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Rock Star Writing Contest Spectrum literary magazine hosted a writing contest with the prompt “If I was a rock star...” The first place winner, as chosen by student literary magazine members, was Nguyen Tran Dong Phuong of grade 9. Here is Phuong’s winning entry. The essay is published in English because it was for an English-writing contest. *** A rock star has a loud and crazy life due to the excessive excitement they need for performing on stage. This job does not have an easy lifestyle, but being a rock star can give a feeling of happiness or depression, depending on the star’s ability to control his or her actions. Rock stars are energetic on stage. Their goal is to make the audience go wild, so the audience can love their performances and support them as fans. The band instruments are always played loudly, even some bands smash their guitars as an expression of their ‘rock n’ roll’ feelings. They walk, jump and dance around on stage to show their excitement and uplifting spirits. The strange clothing looks unique. A few of the male rock stars wear dark makeup, tattoos and earrings to play their roles on stage. It could be the bad boy role, or a more dangerous, rebellious role. Some of the male rock stars may wish to become women in real life. Many rock stars would go anything to attract people’s attention and make themselves more famous to have more fans. A lot of them usually wear black clothing to look cool and mysterious when they dance. Their jobs can be very dangerous. Apart from the weird sense of fashion and energetic appearance on stage, some rock stars attempt to take drugs. This is the worst part of being a rock star as it may affect the young generation. A few rock stars like to do bad and illegal actions. They think doing drugs develops their ‘rock n’ roll’ image. Some rock stars have said drugs inspired them to write songs and to express their feelings. They think drugs make them feel good, and that the drugs help to take

Congratulations to the other winners: Nguyen Phuong Nghi (2nd place) Le Minh Triet (Teacher’s Choice)

all the pain away. It helps their presence on stage to be wild, crazy, get lost into a song while they perform on stage. In conclusion, a rock star can have many fans, but most rock stars have too wild a lifestyle. If they lose control of their actions, their fame and even their lives can be ruined. I would not want to become a rock star, because I fear that I would be too tempted to do anything to become more famous and in doing so may do harmful things to myself and others, especially the fans who may look up to me and try to copy my actions. *** Spectrum’s next writing contest is a call for short fiction where YOU are the main character. Here are the details! Write a short story or poem and be: - A hero - A villain - A dreamer - An explorer - A wizard - A goblin - A revolutionary - A lover - A thief - An alien - The girl next door - A damsel in distress - An evil clown - A mad scientist - An outlaw - A tortured artist - A zombie -A dentist - Savior of the world! Be anything or anybody that you can imagine. Show ISHCMC American Academy and the staff of Spectrum what you can create. PRIZES 30 house points for the winner Publication in Reverberations or Spectrum An invitation to an exclusive artists lunch


Black Light Party


“Black Light Party� was the theme for ISHCMC AA Halloween this year. The Student Council successfully organized parties for both middle school and high school. Because white and bright neon colors shine under UV light, everyone was wearing mostly casual white to attend this party. The photo booth and face-painting sections were successfully support by our students. However, the kids did not really enjoy the food. They rather enjoyed dancing and participating in activities like music chair. The brightest boy and girl of middle school were Tran Thien Di and Ha Phuc Dat. The glamour of high school night went to Chu Thi Tra My and Le Thanh Dat. Text & Photos by Nguyen Ngoc Hoang An 3

Sports News ISHCMC American Academy Students & Teachers Run for Cancer Photos by Pham Thi Thai An


This year 2013, just like all the other years, the Terry Fox run occurred at Crescent Mall in district 7. After many years, the Terry Fox run has become more and more famous in Vietnam, the amount of people participating in this event increases every year. In 2013, it is estimated that more than 15.000 people participated. Participants ranged in age from a two-year-old child to sixty-year-old grandmothers and grandfathers. The run started at 8:00AM, and just 15 minutes after the run began, some runners had finished already. When the run ended at 11:00AM, most people had finished.

MS Basketball Team Undefeated During November, ISHCMC American Academy’s middle school basketball team played two games against TAS (12/11) and BVIS(13/11). Two more stunning wins were made by our team to finish the season undefeated. The score against TAS was 30-10. 21 points were scored by Kenny Bui of grade 8. In the game with BVIS, we won with the score of 38-18. 14 points were made by Huy Thuan (7A), and Kenny scored 12 points and 6 assists.

Student spotlight Middle School Students of the Month

High School

Students of the Month

Phu has been a great student in class this month. He’s been trying really hard and contributing to the class every day. He’s also been working really well with his fellow students, keeping on task and producing great results. Well done Phu!

Nguyen Kim Phu (6B)

Ngo Huong Vy (Ally 6A)

He’s been giving an outstanding effort in PE also. Sounds like he deserves it!

Vy is an incredible young woman who always does her best. She is an excellent student who pushes herself to practice her English skills every single day while always being polite, considerate, and positive.

Bui Duy Nhat (Jake 11A)

Dang Thi Thuy An (Helen 9A)

As a classroom learner, Nhat brings a mixture of dedication and intelligence that helps him to achieve high expectations. He also demonstrates a strong sense of integrity and service to others.

Helen consistently demonstrates not only high academic ability, but also a genuine desire for knowledge. In addition, she is always kind, helpful, and respectful to her classmates and teachers.

Teacher of the Month Mr. John Watson teaches ICT electives and AP Computer Science. Here’s why he was awarded November’s Teacher of the Month title: John’s commitment to the school environment and to the students here at ISHCMC American Academy is unwavering. He has seen the school go through a great deal of change in the last few years and has always continued to be supportive of leadership and be an encouragement for staff and students. Personally, I think he is one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met. He puts in long hours after school, on weekends, and on holidays to make sure learning happens in his classroom and to make sure students are able to enjoy themselves at school, and he is always willing and ready to offer constructive suggestions to other staff members to help improve the school. I have a lot of memories with Mr. John, who is a great enthusiastic and funny teacher such as his university stories, and amazing time during the field trip to Thailand. He gives students encouragement, experiences and changes. With him, everything is possible.

Student Talk


Meet the Teacher:

eat. Flaming Fajitas. My first experience with them was when I was 9 in Los Angeles. I saw the waiter coming with the plate on fire, and he brought it to me! It’s a Mexican kind of food like burritos where you wrap up sizzling meat, with vegetables guacamole, and other sauces. If you could own a summer house anywhere in the world, where would it be? A place by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, it has a nice lake in summer and skiing in winter, and it is close to my family in Dunedin. What is the riskiest or most dangerous thing you’ve ever done? I have hitchhiked all the way down New Zealand. That was a bit dangerous to do by myself.

Le Hoang Phuong Linh and Nguyen Hai Nguyen caught up with our busy Drama teacher, Ms. Ingrid Berry.

What did you want to do for a career when you were a child? Did you have any other jobs before becoming a teacher? I liked acting and putting on shows when I was a kid, I used to get friends round and direct them in a show. I even called up and booked an auditorium once, and my Dad had to cancel it. About ten years ago I worked at Juice TV, a music channel in NZ.

If you had to describe yourself with only three adjectives, what would they You sound like an interesting kid! Describe yourbe? Friendly, artistic, and a little ditsy ;-) self as a teenager. What did you wear? Who did you hang out with? Oh no! I was a bit unusual. I What places have you lived besides moved schools a few times, and it was strange: I Vietnam? New Zealand and Australia, but would often be pulled into the popular group first, at I just went to Argentina for my holidays!! I did some tango dancing, tried some epinada’s and dulce de leche (a type of caramel they use a lot), and went to hear some live Argentinian folk music. What languages can you speak? English. I learnt Japanese at school, but I don’t remember it now. Can you tell us about one memorable moment that you’ve experienced in Vietnam? Riding to D11 on the back of a Xeom, it was exciting! Describe one of your favorite things to


Ms. Berry teaching Middle School drama.

Ingrid Berry

least until they got to know me! Then I would find some friends into the arts or international types. What kind of music did you listen to back then? As for music; when I was 11, I had tapes (not cds) of BAD –MJ, Madonna, Grease, and Kylie Minogue. I guess I was a bit punk when I was 11. I had a stonewash denim jacket, pink feather earrings, black and white patterned tights, black boots and a ringlet perm! At 13-16 I was more into hip-hop, then at 18 Classical – Handel and Bach, then at 20 Cuban and Latin music. Sounds like quite the transformation. What do you like to do on the weekends now? Do you prefer to go out, or to hang out at home? I go out! I go salsa dancing sometimes or meet my friends for dinner and drinks, then the next day my daughter drags me out of bed and chases me round the pool!

Do you have a favorite movie or TV show, for those days when you want to stay in? I just watched the series Scandal, which I enjoyed, and before that I watched Ben and Kate, and loved it! My favourite movies would be Amelie, Chicago, and O Brother Where Art Thou. I also loved the series Seinfield. Do you have any special or unique talents? I can raise my eyebrows one at a time ;-) If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Telekinetic Why did you choose to teach Drama? I tried lots of different courses at University but I came back to Theatre. I have been acting in shows from the age of 5. I guess it just makes sense. How can students be successful in your classes? Welcome each other, be enthusiastic, and be risk takers :-) Photos by Le Hoang Phuong Linh 7

Studying in Canada British Columbia. And how about application deadlines? The Canadian application deadline is usually later than in the United States. Typically, the deadlines occur sometime in February. After applying, there is another deadline for document submission. Some universities may have an early application deadline, however, and it is worth it to do research on this. These are the major differences in the application process between Canada and the United States. Do Canadian universities also accept the CommonApp or something like it?

Reverberations senior staff members Chu Thi Tra My and Nguyen Ngoc Hoang An met with our new Counselor, Canadian Ms. Mirrell Desjardins, to find out all about studying in Canada. Are there any major differences in applying to Canadian universities, as compared to US universities? The application process for Canada and the United States differs in a few ways. In Canada, there are fewer documents that need to be submitted. Admission into most Canadian universities depends on high school GPAs, specific course requirements, and demographic details. What are typical admissions requirements? Depending on the program and university, students will need a minimal admissions average. Usually, a “B� average is quite acceptable for general Arts and Science programs. Students also need to have taken specific courses for certain programs. For a general Arts and Science program, students need to have taken a mathematics, science, and English course. Most Canadian universities do not require SAT or ACT scores, although some of the more popular universities, like the University of Toronto or the University of British Columbia, have started to require this. Also, Canadian universities do not require a university application essay because admittance depends on grades. However, some universities are integrating the college application essay into their admission requirements. Again, these universities are the more popular/competitive ones, like University of Toronto or the University of


Canadian universities do not use the CommonApp system. Each university has its own application. For some, this may be entirely a hard copy application system. Most universities do use an online application system. However, most require hard copies of documents, which require paperwork to be mailed. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the university directly to find out its policy. What is the visa policy for immigrants/international students? There are several documents that need to be submitted for international students to be granted a student visa. Students must submit a medical report, photos, an acceptance letter from a university or college, proof of financial support, and an application for study permit. Also, the student must hold a valid passport with validity that exceeds the proposed study date. There is also an application fee. Full information can be found here: The application process can take 12 weeks or longer. To avoid delays, students are encouraged to ensure that the application package is complete. If there is an omission of an important document, the application process could be delayed. Are living expenses in Canada higher than in United States? Although university tuition is less expensive than in the United States, the cost of living is higher in Canada. These are some examples of the differences:

Letter from Toronto Graduate Nguyen Quang Minh (class of ‘13), writes to us a

room on 19th floor in my residence far from the noisy street, so

Physics/Math major at University of Toronto.

I always have a quiet place to concentrate on my work. Daily

Two months have passed since I arrived Canada. Although

life in Canada starts later than in Vietnam; people only have go

it has only been a short period of time, these two months have

to work at 9 or 10 am, so I can stay up late at night to do my

been quite memorable.

work without worrying that I’ll be late for class the following

It was the beautiful evening on the last day of August when my plane landed at Pearson International airport. Like any-

morning. The university experience is very different from high school.

one else going overseas for the very first time, I was worried.

Instead of going to school 5 days a week for 7 hours each day

I worried about who would wake me up in the morning so I

like I did for the last 15 years, I only have to go to school for 3

would not be late for class. I was scared that I wouldn’t be

to 5 hours each day and 4 days a week. Though I do not have

able to keep pace with other students in my classes, and that I

to go to class as much, that doesn’t mean I have more free time

might fail the tests. However, those feelings did not last long,

to hang around because a lot of time is spent on homework

and they were quickly replaced by excitement and passion to

and reading for the next class.

conquer new horizons. I confidently finished an interview with a customs officer,

A 50-minute class in college could be compared to two week of studies in high school, so the students would proba-

got my study permit, and picked up my luggage. Pearson

bly not understand anything if they did not read the text book

Airport is massive and it took me a while to find the way out. At

ahead of time. In fact, most of my knowledge acquisition has

the gate, I was heartily welcomed by my uncle’s family, includ-

been through self-study. Coming to the lectures just helped me

ing his wife who was in her eighth month of pregnancy. They

to consolidate and deepen the knowledge that I had already

drove me to their home, and served me a flavorful dinner. They


invited me to stay at their home for a week while I got settled,

After one month of school, I started to get stressed when

but I had to go to university residence in the next morning.

there were term projects and essays I had to complete before

I am now a freshman at University of Toronto. Founded

the given deadlines. The thing I struggled with most was en-

in 1827, UT is one of the oldest universities in Canada and

suring the progress of all of the projects and essays while at the

consistently ranks among the world’s top 20 universities. The

same time acquiring new knowledge in the courses. I realized it

university is located in the Discovery District, an area of down-

was fairly important to choose courses that I had a real interest

town Toronto that features a high concentration of educational

in so I would not be bored and give up on the assignments.

institutions and research hospitals. Toronto is a world city as it is home to many ethic groups

To the seniors, I hope you all will have a wonderful school year and be accepted to the university of your dreams. For

coming from all over the world; over 140 languages are spoken

all the AP students, I encourage you to sit the AP exams; with

here! In fact, more than 50% of the city’s population was born

a score of 4 or 5 you not only have chance for scholarships,

outside Canada. In spite of being multi-racial city, people here

but also the opportunity to earn credit at many universities in

treat each other equally regardless of skin color and ethnicity.

North America and skip some of the typical first-year university

The city is also well known as a center for commerce, finance, industry, and entertainment alongside New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Toronto‘s cosmopolitan atmosphere is clearly reflected in its cuisine. I could find any Euro-

classes. Lastly, I wish all ISHCMC American Academy teachers would always stay healthy and have a blessed school year. Nguyen Quang Minh ‘13 (Received Cognita scholarsh ip 15,000 USD)

pean, Asian dishes and even my favorite Vietnamese dishes without going too far from my residence. However, I often prefer the food in the university residence since food outside can be pricey. A big, hot bowl of pho from a restaurant costs me $10, which is approximately eight times the price it would be Saigon. As my residence is not too far from the campus, I walk to classes making the activity my daily exercise. Luckily, I have a



The Fun Stuff Who’s that Kid?


The little boy on the bottom left of this family photo is now an ISHCMC American Academy teacher. The little boy in photo 2 is another teacher. Email your guesses to for house points.


Riddles & Trivia

SAT Vocab

What kind of tree can you carry in your hand?

Here is our SAT vocabulary word of the month.

What is so delicate that saying its name breaks it? What do corncobs call their father? Be the first to answer any riddle to for a house point.


(adj) very productive Ex: If you participate in NaNoWriMo, you will do a profilic amount of writing in the month of November! YOU TRY IT! Email a sentence with the word to First 3 correct uses will earn house points.

What do you want to see in the “Fun Stuff” section? Write to us at with your ideas for earning house points. 11



Homerooms 8A & 8B

ISHCMC AA Newsletter December 2013 - English  
ISHCMC AA Newsletter December 2013 - English