HS Friday Bulletin March 9

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This week let’s start with the excellent news that Mr. Berg and his wife Holly have just added to our Bearcat family with the latest Bearkitten! Here’s the message that I received from Mr. Berg on Sunday: “Just wanted to let you know that this morning at 2:25am Holly gave birth to a perfect little girl. Both Holly and the baby are doing extraordinarily well. We are both enamored by her. She is about two and a half weeks early, so we were totally caught off guard…hence the lack of a name. But we are still deciding between Tozey, Tozella, Tozeaura, or Tozeanne.” My own name front-runners were “Ice”, “Ham”, and because Mr. Berg teaches AP US History, “Gettys”. They have since decided on Lucille Dare Berg. Well done and congratulations to Blair and Holly and welcome Lucille. Fantastic news!

IASAS Cultural Convention came to an end last Saturday evening here in Manila, in Singapore for Debate/Forensics and in Taipei for Music. I’d like to share with you here our successes from these 3 events.

ISM hosted 3 jam packed days of wonderful art workshops to celebrate our IASAS Cultural Convention. Artists curated an exhibition with artworks from our 6 IASAS schools and also attended the Art Fair, hosted in Glorietta. This field trip was warmly received by both students as well as coaches and there were many comments about the high quality of contemporary Filipino artwork as well as selected International artists that was shown. Students filled their sketchbooks with ideas and made new connections. Our next exciting event opened Wednesday, March 7th. Our IB2 Art exhibition is on display through March 20th. Please visit the show!

Also here in Manila, in the Fine Arts Theatre, we were absolutely blown-away by the ISM talent from both our Dance and our Drama delegates. The dancers treated us to a wonderful display of their ability which this year included bungees and trampolines as they stretched, spun and swung their way to “Escape”. The Drama students exposed us all to every emotion in the book, with clever humor and equally subtle use of their own reverie to pull on our heartstrings. I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in wiping aware a tear for both of these outstanding performances. Well done everyone.

Farther afield, the musicians were in Taipei – let’s first hear from Mr. Joya who travelled with the IASAS Strings team. “So happy to share that all of our IASAS Strings delegates really did a great job in delivering a top-notch performance last week. 5 out of 8 Strings delegates got shortlisted for solo performances and our String Octet also made it for the finale concert. Adam Zhou, Misaki Kanamori and Kimberly Rush (Violin); Ye Jin Jang (Viola); Hee Seo Kim (Cello); Adam Zhou, Misaki Kanamori, Yuni Kim, Kimberly Rush, Ye Jin Jang, Aleksei Zhukov, James Yu, and Hee Seo Kim (String Octet).”

Ms. Provencher reported that “The ISM Vocal delegation received high praise from the adjudicators regarding their expressive singing, beautiful tuning, outstanding dynamics and rhythmic control. Each singer received positive feedback for their solo performances regarding tone quality, expression, and language skills. One solo performer, Stephanie Harrison, was selected to sing in the Showcase. The vocal octet was also chosen to perform. Singers also had the opportunity to rehearse in a larger ensemble under director Richard Gill and appreciated his wise feedback and advice not only in the ensemble, but also regarding their solo and octet performances. The passion and dedication of all involved in the convention left the students feeling an amazing bond with each other and resulting in an energizing final performance. ISM Vocal Delegates: Emma Stewart, Yojana Narang, (Soprano), Stephanie Harrison, Jayne Reines, (Alto), Bryan Baik, Elias Groff, (Tenor), Alessio Santiago, Jack Cariaso, (Bass)” She went on to say “Congratulations to our piano delegates: Irene Lee, Lance Tan, and Zhaoyang (Jack) Sun. Each delegate performed a solo piece for adjudication as well as served as the accompanist to a strings, band, or vocal delegate in their respective solo performances. Both Lance and Jack took part in a Master Class offered by the piano adjudicators. Special recognition goes to Irene, who was selected to perform her solo in the Festival Concert and received a standing ovation for her performance of Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor.”

Also in Taipei the ISM Band delegates according to Mr. Nazareno “did an awesome job in their respective solo pieces and ensemble groups. The adjudicators gave praise and tips to our students who felt like they were being taught instead of being critiqued. Ah Yeon Jeong, our senior flutist, was selected to perform her “Carnaval de Venise” in the showcase concert. The band enjoyed their guest conductor Dr. Andrew Boysen and, during their first time performing the “Three Folk Songs” didn’t just play the piece, but also sang – later, they said that they matched the festival choir! Some of the veterans met with old friends from last year and the newbies made new friends and connections. They were also appreciated by their host families who said that they would love to host them again. The ISM Band (Magic 8) are: Ah Yeon Jeong, Seo Young Oh (Flute), Soung Il Yang (Clarinet), Byeong Lee (A. sax), Robbie Villarica (Trumpet), Sonwon Park (F. Horn), Joachim Rillo (Euphonium), Amy Hong (Tuba). The non- seniors of this group told me that they are already preparing for next year’s IASAS in SAS. I am proud to be their band coach.”

Meanwhile, in Singapore… Upon their return, Mr. Marshall was beaming as he recounted that “The ISM Debate Team “A” had a great tournament. They won all 5 of their debates in the preliminary round and beat ISKL in the semi-final and SAS in the final. They were cool, calm and collected throughout and did ISM proud. Abhinav Bathula won the best speaker of the tournament and was integral to the win, and his teammates Andrew Cabangon and Aldrin Aujero were excellent.” For Oral Interpretation, Ms. Debettencourt told me that “the rooms and other OI speakers were full of doom and gloom. Isabella Leak’s piece “Love is a Fallacy” by Max Schulman was a humorous piece that filled the rooms with laughter. I had a judge come up to me at the end of the competition and say, “I’ve seen her three times and it still makes me laugh. It was a piece I looked forward to hearing when I saw her in the room.” Another judge said, “I’ve read that piece before but never like that. Next time I read it it’s going to be so much more fun!”” Ms. Debettencourt went on to say, “Isabella won silver because she brought the characters to life in a way that was engaging and moving and rocked it!” Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to medal in the other events at the Debate & Forensics convention this year – I am confident therefore, that the field must have been extremely strong as I know that the caliber of our other ISM delegates was amazing again this year. Andrea Lee, Dana Teves and Nicole Westfall (OO); Kae Li Khoo, Isabella (Charlotte) Leak and Tusshara Nalakumar (OI); Calvin (Kaiwen) Zhang, Janel Perez and Sam Mamaril (Extemp); Ishani Sharma, Liz (Si Yeon) Song and Kody (Kirk) Tinga (Impromptu); Keerthana Bathula, Anoop Gunawardhena and Jason (Gerald) Cruz (Debate Team B). Well done to these Debate/Forensics delegates and a big thank you to their coaches: Andrea Thompson (OO); Wendy Debettencourt (OI); Dylan Marshall (Debate A); Ai Wang (Debate B); Preston Spradling (Extemp), Justin Cook (impromptu). Well done everyone.

Thanks to all the parents that came along to last Tuesday’s “Screenagers” Parent Coffee and also to Mr. Collett and our Grade Level Coordinators (GLCs) for putting together the workshops and discussions for our students around this topic of screen-time. I thought that the documentary was quite balanced and not “preachy”. It also gave the parents something to think about as we were reminded that we are role-models for our kids and must also act responsibly with our own devices. There will be a follow-up session to this screening in the April 3rd Parent Coffee, where some of our GLCs will be on hand to facilitate a discussion on our thoughts and ideas that surround this topic.

Looking forward to next week, Miguel Syjuco Ph.D returns to ISM to work with students on creative writing, journalism, and literary study of his novel Ilustrado. Mr. Syjuco’s novel won the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize, the Palanca Award, and was a New York Times notable book in 2010. He is a journalist for The New York Times in addition to freelance reporting for The Guardian, Boston Review, Rappler, BBC and more. Mr. Syjuco also works as Assistant Professor of Practice, Literature, and Creative Writing at NYU Abu Dhabi. His return marks our 4th year working with Mr. Syjuco to incorporate more Filipino voices into our curriculum and to give our students real world connections to literature, journalism, and the power and importance of language. On Monday March 12th in the Little Theater at 3:0pm, Mr. Syjuco will deliver a reading from recent journalism followed by a Q&A session with the audience. This event is open to HS and MS, ISM Students and Parents.

As mentioned last week, the most important event of the PCA’s calendar, the annual PCA International Night, is coming up soon – Saturday, March 17th. It is the biggest fundraiser of the entire year for the PCA so please come along and enjoy an afternoon of celebration of national dance in an international setting. The members of the various countries, regions and cultural groups represented at ISM come together to proudly show off their art, music and food. It is a spectacular showcase of multiculturalism that is unique in our school community. The event starts with a cultural show at the FAT. The theme this year is “Holidays Around the World” and in line with this theme, you can sample the delicious holiday cuisine of the 38 participating countries at the International Buffet that follows the show. The Cultural show starts promptly at 4:30pm at the FAT. The International Buffet follows right after at 6:00pm in the ES Gym.

I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal