Kanisius celebrates 90th anniversary, being a 'man for others'

Agnes Anya

The Jakarta Post


Jakarta   /  Fri, November 10, 2017  /  08:57 am

Old school: A student walks past the bust of Peter Canisius at the Canisius College school complex in Central Jakarta on Thursday. The school celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.(JP/Seto Wardhana)

Prestigious is how Kolese Kanisius, the all-male high school in Central Jakarta, is perceived by the majority of the public. 

But as the school celebrates its ninth decade this year, many people may be unaware of the school’s 4C of competence, conscience, compassion and commitment. These are the values students of the Catholic school, also known as CC — an abbreviation of Canisius College — are taught to adopt. 

“It is hoped these values will inspire the students to be leaders with faith. This faith is not limited to Catholicism alone, but includes other religions and even traditional beliefs,” said Joannes Heru Hendarto SJ, the school’s rector, adding that around 30 percent of the thousands of junior and senior high school students at CC were not Catholic. 

Muhammad Reza Imansyah, 17, is one of the non-Catholic students at the school. When it came to choosing a high school, Reza believed it was important to enroll in an institution where he could grow as “a man for others.”

This understanding motivated the 12th grader to choose Kolese Kanisius, five years ago.

Attending the Jesuit high school since seventh grade, Reza said he had not only developed academically but had also learned compassion through the school’s various programs and activities. 

“I discussed with my parents and we all agreed that Kolese Kanisius was where I should go because of its history of producing high-achieving students,” said Reza, who is a Muslim. “My parents are ok about it being a Catholic school. Moreover, I do not feel like I am being brainwashed to become a Catholic. I am still a devoted Muslim.”

He was even given time to perform Islamic prayers, particularly on Fridays when he was allowed to leave the school to attend a Friday mass prayer at the nearest mosque, he said.

Earlier this year he and his school friends — who are mostly Christians — lived for three days at a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Indramayu, West Java. 

There, he said, he witnessed that everyone could be good friends despite having different religions.

“For me, visiting a pesantren is normal but not for most of my friends. But I saw they could blend in well despite having a different religion. Some of my friends even cried when we had to go home,” said the aspiring civil engineer. 

The Catholic school, which was established on Jun. 1, 1927 by Dutch Jesuit priests, has produced well-known academics, government officials, politicians, entrepreneurs and athletes such as Rhenald Khasali, Erlangga Hartarto, Akbar Tandjung, Sofjan Wanandi and Ade Rai.

It has gained a reputation for being among the capital’s top high schools thanks to its long list of alumni who have become prominent figures.

Father Heru said the 4C values played an important role in shaping the students into people who not only worked to help themselves but also others. 

“Through these values, we strive to produce aspiring leaders who are not only competent but that also have a strong conscience,” said Heru. “If they have great skills but their inner voice is silent, what good are they?”

These values, he added, were instilled in the students through both in-classroom and outside activities.

For instance, every day before going home, the students are required to write a reflection on what they had been through that day. This serves as a moment for the students to engage in an internal dialogue with themselves and, thus, find out who they really are.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of CC’s dedication to Indonesia. Hence, the school and its alumni have held a series of celebrations under the theme “Bracing for the new century: the past reinvented, the future regenerated” since early this year. 

The celebrations will peak on Saturday, when the school will hold a full-day event featuring a student exhibition and arts performance at JIEXPO Kemayoran in Central Jakarta.