HS Friday Bulletin May 26

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin May 26

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well, the big day has finally arrived for our Seniors.  Mr. Birchenall and I have been with them in the FAT for the past couple of days for graduation rehearsals and we’ve really enjoyed the last moments of quality time with the whole batch.  After yesterday’s rehearsal, they had a lovely lunch that had been organized by the Senior patents and PCA, during which time their yearbooks were delivered so they had time to sign each other’s and write messages of best wishes.  The afternoon was set aside for their Senior Celebration, back in the FAT, which was an absolute blast – there is some real talent in this group.  Good luck to all our seniors – we will miss you all.

Last Tuesday afternoon, our Academic and Service awards assembly went very well, with over 150 students being called to the stage to receive awards for subject, sporting, grade-level, leadership, service and excellence.  Mr. Birchenall opened the assembly with some words of wisdom and advice for the future, while I closed.  Here’s what I said:

When I was in high school, it was the late 1970s and early 80s.  I know what you’re thinking – “No, way – he doesn’t look old enough”.  I loved music, both playing the trumpet and listening to pop music.  I loved art – particularly painting and sketching.  Although I was keen a Liverpool football fan (and still am), my sports were swimming and cycling.  My trumpet heroes were Maynard Fergusson, Chet Baker and Doc Severenson.  I tried to emulate the style of Roger Dean in my artwork.  I still have the autographs of Liverpool legends Ray Clemence, Emlyn Hughes and Kenny Dalglish somewhere in my parents’ attic.  I wanted to be as good as Mark Spitz and Eddie Merkz when I swam or cycled.  My pop idols were The Police, Tubeway Army and Blondie. 

 I’m sure that many of these names mean absolutely nothing to you and why would they – they were my heroes, from my high school days.  Perhaps they mean something to some of the teachers or parents in the audience that were high school age in the late 1970s and early 80s.  I mention them to illustrate a point.  That to have someone to aspire to, is possibly as old as time – and certainly as old as me.  Did Shakespeare ever hope to be as successful as Chaucer?  Did Lebron James look to Michael Jordan for inspiration?  Does Chance The Rapper aspire to be as good as Eminem? 

Often, our heroes and idols are sporting and musical in nature.  They were when I was a boy, and they still are now.  However, I also remember having some other heroes too.  I remember that Mr. Rodgers was one of the only teachers that I actually liked (not our Mr. Rodgers – although I do like him very much – in fact, I like all my teachers these days!), but I also respected him because he respected us.  He made difficult concepts understandable and he took time and gave us time to get to grips with topics before moving on to new ones – I think he is one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher. 

 I admired my mum and dad (and still do of course) in the way they served our community by collecting furniture and clothing for people in our town that couldn’t afford to buy them for themselves.  Later they went farther afield, coming under sniper-fire as they drove an aide truck into the warzone of the Bosnian-Serbian conflict in the battle for the Balkans in the 1990s. 

I also had an academic hero; my best friend, Dave Goodier.  I was no slouch at school, but Dave was the winner of the academic awards – he was the student that needed help to carry all his medals, plaques and trophies home each year after an afternoon similar to this one.  I never wanted to be him, I didn’t even want to be like him (He supported Manchester United and hated Jazz!) but he inspired me to work a little harder at school than I would have done without him. 

 We worship our sporting superstars, placing them on pedestals to receive their medals.  We laud the football team that brings the trophy back to the hometown crowd.  These victories and successes inspire people to try harder and to do better.  I love being part of a school where academic success is as cool and as highly thought-of as non-academic success. 

 So today, we are celebrating school success, both academic and non-academic.  We’re recognizing generosity and selflessness and intellectual capacity, partly in the hope that today will inspire everyone here to do our very best in everything we do, both in and out of the classroom.  Some of you might be thinking; “but I’m never going to be that good”, “I’m never going to win an award”.  Well that’s ok.  I knew that I was never going to be as brilliant a trumpet player as Fergusson, or as gifted an artist as Dean, or as fast a swimmer as Spitz, but they still inspired me to want to do better and my best friend inspired me to want to do better academically.  I hope that many of our award winners today will inspire you to be the very best you can be and try your hardest in everything you do.

 I do hope that some of the students were still awake by that stage in the assembly and that they realize their potential by doing the best they can in everything they do.

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson

High School Principal

 

 

HS Friday Bulletin May 19

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin May 19

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) in the black and white that Liz Godfrey chose to finish the pictures.  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.

 

Speaking of traditions – Awards season is upon us.  This evening, in the Fine Arts Theater we induct a number of students (and three teachers) to some of the more prestigious Honors Societies to which we belong.  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 areas of school life, then, finally on Friday evening we end with the Commencement Exercises for 2017 (Graduation).  I really enjoy this part of the year when we get to celebrate together all that we are as a school – I need to employ a speechwriter for next year though!

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 is an optional session for both students and parents on obtaining a US Visa.  Well done our counseling team.

We still have other events to look forward to next week.  On Tuesday 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.  Also on Wednesday, the grade 11 students enrolled in Environmental Systems and Societies have a field trip to the Manila Aquarium.  Great stuff!

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson

High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin May 12

To access the full bulletin, please click here:  HS Friday Bulletin May 12

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Last Sunday evening, just before 8:00pm, I was watching a movie with my family when I received a text from David Birchenall telling me to turn to channel 2 – NOW!  I found channel 2 on channel 8 (go figure!) and there in front of us was our own Heather Hawkins from Grade 9 singing “Make You Feel My Love” on The Voice Teens Philippines.  I’ve known for some time now that Heather has a beautiful voice and, in the blind judging, the judges agreed, so she’s through to the next round.  Brilliant!  You can watch her section of the show here:

YouTube Preview Image

Well done Heather!  We’re all very proud of you.  I can’t wait to watch her again as she (hopefully) moves through the competition.  I’ll keep you all updated.

The end-of-year exams are now here in force, with the Grade 11 students starting theirs yesterday and the Grade 9s and 10s beginning on Monday.  If you didn’t catch last week’s bulletin (shame on you!) you can read it again by clicking on the link at the bottom of this week’s entry – it gives some advice and tips on preparing and sitting exams that you may wish to talk through with your child.

Congratulations to Chrisanne (Rosie) Roseleip and her husband, Romeo on the birth of their first child.  This from Rosie;  “Baby Rosebud joined us last Monday May 1st at 8:20am USA west coast time. She was 8lbs 3oz with a STRONG, healthy set of lungs on her! (Definitely my child! Hehe!)  She has a perfect mix of her mommy’s feisty attitude and daddy’s soft, calm demeanor with a smile that melts your heart! Seeing as she was a true gift from heaven, we named her Kélani Roseleip Fossouo (Kélani Rose for short…. pronounced “kay-lawnie”).

Kèlani means heavenly so she’s our little heavenly rose!  Romeo and I are LOVING being parents and are so excited for this new lifelong adventure! We can’t wait to introduce our little bear cub to all her Bearcat family!!  We send all our love and hugs to everyone at ISM and send happy confident vibes to all the kiddos as they get ready to celebrate all the wonderful knowledge they have acquired this year!  Have a wonderful rest of your year and a relaxing summer, and the Fossouo trio will see you in August!”  Well done Rosie, Romeo and welcome Kélani.

 

I can’t believe that we’re just two weeks away from graduation.  I sent an email to all the seniors and senior parents this morning with all sorts of information – please be sure to check your email and read this information carefully if your child is graduating this year.

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend

Mike Dickinson

High School Principal

 

HS Friday Bulletin May 5

To access the full bulletin, please click here:  HS Friday Bulletin May 5

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Raise your hand if you loved exams! Certainly not me! I found most of them frightening; I remember the nervous feeling I had when I was about to enter the examination hall. Thank goodness that exams are a thing of the past for me (and I am confident that the majority of you feel the same way). Unfortunately for our high school students, they are still very much a thing of the present. The fact is that about 80% of each senior class are candidates for the IB Diploma and the remaining 20% often sit many IB certificate subjects, so it is important that throughout High School we give students a taste of things to come so that by May of their Senior year, exams have become less scary and more manageable. The intention is that with exposure, students can develop strategies regarding both preparation and test-taking so that they are able to perform to their absolute best when the time comes.

With just 5 days to go before the Grade 11s start the end-of-year exams and one week before the Grade 9 and 10 exams, I thought I would include in this week’s bulletin some advice that you can chat with your child over the weekend as they prepare for their examination. Each year, we send this same advice out to the students, but it would be great if they hear the same message from home too.

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.   Working late into the night is not good preparation for the following day’s examination.
  • Have a light breakfast: sandwiches, cereal or fruit (do not eat or drink unfamiliar things that morning).
  • Don’t drink too much liquid (to avoid unnecessary visits to the washroom).
  • Before you leave home ensure you have all necessary stationery – pencils, erasers, sharpener, and most importantly your ID card.
  • Get to school at least 30 minutes before your exam begins. This gives you enough time to relax yourself.
  • Stay calm and remain focused.
  • No last minute discussions! That will only send you into the PANIC ZONE!
  • Even if you don’t have the urgent need to, try and go to the washroom before each exam.
  • Listen to the proctor carefully.
  • Read the instructions on your exam paper and if you are unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to ask the proctor (that’s why they are there).
  • Don’t waste time. If you get stuck on a question because it seems difficult or confusing, move on to the next and return to the tough questions after.
  • Don’t panic. If you feel yourself sweating or hyperventilating, put down your pencil, close your eyes, take deep breaths and consciously relax. When calmer, go back to work.
  • Allocate your time in the exam properly.
  • Stick to your schedule so that you’ll have time to answer all the questions. Spend more time on questions that are worth more marks. Watch your time like a hawk!
  • If you are out of time, give your answers in “bullet point” form. Examiners award marks for facts and not long sentences.
  • For multiple choice question, make a guess if you don’t know the answer.
  • Get to the point when answering short-answer or essay questions. Remember KISS – Keep It Short and Simple!
  • If you feel uncontrollably ill during the exam notify the proctor
  • Use extra time to review your solutions.
  • Most importantly, remain positive.
  • Remember, examinations are not the be-all-and-end-all of your life, they are just one aspect of your life as a student.

Other notices – the MS/HS Art exhibition opened yesterday in the lobby of the Fine Arts Theater. Again, the quality of the work that the students have been able to produce is excellent – hats off to the art teachers that are able to nurture this raw talent and guide our artists as the explore different media and artistic styles. Its great to see these artists’ talents evolve as they make their way into and through high school.

The Middle School play “Man of La Mancha” opened yesterday evening and continues this evening, and tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and evening. Tickets are available on the door; the evening performances start at 6:00pm and the matinée tomorrow afternoon begins at 2:00pm. I’ll see you there!

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
High School Principal