HS Friday Bulletin May 25

To Access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin May 25


Dear Parents / Guardians,

As I said last week, we’re into awards season and the season kicked off to a good start last Friday with the Honors Societies Induction Ceremonies.  The keynote speaker this year was Mr. Conrad Alampay; an ISM and a JIS alumnus who graduated from ISM with the class of 1998.  He was a part of ISMs gold winning IASAS basketball team in the year of his graduation (and he believes that this was the last time ISM won basketball gold).  He is currently the president of DigiScript Inc; a Manila based company that is leading the rest of the field, using cutting-edge laser technology to scan historical buildings as means to digitally preserve them as 3D models so that degradation and deterioration can be monitored so they can be properly maintained for future generations to enjoy.  Mr. Alampay gave a very interesting address which showed the audience what his company does to help preserve historic buildings and even demonstrated the equipment, showing a video of himself scanning our high school library.  The students were then inducted into our honors societies including:

Tri-M Music Honor Society

French Honor Society

Spanish Honor Society

Chinese Honor Society

National Art Honor Society

Quill & Scroll Honor Society

National Honor Society

The Cum Laude Society

Here is the link to the video of the evening.


Last Saturday night was the second event in our celebration season.  This year’s Prom was held at the New World Hotel in Makati and was a notable one in recent years due to the Royal Wedding happening at the same time (on the teacher’s table via a YouTube link)!  It was a great Prom this year and thanks must be given to Ms. Mazarakis and her Prom Committee for doing such a wonderful job with the décor and the organization – Well Done!

On Monday the IB1 (grade 11) Art Exhibition opened in the gallery of the FAT.  And on Wednesday, we had the High School Advanced Dance Finale, starting at 3:30 in the Little Theater.  Well done to Ms. Godfrey and Ms. Garner for bringing out the best from our IB artists and to Yek for another great showcase of dancing talent


Tuesday afternoon was the third event in our celebration season with the Academic and Service Awards Assembly.  We had 160+ award winners this year and so were able to celebrate a plethora of areas both in and out of the curriculum where students shine.  Here’s what I said in closing:


Celebrating success has, in recent years become a bit of a taboo subject in the minds of some educators.  The rationale being that life shouldn’t be a competition, so why turn schools into a field of competitive endeavor.  I recently read an article about a school in the UK that replaced sports day with something less competitive because of the sense of failure that it might produce in the students that didn’t win a medal or a ribbon.

 Celebrating success can come in so many forms though, because success itself has a myriad of faces.  Obviously, there is the more traditional definition of success and I’m happy that we at ISM don’t forget the hard work that our IASAS athletes dedicate to every sport in which they participate – we celebrate their success first on the podium or the stage when they receive their medals, then again at the end of each season in assemblies and at sports awards evenings.

 Success doesn’t just come from competition though – earlier this year we celebrated the success of the wonderful high school play, the IASAS drama performance, IASAS dance, the Forensics and debates previews, the ToK presentations and countless other examples where we’re celebrating achievement that isn’t competitive or divisive…but unifying and inspiring.

 Celebrating these kinds of accomplishments in a community helps to create and maintain the sense of unity that every school ought to enjoy.  This afternoon we have celebrated academic, leadership, service, literary and sporting successes as well as collaboration, creativity, courage, resilience, compassion and so much more.

 Whether these achievements are due to natural ability in a particular academic discipline or whether from sheer hard work, grit and determination, we’re here to recognize and celebrate so that we can all enjoy the moment.  Hopefully these successes will spur us on to do the best that we can, in everything we try…no one can ask for more than that.

 I hope that everyone here today can look back on their school year with pride and, whether you’ve won an award or not, you can honestly say that you’ve done the best.  And, as Mr. Birchenall said in his opening remarks, that you have created the best version of yourself that you can be.

Laurie and Sam from the HS Office always do a great job organizing this event and so really deserve our praise and thanks for another job well done.

And then we turned our attention to the big one!  High School Graduation.  We had two great grad rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday.  Then on Thursday afternoon, the seniors enjoyed signing each other’s Kawayan (Yearbook) while tucking in to an excellent lunch organized by the Grad Committee.  I’ll give a full run-down on how graduation went, in next week’s bulleting, but for now here’s some information regarding the live-stream:

  1. The link for the Graduation live stream is: http://community.ismanila.org/livestream It will be active from 3:30 pm onwards, which can only be viewed via desktop (iMac or Windows-based desktop, not on mobile devices)
  2. Live Stream will also be broadcasted in our ISM TVs located in the canteen, MS and HS Hallways, LT, AMR, and the ES Projector
  3. After the graduation, the video will be uploaded in our ISM Live YouTube Channel.

Fingers crossed for another excellent graduation ceremony this evening.  Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.



HS Friday Bulletin May 18

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin May 18


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Exams are over – Yay! It has probably been a while since many of you sat exams in a large setting, so I thought I’d share with you the scene in the high school gym earlier this week. Before (with 420 exam desks and chairs all set and ready to receive), then after (with over 400 students in grades 9 and 10 sitting their exam). It looks quite Dickensian (no pun intended) doesn’t it?

It does remind us also that although we pride ourselves on being a progressive, contemporary place of learning, where inquiry and collaboration have taken over somewhat from rote learning and lecture, in many ways, there is no getting away from these traditional aspects of school life. Well done to Mr. Birchenall for accommodating at very short notice, the extra holiday that was declared for last Monday. Well done to all the teachers, proctors and secretaries for making this exam season run smoothly once again.

Speaking of traditions – Awards season is upon us. This evening, in the Fine Arts Theater we induct a number of students to some of the more prestigious Honors Societies with which ISM is associated. On Tuesday we have our Academic and Service Awards afternoon, where the whole high school can come together to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of their peers in all aspects of school life, then, finally on Friday evening we end with the Commencement Exercises for 2018 (Graduation). I really enjoy this part of the year when we get to celebrate together all that we are as a school.

I cannot believe that we are just one week away from graduation. I sent an email to all the seniors and senior parents the week before last, with all sorts of information – please be sure to check your email and read this information carefully if your child is graduating this year.

But, before the Senior class don their caps and gowns for graduation. On Monday, they have a day of “transition workshops”. The move from the comfort and security of high school to college can be a difficult one and so, each year, our counselors provide the Seniors with as much support as we can; with presentations from alumni on cultural, academic and social transitions, diet, nutrition and cooking (with some recipe suggestions), finance, self-defense (and protection).

Then later in the afternoon, there are two optional sessions for both students and parents in the Lofthouse on obtaining visas; one session for US visas and the other for Canadian visas. Well done and thank-you to our counseling team.

We still have other events to look forward to next week. On Monday the IB1 (grade 11) Art Exhibition opens in the gallery of the FAT. On Wednesday, we have the High School Dance Finale, starting at 3:30 in the Little Theater. Great stuff!

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin May 11

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN MAY 11


Dear Parents / Guardians,

I was in a meeting yesterday and when I reminded the group that it was only one week to our Honors Societies Induction Ceremony and only 2 weeks to Graduation the reply was simply “YIKES!” Yikes! Indeed. We have found ourselves at the very sharp end of and every decreasing length of stick. In fact the length of the stick is now only 17 days long. My goodness, where has the time gone? And, there is so much left to fit in to those 17 days of course.

For the Grade 9, 10 and 11 students, the most pressing for them is their end-of-year exams which started for the Grade 11s yesterday – they appear to be off to good start. With the declaration that next Monday would be a country-wide holiday for barangay elections, we have had to move next week’s exam up by one day, but the order of the exams has remained (Monday’s exams have been moved to Tuesday, Tuesday’s to Wednesday and Wednesday’s to Thursday) so as to avoid any confusion. Mr. Birchenall has done a great job in altering Thursday’s exams for the Grade 9s so that those students taking the AP Human Geography exam next Friday all have Thursday afternoon free in order to study.

The big one for me, regarding organization, is of course High School Graduation – arguably the biggest event of any high school’s calendar. This year, graduation will be live-streamed in the Little Theater for family friends, yayas, drivers etc. that are unable to get a ticket for the Fine Arts Theater. In this way, extended “family” can be here at school to enjoy the moment with the graduates and still be able to watch the graduation ceremony, live. There will be free seating in the little theatre so as soon as the doors to the FAT close, those extended family members can make their way to the LT to watch it all on the big screen, then make their way back to the FAT at the end to greet the graduates as they leave the theater.

“Moving On: Dealing with Transition” workshop is a K-12 parent workshop presented by all three divisions of our school-wide Counseling Department. During this workshop, we will explore the issues associated with transitions and offer hands-on activities to enable you to best support your family/students, whether you are leaving ISM or have friends that are leaving. Please join us in the AMR (not the LT as previously advertised) on May 17th, from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

A reminder that the MS / HS Art Exhibition started yesterday and will run for the next couple of weeks until next Wednesday (May 16th). Please come along to the lobby of the FAT and enjoy the wonderful display of artwork. You can find the high school exhibition upstairs on the balcony, above the FAT lobby.

Another reminder that the Bearcat Career Experience Registration & Application were sent to all current grade 10 and 11 students this week. This year we have over 20 companies participating, offering work experience opportunities in various fields. The application deadline is May 16th. All applications should be submitted to the HS Counseling office.

Wishing you all a restful and relaxing weekend.
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin May 4

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN May 4


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well that was a short week! Or, was it? The Seniors might disagree that it was a short week. They were here on Monday and Tuesday, and of course, many of them were here for the rest of the week, to take their final IB examinations. Week one is now over and so they can say bye-bye to Business and Management, farewell to Filipino, Korean and Japanese (A), cheerio to Econ and Math and au revoir to Geography. The Design Tech, Computer Science and ESS students finish half the exams in those subjects today, then complete them after the weekend. Next week is week two and you can view the full schedule here. Please remind your senior that any electronic device is strictly prohibited in the exam room and they should leave them in their locker – NOT lying around in the Kantina or the Library. Well done to Mr. Relf, Ms. Nyla and the team of proctors for a smooth start to these important exams.

The VEX Robotics World Championships returned from Kentucky, USA this week where our delegation of intrepid Roboteers, Mackenzie Crowe, Yanpeng Yuan, David Zhang and Ashwin Banwari were representing ISM. Thanks to Mr. Dingrando for preparing them and to Mr. Strycharske for accompanying them all the way to Kentucky. Almost 600 robots were entered into the high school portion of the competition. We are proud to report that the ISM team placed 37th within the individual skills category. This is the fourth year in a row that ISM has been invited to represent the Philippines at the event.

The Sophomore Class Council, under the guidance of Ms. Jennifer Waldock and with the help of the Grade 10 PCA representatives, hosted a successful fundraiser for Papaya Academy on Friday, April 27. Nearly 40 Papaya Academy students and over 200 ISM students and teachers packed Uptown Theater for an exclusive showing of “Avengers: Infinity War” in an effort to raise funds for educational resources for their service partner. While the finale of the movie left some in shock, all left the theater proud of contributing to a fun evening for the Papaya students and excited for future events!

I would like to thank the Grade 11 PCA Liaisons, Counselors and parent panelists who helped organize and participate in this week’s Parent Panel Q&A session about managing the college application process. This gave a unique perspective, as parents were able to share their first-hand experiences of the application process in various countries around the world.

The Bearcat Career Experience Registration & Application were sent to all current Grade 10 and 11 students this week. This year we have over 20 companies participating, offering work experience opportunities in various fields. The application deadline is May 16th. All applications should be submitted to the HS Counseling office.

A reminder that the MS / HS Art Exhibition started yesterday and will run for the next couple of weeks until Wednesday, May 16th. Please come along to the lobby of the FAT and enjoy the wonderful display of artwork.

The MS Play, Peter Pan, opens tonight in the FAT with a matinée and evening performance tomorrow (again in the FAT). If you haven’t already bought your ticket, don’t worry, they will be available at the door. This evening’s performance will begin at 6:00pm and tomorrow’s two performances are at 2:00pm and 6:00pm. It’s always so much better when there is a nice big audience, so please come along, enjoy the show and support the middle school students.

Looking forward to next week and beyond, the big one is that the Grade 11 exams start on Thursday, May 10th and run for 5 days until the following Wednesday, May 16th. Grade 9 and 10 exams start on Monday May 14th and run for 3 days – they also end on Wednesday May 16th. Please click here for the Grade 9, 10 & 11exam schedules.

Some parents have asked if students are allowed to leave after their morning exams and come to school late for their afternoon exams, so here are the guidelines that have been used in recent years:
• A student may come to school for their morning exam, then leave school if they do not have an afternoon exam.
• A student may come to school in time for their afternoon exam if they do not have a morning exam.
• A student may not leave school between exams if they have both morning and afternoon exams.

This gives the students an opportunity to study at home in an environment that is free from distractions and keeps them safe here at school between exams, if they have 2 exams on the same day. Please make the necessary arrangements to collect your child so that they make it home safely on the days when they are leaving early. If they are going to come to school for the afternoon exam, please have them arrive in plenty of time so they aren’t on the last minutes.

Wishing you all a restful and relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal