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HUMANS OF ISP: The People in our Community

  • News
  • Upper School

For this edition of HUMANS of ISP, it was a pleasure speaking with Lexi, an 11th-grader in her 8th year at The International School of Prague. Lexi is an extraordinary artist, scientist, and changemaker, with a deep passion for helping the homeless community in Prague. Check out our full interview and prepare to be inspired!

Hi Lexi! Thank you so much for finding the time to do this interview for Humans at ISP. You are certainly one of the busiest humans at ISP we’ve talked to this year! Tell us about all the things you have going on.

I’ve always been pretty busy and involved in many extracurricular activities.  I love acting and musical theater – I take classes through Prague Youth Theater.  I am also in the Speech and Debate Club, and I really like to compete.  I’ve been participating since I was in sixth grade.  I’m also part of the Knowledge Bowl team, and we’re heading to Bratislava next week to compete!  I also take ballet classes, sing and play the guitar. 

Wow! So you love the stage! Do you think you will pursue the arts professionally?

Actually, I really love the physical sciences and math.  They are my passions, and I hope to pursue them professionally.

 I actually just received a science internship at a Physics Institute in Prague.  I will be working with a postdoctoral scientist to learn about crystal diffraction and its many applications. 

I love my classes in school, but I really wanted to get a taste of what it would be like to work in a real-world laboratory.  Eventually, I will be able to run my own experiments and discover entirely new crystal structures. 

That’s incredible. And, in addition to all of these, you are ALSO working with Friendship Prague?! 

Yes!  I have always been interested in finding a way to help the homeless.  I lived in Seattle before we moved to Prague, and both cities have large homeless populations.  Seeing a similar situation in my new home inspired me to find ways to support the local homeless.  People sometimes don’t understand that anyone can become homeless and that being homeless is not a choice.  There are many reasons why people are homeless, such as lack of affordable housing, unemployment, and domestic violence.  However, breaking the cycle of homelessness is very difficult.

During COVID, my mom and I would order food from Rohlik to send to FriendShip Prague, where they would distribute it to local homeless shelters.  When COVID ended, I reached out to Renni, the founder of FriendShip Prague, to see if I could do more.

ISP has a large community of generous people who want to give back, and I knew that together, we could make an incredible difference in people’s lives.

She reached back out to me and said it would be great to organize a group at ISP, so I started a FriendShip Prague Club within the Community Service program in Upper School. 

We started running food and toiletries drives to collect durable items to distribute at the hostels where many homeless people temporarily stay.  I organized two food drives in 10th grade and a large drive in February when the Ukrainian crisis started.  I really wanted to help with both issues, so I ran a joint campaign for the Ukrainian refugees and the homeless.

We collected over 40 large boxes of durable food, clothing, and toiletries – it was amazing!  It was such an undertaking, but I had a lot of help from an amazing team of students too. 

And this past December, you ran the FriendShip Prague sock collection for the homeless?

Yes, this was our second year running the holiday stocking campaign, and we received a lot of socks this year – over 75!  It was really nice to see the entire school community participate through the Giving Tree.  The socks were filled with all sorts of toiletries and necessities for homeless people.  FriendShip Prague had a big celebration where they served warm food and handed out clothing, blankets, and the holiday stockings – it was a nice spreading holiday cheer to homeless friends in need.   

Part of what we do in the Friendship Prague group is to inspire younger students to get involved in service.

 Living in a country where you don’t speak the language, especially at a young age, makes it much more challenging to get involved.  We try to provide opportunities for younger grades to participate in our campaigns at ISP.  My FriendShip Prague team has worked with Ms. Snively’s 6th-grade advisory and Mr. Hayes’ 8th-grade advisory.  They have supported our team in spreading awareness about our campaigns throughout the Middle School and helped us sort, pack, and deliver the goods to the hostels and FriendShip Prague.  Ms. Dadiego and her 6th-grade advisory have also helped with the holiday stocking campaign.  

It’s lovely that your work is also about Inspiring younger students to get involved in Service. Thank you for being such an incredible role model for our community. 

How has being at ISP and living abroad shaped your outlook on the world? 

I really like the culture at ISP.  It always amazes me how many languages people speak – it’s so culturally diverse.  It’s also an inclusive and caring community where people really want to make a difference in the world.

Going to school here has expanded my curiosity and broadened my perspective globally.  It has made me a more open-minded person and you have to be open-minded to do service authentically.  

Your mindset and dedication is admirable, Lexi! You are a fantastic example of a curious, competent, compassionate changemaker! 

What does being a Changemaker mean to you?

I think anyone can be a changemaker. It’s about seeing problems in your community and wanting to make a difference, no matter the size.

It’s that willingness to try and help that matters the most.  Little changes can add up quickly over a short period of time and have a large impact.  Inspiring those around you to act makes you a changemaker, too.

My younger sister, Leila, helps me with my campaigns and started volunteering at FriendShip Prague.  She made me so proud when she said the other day, “Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for that one person.  And we can start to change the world one person at a time.”  She couldn’t be more right!