ACS_Giving_Report_2020 | Page 15

SAF started as an alumni initiative back in the spring of 2014 and 15 funding rounds have been held over 7 school years since then . The mission of SAF is to support student projects and initiatives by providing financial help in the role of a donor agency , professional project guidance and mentoring throughout the full project cycle . Our aim is to build a community of committed alumni , parents , and ACS staff members who are eager to dedicate efforts for creating an environment of professionalism , citizenship and innovation , and curiosity outside of the classroom .
Throughout the last academic year the SAF committee once again had the chance to meet and support diverse student ideas growing into successful projects . In the fall of 2019 , 16 projects were introduced to the committee and 13 of them were approved for funding , which amounted to a total of over BGN 5,000 . These included both events which have become traditional to the ACS culture , such as the international science festival FISSION and the ACS Debates competition , as well as new ideas , including the organization of a photography exhibition and the establishment of a new musical club in ACS .
The second SAF funding round for the academic year was held in the spring of 2020 , when 5 new project proposals were introduced to the committee . The spring round was also an opportunity for some of the more complex projects approved at the fall round to once again be presented and receive additional funding . A total of BGN 3,465 were approved for disbursement .
The closing of all schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 , however , made the realization of most of the projects impossible . The Debates Tournament , the Career Fair , FISSION and others were all to happen in the period of March and April , but had to move online . That is why , SAF provided students with the option of using their funding and realizing their projects in the following academic year .
Luckily , just weeks before the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Bulgaria , the Human Rights Mock Trial took place . The event was organized for a second consecutive year by ACS students of the Class of 2020 and included a series of workshops and simulations of a trial in front of the European Court of Human Rights . The mock trial received funding of BGN 700 and extended mentorship from the SAF committee , which helped for the event ’ s success .
Another bright idea which immediately triggered the attention of the SAF committee was the creation of a new musical club in ACS , focused on playing boomwhackers — a modern musical instrument , first introduced by the Harvard music society . The project received funding from SAF in the amount of BGN 300 and was preparing to perform at the traditional ACS Arts Fest .
“ It is only after graduating ACS in 2016 that I was fully capable of understanding what this community meant to me . The great number of talented students and the variety of opportunities that ACS provides them , create an atmosphere of growth and inspiration . This is what we , at SAF , are trying to further motivate and support - that every student idea , no matter whether in the field of sports , arts , or community investment , gets the chance to become a successful project . In order to achieve this , students have to present and defend their ideas in front of the SAF committee , just like they would do in a real life scenario , when looking for funding of their startup , for example . Additionally , the committee , consisting of ACS parents and alumni from all specters of professional life , provides mentorship to each project , thus ensuring that a highest level of professionalism is taught and achieved by the bright students of ACS . This is indeed the personal incentive behind my participation in SAF - to nourish the leaders of tomorrow .”
Nicole Levakova ‘ 16 , SAF co-chair