117 bags of trash by the end of the morning. The students were tasked with gathering donations for their trash collection to fund the purchase of the bike kits. The bikes were put together by Year 6 students, with IB2 support, then donated to children in need, ahead of the holiday season.  

Some of the afternoon community service projects included a clean-up at Masterworks Museum in the Botanical Gardens and the removal of invasive plant species on Trunk Island. Groups of students also took part in a clean and tidy-up of the Meals on Wheels headquarters, painted a mural, and helped with cleaning and weeding at Wind Reach, an organisation that enriches the lives of people with special needs. Children were also assigned to local government schools supporting younger children with their reading, art classes and games. At one school, they were involved in ‘levelling’ an entire library’s worth of books (sorting the books into age groups), passing on their recommendations of suitable literature for different ages. Others enjoyed reading and visiting residents at a home for the elderly. 

The student leaders wrote the questions for the Barazza discussions and invited the students to debate these questions: 



We asked all of our student leaders and staff to complete an evaluation survey, which confirmed our own view that the girls enjoyed the new format as it is more ‘hands on’. We were surprised to learn, however, that the students even enjoyed the ‘mundane’ activities, such as pulling out weeds or cleaning cupboards, as they could see the result and the positive impact it had on staff who worked in these areas. In fact, some of the day’s beneficiaries were so grateful for the students’ help, they have asked to donate a beautiful artwork book to every single pupil who supported them. 

It was also evident that students and staff benefited from seeing each other in different environments. They bonded through the experience of working towards a task and seeing the fruits of their labour. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to work with others, especially with children in the primary schools. To follow are some of the comments from the evaluation: 

In the barazzas, the girls were very talkative and eager to share their answers, and we had some great discussions. The girls said that they enjoyed the strong emphasis of teamwork through our activities.

The day was also a great opportunity for developing students’ leadership skills (some of the staff were pleased to report that on the day itself, they ‘did nothing’!). Prior to the day, we ran some leadership workshops which helped set the frame and expectations for how we expected the children to lead. We wanted the students themselves to be excellent role models for the other girls in their team. Yet we were still taken aback by the girls’ ingenuity in responding to leadership challenges on the day. One example springs to mind of a girl who was sitting away from the group playing with her phone and watching yoga videos. The student leader observed this and invited the girl to run a quick yoga session with the whole team as part of a short rest from their volunteering exercise. Calling on her help got her re-engaged in the process and ready to be part of the team again. 

I have to give it up to the girls as Round Square Day was really what they made it. I also have to mention our student leader’s super positive and upbeat energy, which the girls matched and added to the success of the day. The Year 8s were especially enthusiastic, but generally the whole group was great to work with. I am super proud of how it turned out. We are also very grateful for our amazing support system of teachers.

As a school, I feel that the day has further embedded Round Square into the fabric of the school, helped communicate the essence of Round Square and given a real purpose to the day. 

The Future

The themes for next year will link into the RSIC 2018 theme “Bring Your Difference”. Whilst still drawing upon the student leadership model, we hope to focus on Internationalism and Diversity in the morning with a half day Service focus in the afternoon. The service projects will be in some of the same venues but hopefully extending the range even more. The current Head Student and three IB students have been on a diversity conference and we will be meeting with them to formulate our plans for next year’s diversity sessions.  



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