HS Friday Bulletin April 6

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN April 6

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Welcome back to school after, what I hope was, a relaxing, renewing, recharging and reinvigorating Spring Break. After 17 years living in Asia, the Dickinsons finally made it to Korea with a few days in Seoul and then Pyong Chang (the location of this year’s Winter Olympics). We were hoping to be able to ski but in just the 2 short weeks since the Games finished, most of the snow had melted and the temperature had soared to 16-18 °C at times during the day. So unfortunately, we were left with only clean mountain air and fantastic walks in the hills to compensate for the lack of skiing – it was wonderful.

Thanks to all the parents that came to last Tuesday’s HS Parent Coffee in the Little Theatre. We started things off with a bit of Culture-al Convention with Isabella Leak performing her silver-medal-winning oral interpretation of a passage from Max Shulman’s “Love is a Fallacy”. Well done Isabella.

Mr. Berg and Mr. Paulson joined us this month so that they could share with us some data from the Screenagers series of homerooms that we ran last month. This allowed for some short moments of discussion and sharing of thoughts between the parents who attended – thanks Blair and Ben. Mr. Paulson spoke about an article that made an analogy between technology use and nutrition and you can read the article here.

Mr. Collett has been working hard creating the new Parent Connect Website and he proudly (rightfully too) showcased this for us. Here’s a video that Mr. Strycharske created to piggy-back the Screenagers discussions with some extra data that we’ve collected from ISM students. Well done David and Carl – thanks for putting this together. One of the most poignant moments for me came from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) video which spoke about “being a parent today”. My parents always wanted to know where I was playing and who I was playing with – in the age of virtual “friendships” this is become more and more of a challenge as often we don’t know “where” they are (on the web) and often we don’t know “who” they’re playing with.

We ended with another bit of culture! Irene Lee accompanied Stephanie Harrison as she sang her solo from Cultural Convention – Nel Profondo. Then Irene showed off her incredible talent on the piano with some Chopin that was amazing. Thanks Stephanie and Irene. Here’s the link to the slides from last Tuesday.

A big thank you to Mr. Dingrando, Mr. Strycharske and Mr. Anderson for the time and effort that they and their students put into today’s Robolution and Maker Faire. Many schools have an annual Science Fair, but this has become our equivalent and it was absolutely fantastic. Once again, it was great to include the Middle School students in the Robolution – is that Dickinson Jr. I see? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree—geek just like his dad.

Next week ISM hosts Track and Field and Golf and we are still in need of housing for the visiting athletes. If you are willing to house please use the online forms linked below to sign up. For families that have already registered to house, thank you and information regards your guests will be sent out this coming weekend to you via email from the ATAC office. Please help support if you can as we still need 36 beds for T&F athletes Wed-Sun April 11-15 and 30 beds for Golfers on Saturday night only of April 14. All teams will depart Sunday morning April 15th.
Golf sign-up One night housing only Sat Apr 14
T&F sign-up Housing from Wed night until Sunday morning 4 nights)
Our Badminton teams will be heading off the KL while the Baseball and Softball teams travel to Jakarta. Good luck everyone.

I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing long-weekend (Monday’s a holiday, remember!)

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Bulletin March 22

To access the full version of the bulletin, please click here: HS Bulletin March 22

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Last Saturday a particularly busy one – for many, it started in the High School Library with close to 180 Juniors and about 60 faculty for Extended Essay Writing Day. Each year, around this time, we get the Juniors together for a day of dedicated writing on their extended essay, a 4000-word research project which is a compulsory component of the full IB Diploma. The goal of the day was for all students to leave having written between 1500 and 2000 words in order to really break its back. While I realize that some students may have fallen a little short of this goal, I know that there are a handful that exceeded it. Thank you to Andrea Thompson for organizing the day and to all the faculty that were there to support the students. I sat for a while just watching the students really focus on their work and enjoyed their industry.

After the Extended Essay Writing Day, I stuck around in order to enjoy the PCA International Night, Cultural Show. This year, the theme this year was “Holidays around the World”. The “English” team (with an Irishman and an Aussie thrown in for good measure) started the show with their own take on the tradition of Morris Dancing.

I couldn’t stop grinning as I enjoyed theirs and all the other performances from the parents and wider ISM community. Well done to Lia Te, Dowa Manaloto, Penny Tan and Lhen Vellon for High School and of course the PCA Liaisons from Middle School and Elementary School also (under the ever-watchful eye of Simran Uttamchandani)

Congratulations to our “Mathletes” who took part in the AMC/IASAS Math competition back in February. The results are finally in and ISM managed a silver for the team and silver for the individual competitions. Here are Congrats to all who sat the contest.

Yesterday afternoon at 2:45pm, the Seniors were in good spirits as they dressed up and posed for their senior picture that will be included in Kawayan (Yearbook). I had a bet with Tino Ley that they would be done by 3:00pm and I narrowly lost the bet with the last picture being taken at 3:01pm! (I’m sure Tino took his time in order to win!). Thanks to the Seniors for their cooperation and timeliness. Times like these feels a little like trying to herd cats, but yesterday was really great.

Looking ahead to after Spring Break, I’d like to remind you that the next High School Parent Coffee will be held on the Tuesday morning of the first week back, after the break (Tuesday, April 3rd). 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 Spring Break.

Regards,
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

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