HS Friday Bulletin September 14

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Sept 14


Dear Parents and Guardians,

This week, we have had one of the counselors from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD), Mr. Glenn Hall, here at ISM to speak with the Grade 11 students about substance abuse and addiction. The message that I hope came across loud and clear to the students is that the risk of dependency (addiction) can be reduced significantly by delaying any use of addictive substances (drugs) for as long as possible; with 20 being the recommended age a person should wait until before they allow these substances to enter the body so that the brain does not develop a dependency upon them. Research suggests that by the age of 20 the brain’s prefrontal cortex is almost fully developed for most people (this part of the brain being responsible for addictive tendencies).

It was interesting to hear the list of drugs to which young people are most susceptible. It isn’t heroin or crack cocaine or crystal meth that are the most worry (although these are readily available here in Manila); it was the socially acceptable drugs of alcohol and the nicotine contained within cigarettes, Vapes and Juules, that our students come into contact with on a regular basis, which are classified as “gateway” drugs. These drugs can lead to addiction and may open the doors to the other aforementioned “hard drugs”.

In his two sessions with the Grade 11 students, Mr. Hall covered the following themes:
Session 1
• My story of addiction/ genetic predisposition.
• Media Literacy / how advertising companies target young people.
• Basic info on Marijuana/Alcohol
Session 2
• The Social Norms Approach/ Perception vs Reality
• The Truth about E cigarettes and vaping
• Early Intervention, how to help a friend/Role playing

I have linked the following student information sheets about these sessions below:
How to Help a Friend
Ten Steps to an Informal Intervention

And here are two factsheets for parents that cover some of these themes:
Parents Keeping Healthy Teens Healthy from Risky Alcohol Use
FCD Parenting for Prevention Factsheet

We also had an excellent session with parents on Tuesday morning during which time Mr. Hall shared some ideas with parents about this same topic. One of the publications on the FCD website summarized this session very well and I have taken an excerpt from this and included it below:

What families can do about underage alcohol use
While many teens drink alcohol, underage alcohol use is not inevitable. Families are not helpless to prevent it. Focus your efforts on the factors that protect teens from alcohol use. At the same time, you can work to reduce the factors that increase the chance that they will drink.

Support your teens and give them space to grow.
• Be involved in your teens’ lives. Be loving and caring.
• Encourage your teens’ growing independence, but set appropriate limits.
• Make it easy for your teens to share information about their lives.
• Know where your teens are, what they’re doing, who they’re with, and who their friends are.
• Find ways for your teens to be involved in family life, such as doing chores or caring for a younger brother or sister.
• Set clear rules, including rules about alcohol use. Enforce the rules you set.

Talk with your teens about alcohol use.
• When you talk with your teens about drinking, listen to them and respect what they say.
• Make clear your expectation that your teens will not drink.
• Teach your children about the dangers of underage drinking.
• Discuss laws about underage drinking, including the age law [18 here in the Philippines. MD]

Help your teens make good decisions about alcohol.
• Help your teens know how to resist alcohol.
• Help them find ways to have fun without alcohol.
• Do not give alcohol to your teens. Tell them that any alcohol in your home is off limits to them and to their friends.
• Don’t let your teens attend parties where alcohol is served. Make sure alcohol isn’t available at teen parties in your own home.
• Set clear rules about not drinking and enforce them consistently.
• Help your teens avoid dangerous situations such as riding in a car driven by someone who has been drinking.
• Help your teens get professional help if you’re worried about their involvement with alcohol.

Be aware of factors that may increase the risk of teen alcohol use.
• Significant social transitions such as graduating to middle or high school, or getting a driver’s license
• A history of conduct problems
• Depression and other serious emotional problems
• A family history of alcoholism
• Contact with peers involved in deviant activities

Be a positive adult role model.
• If you drink yourself, drink responsibly. That means not drinking too much or too often.
• Stay away from alcohol in high-risk situations. For example, don’t drive or go boating when you’ve been drinking.
• Get help if you think you have an alcohol-related problem.

Work with others.
No matter how close you and your teens are, it may not be enough to prevent them from drinking. It’s hard for families to do this alone. It’s important to reach out to schools, communities, and government. You can help protect teens from underage alcohol use by working to see to it that –
• Schools and the community support and reward young people’s decisions not to drink.
• Rules about underage drinking are in place at home, at school, and in your community.
• Penalties for breaking the rules are well known. Rules are enforced the same way for everyone.
• All laws about underage alcohol use are well known and enforced.
• Parties and social events at home and elsewhere don’t permit underage drinking.
Full publication here

Now to other news:

Unfortunately, the super-typhoon that has been building for the past few days has precipitated the decision to be made to cancel the IASAS season 1 volleyball exchange here at ISM this weekend. Similarly, the soccer exchange in Taipei has also been cancelled. However, the cross-country team left for Bangkok last night and the Dance contingent also left for Jakarta. While we realize that this is disappointing for the kids (and for many parents) the decision was made in the interest of student safety and wellbeing.

Looking ahead to next week, please come along to the Fine Arts Theater at 5:30pm on Thursday evening to enjoy a celebration of German Romanticism (great word by the way – Romantic-ism) with the annual Great Works Concert. I happened to visit the Show Choir class this week while they were rehearsing and Beethoven’s Hallelujah Chorus is sounding absolutely beautiful. The hairs on my body were standing on end and it sent shivers down my spine – I hope it has the same effect on you.

Next Friday is our much-anticipated annual Battle of the Bearcats; a day of spirit-fuelled fun where the four grade levels compete against one another for the much coveted BoB Spirit trophy. The opening ceremony will take place in the High School Gym at 8:15. Go Bearcats!

Finally this week, I would like to remind all parents that may be planning a trip that leaves their child at home, that there is the requirement to complete the temporary guardianship agreement.

Temporary Guardianship: When both parents are going to be away temporarily, it is imperative for them to notify the appropriate school office in advance, stating who will be responsible for the student(s) and whom the school should contact in case of emergency. This notification needs to be in written form. There is a Temporary Guardianship form available at the High School Office for this purpose. It can also be downloaded from the ISM website.

Parents must notify the school of a change of address or telephone number. This can be done by the parent directly into the PowerSchool database via the parent log in. Parents should also inform the School Clinic of any significant change in the health status of the student(s). A copy of the form is also posted on our website under ADMISSIONS>APPLICATION FILE FORMS: Here is the link.

Wishing you all a restful and relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal