HS Friday Bulletin March 16

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Bulletin March 16

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Well, I must share with you my last 2 days – they’ve arguably been 2 of the most enjoyable days of the year to date, and that’s saying something, as I do have so much to celebrate most of the time! Wednesday and Thursday this week was spent in the Middle School conference room as part of a panel of 8 teachers, administrators, counselors and parents, interviewing 10 prospective candidates for our ISM Filipino Scholars Program. Each year, 5 Fil-Scholars are selected to enter Grade 8 and then on for 5 years throughout Grades 8–12. We have been providing ISM scholarships since the Class of ’68 and for many of the scholars, this program has provided a life-changing opportunity which extends far beyond the 5 years that are spent here, but then on to universities and jobs/lives that would not have been open to them without it.

This year we had a diverse range of students apply in terms of background, financial need and academic level, and I want to share with you some of the answers to a couple of our questions to demonstrate the depth of the thinking and the level of their intellect, given that none of them had seen the questions before hand and were thinking on their feet.

When asked the question “Imagine you are a plant, an animal or a tree, which one would you be and why?” here are some of the answers they gave:

“A butterfly – I’m a social butterfly, but more than that; in a butterfly’s short life it spreads so much beauty all around them.”

“I’d be a mango tree – they’re strong, they provide shade and fruit and tools and other resources. Other plants grow around their trunks – I want to be someone that helps others to grow.”

“I’d be a tree – trees don’t move. Like a tree, I’ll stand along-side my friends until I have nothing left to give.”

“I’d be a tree – trees start small, but after a lot of growing, they become something great, something remarkable. I’d be a Narra tree – it’s really tough.”
The students were asked to share a saying or a quote, a line of poetry or a lyric from a song that keeps them going and that means resonates with them:

“Stars don’t shine without darkness.” I hope to spread light – my light will still shine even though I’m far away and there’s darkness all around.”

“My mom always says, “As long as you do your best, you’re a success – if you win it’s just a bonus” ”

“Those who look upon the oppressed and do nothing, align themselves with the oppressors”

“I wouldn’t have a problem if you aimed high and missed – you’re in trouble when you aim low and make it”

“A friend is not someone to magically stop the storm, but someone who stays with you until the storm is over”

I wonder if, at the age of 13, I’d be able to sit in front of a panel of 8 adults who I didn’t know and be able to answer questions like these with such confidence and maturity? Each interview lasted about 45 minutes and the panel was unified in the 5 scholars that will be part of ISM’s graduating class of 2022. I can’t wait to get them here to feed them with knowledge and water them with experiences and watch them grow over the next 5 years.

Congratulations go out this week to Mr. Mawer who will be the Grade Level Coordinator for next year’s Freshmen. Well done Andy.

The Seniors can breathe a little easier this weekend as they completed their IB “mock” exams yesterday. Well done Seniors for keeping things together at this incredibly busy time of year. I do hope that you can all get a little more sleep this weekend. You’re almost there regarding deadlines with the final CAS deadline on Wednesday together with some final deadlines for IA submissions in the Group 6 subjects for Visual Arts, Theatre and Film. Well done to Mr. Birchenall, Mr. Relf and Nyla Caras on the excellent organization of the mocks and for the collection and submission of the IA material to the IB.

Tomorrow, the PCA’s biggest day of the year is here – I’m talking of course about International Night! 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 tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, March 16). The International Buffet follows right after at 6:00pm in the ES Gym. Since writing this section of the bulletin, Simran has told me that it is a complete sell-out for tomorrow so there will be no seats available for walk-ins. Well done PCA and see you all tomorrow afternoon.

Next week is a shortened one with Thursday being the last day before our Easter break. Because of this I’d like to remind you that the next High School Parent Coffee will be held on the Tuesday of the first week back, after the break (Tuesday, April 2nd). It will (mostly) be a follow-up session to the “Screenagers” screening that was held at the March Parent Coffee; some of our GLCs will be on hand to facilitate a discussion on our thoughts and ideas that surround this topic. As well as this, I’ve organized for 3 of our IASAS Cultural Convention students to perform for us. Here’s the agenda:

April 3rd Parent Coffee – Screenagers Follow-up and Cul Con celebration.
7:30 – 7:40 – Introduction
7:40 – 7:50 – IASAS Oral Interpretation – Isabella Leak (silver medal).
7:50 – 8:10 – Data share on screen-time – Blair Berg
8:10 – 8:30 – Discussion /Q&A/activities from March 12th student homeroom – Ben Paulson.
8:30 – 8:45 – New Parent Connect website (Screenagers link) – David Collett
8:45 – 8:55 – IASAS Vocal – Stephanie Harrison
8:45 – 8:55 – IASAS Piano – Irene Lee.
8:55 – 9:00 – Announcements (ATAC / FPA / CAS)

I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing weekend,

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin March 9

To access the full version of the bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin March 9

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

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.

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin March 2

To access the full bulletin, please click on the link here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN MARCH 2
MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I’d like to start this week’s bulletin with the opening remarks from yesterday’s opening for IASAS Cultural Convention 2018.

Good morning everyone. Mabuhay! Welcome to International School Manila. It is my honor to open IASAS Cultural Convention 2018 – Art, Dance Drama and Tech. Cultural Convention is an opportunity to showcase some of the incredible talent that exists in our artists and performers. Over the past few years in education, we have started to talk more and more, about the value and the importance of creativity in education and how it will be the creative mind that shines through and leads the way for others to follow. Over the next few days I am confident that this creativity will be on display, and shining brightly; whether in the works of art in the final exhibition, on the stage when the thespians perform their plays, or when the dancers perform their final recitals. It takes real courage to bare one’s soul in a work of art or a performance – thank you, students, for your willingness to share your creativity with us. Of course, the dancers and actors would not shine as brightly as they do, without someone holding a spotlight – thanks to the Tech students who make sure that every performance is highlighted to perfection (in terms of both lighting and sound) so that the talent is showcased to the max. I remember a few years ago, when my brother was visiting from the UK and it happened to fall on top of Cultural Convention, he commented on the incredible talent that students were displaying; he went on though, to mention the hard work and effort that must have gone on behind the scenes from the “support crew” in the form of teachers and tutors that nurture and develop this talent. Students, remember to thank your support-crew for their hard work and effort. Events like Cultural Convention also take an enormous amount of effort on the part of the host school and I would like to recognize the energy that Marsha Hillman and her team have put into making this event possible – thank you Marsha and your ISM support-crew. Thanks, and have a great three days of Art, Dance, Drama and Tech.

You can still see the Art Exhibition, which contains some outstanding pieces this year, until Saturday at noon, outside of the FAT in the lobby and balcony. Also, the Dance and Drama performances continue through this evening and into tomorrow. Please come along if you enjoy either dance or theater and can spare the time.

Friday, March 2nd
1:20pm JIS Dance
1:55pm TAS Drama
2:55pm SAS Dance
6:50pm ISB Drama
7:50pm ISKL Dance

Saturday, March 3rd
12noon Art Exhibition closes
1:15pm JIS Drama
2:15pm TAS Dance
2:50pm SAS Drama


“Think before you Drink” is a Sustainability Council project that aims to reduce the waste from non-recyclable cups. As such, in the Kantina and Bearcat Cafe, Students, Faculty and Parents are no longer offered Plastic Lids and Straws unless they ask the concessionaires.

As such, we encourage parents to not use them and advise their children to avoid using plastic lids and straws and “Think before they Drink”! Or, as I suggested “Take pause before you use those straws!” (Ha, I’m a poet and you didn’t know it!)

Last Saturday, ISM’s brain-boxes competed in this year’s Academic Bowl at Brent. We entered 3 teams and made it to the final where ISM A was up against SAS A (Shanghai), who had also brought 3 teams to the Philippines. It was neck-and-neck with 2 questions to go; SAS answered the penultimate question and its 3 bonus questions correctly, which meant that ISM had to do the same with the last question to tie the game. We beat SAS at the buzzer and answered the question correctly, which just left the 3 bonus questions to tie. I don’t know what the questions were, but the answers to the first two were – get this – “Manila” and “The Philippines” which we answered correctly leaving just one more bonus question to tie. Unfortunately, the ISM team was not able to answer this third question (which, ironically, had the answer “Chinatown”) and we had to be content with Silver medal, which is a marked improvement on last year’s result. So well done to the Academic Bowl team for bringing home the silver. Their teacher coach Mr. Winters said that the excitement was so high that “he didn’t even do the grading” that he’d taken with him to Brent!

The Seniors will be studying hard this weekend to prepare for their IB mock exams which start next Thursday and run for 6 school days until Thursday March 15th. You can find the March mock exam schedule here and, although this is still some time away, here’s the link to the schedule for the real IB exams in May. Keep your foot on the gas Seniors! I know that this time of the year is incredibly hard, but know that your effort will pay off. Senior parents, do try to encourage your senior to get an appropriate amount of sleep over the next week or so – it is so important to their learning and retention of learned information.

Next week, on Wednesday, all high school students will be watching the documentary “Screenagers”, preceded by an introduction on Monday afternoon, then followed by an opportunity to discuss thoughts and ideas on the message of the film, the following Monday. Thanks to our Grade Level Coordinators for creating these sessions.


Next week’s Parent Coffee (Tuesday, March 6th), will be a slightly shortened version of this, with Blair Berg introducing the session with some data – then we’ll all have an opportunity to watch the documentary followed by discussion time at the end with the GLCs. Please come along on Tuesday and be a part of this screening and follow-up so that you can be on the same page as your child. Hopefully this will lead to meaningful conversations on the topic of screen-time at home too. Come along to “Screenagers” Parent Coffee on Tuesday, March 6th at 7:30am in the Little Theater. The PCA will be providing the popcorn!

The most important event of the PCA, 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. This year, there are 12 teachers who have banded together to show off their talents. They are keeping the details of their performance a big secret! 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. We hope you and your entire family come to experience the culture and to try the delicious food! As this is a fund-raiser, there will be no complementary tickets, even for the members of the various dance troops; although student volunteers are not asked to pay. Thanks to Simran, Lia, Dowa, Penny, Lhen, Ana and the rest of the PCA for your hard work – and thanks to everyone who is working hard on your dances to make this a great celebration of both our diversity and our unity. Mark your diaries now! Saturday, March 17th from 4:30pm. I can’t wait!

Wow! There’s a lot going on (again). Have a relaxing and restful weekend everyone.

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin February 23

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin February 23

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We’re moving closer and closer to the sharp end of the academic year’s stick and I do know that the seniors, in particular, are beginning to feel the pinch as their “mocks” approach in a couple of weeks’ time. Please encourage your child to devise a schedule when it comes to juggling the time dedicated to exam-prep study and other school work that is manageable and still builds in much needed down-time and of course the right amount of sleep every night. Without sleep, the brain is less able to process the events of the previous day and move the learning from that day from the short-term to the long-term memory. Sleep then forms an invaluable part of the learning process and cannot be taken lightly. Please make sure that you reiterate this message over the weekend and the next few weeks so that they can continue to thrive here at school.

This week, National Honor Society have run “Smile Week”; an event aimed at raising both awareness and money for Operation Smile, whose doctors perform life-changing operations on children right here in the Philippines with cleft palate. This year’s event consisted of students and faculty donating their talents to be supported by generous sponsors and has resulted in a whopping PhP500,000 being raised. That’s enough to fund 33 operations – their goal was 20, so they’ve done an amazing job this year in surpassing this. Thanks to all the NHS members involved in the organization (particularly Katie Go and Kayla Uytengsu), to the “Smile Reps” for donating your talent and of course to the sponsors for your generosity. Well done everyone.

As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, the IASAS Cultural Convention is rapidly approaching. This week (continuing tomorrow) we have enjoyed the previews to these events. This evening at 5:00pm the second half of the music previews will take place in the AMR while tomorrow afternoon at 5:00pm in the FAT, you’ll be able to see the Dance, Drama and Tech previews.

I was able to catch a couple of short snippets of the Dance and the Drama performances this year and I can’t wait to see them in their entirety – each school’s dance performance is 20 minutes, while each play lasts 45. As well as Dance and Drama, we’re also hosting Art this year and you’ll be able to see the Art exhibition from all six IASAS schools from next Thursday to next Saturday in the FAT lobby and balcony.

The Musicians and Forensics / Debaters will be heading off to Taipei and Singapore respectively so, if you missed the previews you’ll have to catch these performances on either the live stream (where available) or the recordings on YouTube after they’ve been posted. As usual, the students could not possibly participate in these activities without the hard work, time and dedication of our extremely dedicated and talented faculty. Mrs. Hillman particularly has been working late every night for the past couple of weeks to ensure that this year’s Cultural Convention goes without a hitch and so please take time to thank her for her effort next time you see her. Thank you Marsha. In case you’ve missed the flyers, here’s the schedule for the full Cultural Convention:

Thursday, March 1st
1:00pm ISM Dance
1:35pm ISM Drama
5:00pm Art Exhibition Opening
6:40pm ISKL Drama
7:40pm ISB Dance

Friday, March 2nd
1:20pm JIS Dance
1:55pm TAS Drama
2:55pm SAS Dance
6:50pm ISB Drama
7:50pm ISKL Dance

Saturday, March 3rd
12noon Art Exhibition closes
1:15pm JIS Drama
2:15pm TAS Dance
2:50pm SAS Drama

Please come along and enjoy the talent!

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal