La Lettre June 2019
Raising Our Voices La Lettre June 2019 | 1
Connect with us on social media
www.instagram.com/frenchamerican_international www.facebook.com/frenchamericansf www.facebook.com/internationalsf www.youtube.com/internationalsf â€‹
2 | La Lettre June 2019
Lettre June 2019
In this issue 4 Head of School 8 Board of Trustees 12 Strategic Plan Update 16 Year-In-Review 30 Embracing Our Stories 32 Inclusion Begins Here 34 Human Rights 36 Neurodiversity 38 Adolescent Wellness 40 Geography, Gender, and Fashion 42 Social-Emotional Learning 44 Immigration Stories 48 Walls, Borders, and Boundaries 50 The Refugee Experience 52 Gender Equality in Athletics 54 Faculty Spotlight 56 Global Travel 64 Alumni 74 Athletics 84 Arts 94 College Matriculation 96 Annual Auction
is published by the Office of Communication, with tremendous thanks to all who contributed content.
Contents © 2019 Keelee Wrenn, Director Sofie Kodner, Associate Director Rick Gydesen, Publications French American International School International High School Lycée International Franco-Américain 150 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 558-2000 www.internationalsf.org
La Lettre June 2019 | 3
Head of School
What is the role of diversity in an international education? This year I went back to school. For two wonderful, wintry weeks, I participated in Klingenstein Heads of Schools program at Teachers College, Columbia University, joining 19 other heads from across the the U.S. and the world for intensive study of educational issues facing independent and international schools. We read widely; studied intensively with leading thinkers in philosophy, diversity, and the science of education; and debated vigorously as we walked the 40 city blocks to and from the Columbia campus. The program was perfect for a leader of a French, American, and international school. I arrived with questions arising from our school culture, our educational mission, and the current social-political moment: What is the role of diversity in an international education? What does this mean for us at French American and International? And how can we create a shared culture from the diverse experiences and identities of the members of our international school? Answers emerged as we read and discussed the work of French and American educational philosophers. As Michel de Montaigne affirms in On the Education of Children, writing in a time as fraught with conflict as our own, the experience of diversity is at the heart of any education: we must learn “of the humours of [other] peoples and their manners . . . knocking off our corners by rubbing our brains against other people’s” in order to build our own understanding of the world. The aim of education, according to the American educational philosopher John Dewey, is not only to enable the student to transform information into knowledge but also to cultivate character, “the power to stand up and count for something in the actual conflicts of life.” This ability “to be responsive
4 | La Lettre June 2019
to the demands of justice toward others,” in the words of Columbia professor and philosopher David Hansen, is a central ideal in international schools, in which people from different backgrounds, cultures, and nations unite in the pursuit of learning and in a spirit of shared humanity and goodwill. I can think of no mission more necessary, especially now. The diversity of our French American and International community is clearly an asset in realizing this important goal. The key lies in embracing our community’s diversity and realizing our value of inclusion, for what is at stake, as social psychologists Gregory Walton and Shannon Brady note, “is people’s sense of fit between themselves and a setting.” By honoring our individual identities and experiences, we can create a culture in which all of our students, all of our families, feel that they belong and thus can flourish. This issue of La Lettre focuses on our school’s work on diversity, inclusion, and belonging—on our effort to foster that fit and to create a shared culture in the service of our international mission. Returning to the role of a student and exploring these ideas with other educators this winter renewed my belief in what we do every day at French American and International. I hope that you and yours have a similarly inspiring summer, and I look forward to welcoming you back to school in August.
Melinda Bihn, Ed. D.
Head of School | Proviseur
Melinda Bihn with fellow colleagues at the Klingenstein Heads of Schools program, Columbia University.
La Lettre June 2019 | 5
« Cette capacité « à répondre aux exigences de la justice envers les autres est un idéal qui occupe une place privilégiée dans les établissements internationaux dans lesquels des personnes de différentes origines, cultures et nations se rassemblent pour apprendre dans un esprit d’humanité commune et de bonne volonté. »
Cette année, j’ai repris le chemin de l’école. Pendant deux merveilleuses semaines hivernales, j’ai participé au programme Klingenstein à l’intention des chefs d’établissement du Teachers College de l’Université de Columbia, avec 19 autres proviseurs des États-Unis et du monde entier, pour y étudier en profondeur les questions pédagogiques auxquelles sont confrontés les établissements indépendants et internationaux. Nous avons beaucoup lu, nous avons étudié de manière intensive avec d’éminents penseurs dans le domaine de la philosophie, de la diversité et des sciences de l’éducation, et nos échanges étaient animés sur notre chemin le long des 40 pâtés de maisons jusqu’au campus de Columbia. Le programme était parfait pour un chef d’établissement français, américain et international. Je suis arrivée avec des questions issues de notre culture scolaire, notre mission éducative et du contexte sociopolitique actuel : quel est le rôle de la diversité dans
une éducation internationale ? Qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour nous au Lycée International Franco-Américain ? Et comment pouvons-nous créer une culture commune à partir des expériences et des identités diverses des membres de notre communauté internationale ? Des réponses ont émergé à la lecture et la discussion des travaux de philosophes de l’éducation français et américains. Comme l’affirme Michel de Montaigne dans De l’institution des enfants, alors qu’il écrit à une époque aussi marquées par les conflits que la nôtre, l’expérience de la diversité est au cœur de toute éducation : nous devons apprendre « des humeurs des [autres] peuples et de leurs manières… », élargir nos perspectives en confrontant nos idées avec celles des autres afin d’acquérir notre propre compréhension du monde. Selon le philosophe de l’éducation américain John Dewey, l’éducation a pour objectif non seulement de permettre à l’élève de transformer l’information en connaissance,
Melinda Bihn with members of the Student Council at this year’s Senior Walk.
6 | La Lettre June 2019
Mission mais également de forger son caractère, « le pouvoir de prendre position et de compter dans les conflits réels de la vie ». Cette capacité « à répondre aux exigences de la justice envers les autres », selon David Hansen, professeur et philosophe à Columbia, est un idéal qui occupe une place privilégiée dans les établissements internationaux dans lesquels des personnes de différentes origines, cultures et nations se rassemblent pour apprendre dans un esprit d’humanité commune et de bonne volonté. Il n’y a pas à mon avis de mission plus cruciale, surtout à l’heure actuelle. La diversité de notre communauté franco-américaine et internationale est un atout indéniable sur la voie de la réalisation de cet objectif important. L’acceptation de la diversité de notre communauté et l’adhésion à notre valeur d’inclusion sont essentielles, car, comme le soulignent les psychologues sociaux Gregory Walton et Shannon Brady, il en va du « sentiment d’appartenance à un environnement ». En célébrant nos identités et expériences individuelles, nous pouvons instaurer une culture à laquelle tous nos élèves, toutes nos familles, ont le sentiment d’appartenir, et dans laquelle ils peuvent donc s’épanouir. Ce numéro de La Lettre est plus particulièrement consacré au travail de notre établissement en matière de diversité, d’inclusion et d’appartenance - aux efforts que nous déployons pour favoriser cet ajustement et créer une culture commune au service de notre mission internationale. Mon retour sur les bancs de l’école et l’exploration de ces idées avec d’autres éducateurs cet hiver n’a fait que confirmer ma foi en l’importance de ce que nous faisons tous les jours au Lycée International Franco-Américain. J’espère que votre été et celui de vos proches seront aussi riches en inspiration, et j’ai hâte de vous accueillir de retour en août au sein de notre établissement !
Guided by the principles of academic rigor and diversity, French American and International offers programs of study in French and English to prepare its graduates for a world in which the ability to think critically and to communicate across cultures is of paramount importance. Guidé par des principes de rigueur académique et de diversité, le Lycée International Franco-Américain propose des programmes en français et en anglais, pour assurer la réussite de ses diplômés dans un monde dans lequel la pensée critique et la communication interculturelle seront déterminantes.
Values Our international community brings together people from many backgrounds. Together we strive to create a shared culture that develops compassionate, confident, and principled people who will make the world better. We base our community on these values:
Respect, Integrity, Inclusion, Collaboration, and Curiosity. Notre communauté internationale rassemble des personnes de toutes origines. Ensemble, nous contribuons à créer une culture qui forme des êtres altruistes et déterminés. Dotés d’un sens moral, ils œuvrent à un monde meilleur. Notre communauté repose sur les valeurs suivantes :
Respect, Intégrité, Inclusion, Collaboration, et Curiosité.
La Lettre June 2019 | 7
Board of Trustees
Divertingly Diverse By Josh Nossiter, Chair In the late 1960s, the British School of New Delhi harbored about eighty students from nearly forty different countries. Americans were a tiny minority. My best pals were from Singapore and Jordan. We were as diverse a school as can be imagined, long before diversity was even thought about, much less considered a desirable institutional quality. We students thought equally little of our far flung origin stories. Bernard was Bernard and Hamid, Hamid, and if we all started life on opposite sides of the world, it was, to our middle school minds, the least important thing about any of us. Not that we didn’t learn from each other, important life lessons such as: do not play cricket without wearing a cup, or refrain from saying “gobble gobble” to an English-speaking Turk—unless you want to start a fight. But they were lessons acquired organically, in the quotidian grind of scrapping, playing, yarning, and studying, rather than from any kind of formal cross-cultural teaching. Lucky us, they were all the more memorable for that. Decades on, much of it remains with me.
A World At Our Doorstep At French American and International our families, faculty, and staff have always hailed from dozens of countries around the globe. It is one of our greatest strengths. Of course we send students traveling the world to sample at first hand the sights and sounds and smells of distant climes. Far beyond that, our students rub shoulders daily with a
8 | La Lettre June 2019
United Nations writ small of peers, teachers, and staff from most continents. How fitting that for the past many years International’s graduation has taken place in the room where the UN Charter was signed. This mixing of the nations within our walls has benefits too many to count. A fiery Russian learned a little patience from a Japanese upperclassman on my daughter’s varsity tennis team, and returned the favor with a little transferred fire. My son inspired to study government by a brilliant Senegalese economics teacher. The extraordinary comportment of a houseful of German exchange students, demonstrating to their US counterparts a degree of courtliness and civility not always seen in home-grown adolescents. A French kindergartener teaching her classmates all the carols she knew. A young Spaniard modeling the most exquisitely impeccable table manners for her fellow tots. All of it unconscious, unforced, natural, and therefore unforgettable. I’ve seen fourth grade classmates of my son give absolutely compelling country reports, in large measure because those who hadn’t visited the countries being reported on were likely natives of them. I’ve heard fascinating disquisitions on Silvio Berlusconi by an Italian journalist who’d covered him from the beginning, the father of a classmate of my daughter’s. Chatting with the middle and high school students at the International Evening of Culture in April, I was struck not so much by the sophistication of their insights into their far reaching trips, because I’d expect nothing else from our students, but by how easily and fluently they talked. In part because our students grow up surrounded by people from everywhere, a visit to the far side of the world is a walk in the park for them.
A True Citizen of the World For our students, the journey from Maternelle to International graduation is one not just of reflexive understanding of difference, but enthusiastic embrace of it. As with my own experience at the British School of New Delhi, it goes well beyond learning to get along with the superficially unlike, beyond being adaptable and empathetic and willing to learn. Because our students, as I did back in the day, are having a lot of fun—with their work, with their peers, and with their teachers. Although life in our scaled down UN isn’t always easy, it is unfailingly stimulating, enriching, and broadening. At journey’s end, the absorption over time of all those cultural differences produces a graduate who is supremely well prepared to be a true citizen of the world, and a better human being for it. I’m convinced of this, having seen it happen for thirty years. Correspondence is welcome, to email@example.com
Une diversité divertissante À la fin des années 1960, la British School of New Delhi n’avait qu’environ quatre-vingts élèves de près de quarante pays différents. Les Américains n’y étaient qu’une infime minorité. Mes meilleurs amis venaient de Singapour et de Jordanie. On n’aurait pu imaginer un établissement plus divers, bien avant que la mixité ne devienne une préoccupation, encore moins qu’on y voie une qualité institutionnelle souhaitable. Les élèves que nous étions n’avaient que faire de nos origines lointaines. Bernard était Bernard et Hamid, Hamid, et si nous avions tous commencé notre vie dans des coins opposés du monde, cela n’avait pas la moindre importance pour des collégiens. Nous avons bien appris les uns des autres d’importantes leçons de vie, comme, par exemple, à ne pas jouer au cricket sans porter de coquille et à éviter d’imiter le cri de la dinde en face d’un Turc anglophone - à moins que l’on ait envie de se battre. Mais l’on apprenait ces leçons de manière organique, dans la routine quotidienne des écorchures, des jeux, des histoires et de l’étude, plutôt que dans le cadre d’un enseignement interculturel formel quelconque. Elles en étaient heureusement d’autant plus mémorables. Après plusieurs dizaines d’années, je n’ai pas oublié beaucoup d’entre elles.
Board of Trustees Conseil de Gestion 2018-2019 Joshua Nossiter Chair Andrea Kennedy Vice Chair Paul Loeffler Vice Chair Stephane de Bord Treasurer Philippe Grenier Secretary Amy Baghdadi Jean Paul Balajadia Allan Basbaum John Cate Orpheus Crutchfield Stephan Forget Jon Fulk Kate Green Coreen Hester Robert Mee Erin O’Donnell Reiling Laurie Poston Carey Wintroub Deborah Zachareas
Honorary Trustee Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens Consul Général, Honorary Chairman
La Lettre June 2019 | 9
“Your children are smart, resilient, adaptable, well-prepared. They’re going on a great adventure and will remember it for the rest of their lives.”
Un monde à notre porte Au Lycée International Franco-Américain, nos familles, nos professeurs et notre personnel viennent depuis toujours de dizaines de pays du monde entier. C’est l’une de nos plus grandes forces. Bien sûr, nous envoyons des étudiants autour du monde pour faire par eux-mêmes l’expérience des images, des sons et des odeurs de contrées lointaines. Bien au-delà de cela, nos élèves côtoient quotidiennement une assemblée des Nations Unies miniature de leurs pairs, d’enseignants et d’employés originaires de la plupart des continents. Il n’est donc pas surprenant que, depuis de nombreuses années, la cérémonie de remise des diplômes du Lycée International se déroule dans la salle même où la charte des Nations Unies a été signée. Ce mélange de nations dans nos murs s’accompagne d’innombrables avantages. Une Russe au tempérament impulsif a appris un peu de patience d’une Japonaise plus âgée dans l’équipe de tennis universitaire de ma fille, qui a elle appris en retour à faire preuve de plus de passion. Mon fils a découvert une vocation pour les sciences politiques au contact d’un brillant professeur d’économie sénégalais. Le comportement remarquable d’un groupe d’élèves allemands participant à un programme d’échange a donné l’exemple à leurs homologues américains d’une courtoisie et d’une civilité que l’on n’observe pas toujours chez les adolescents de notre pays. Une élève de maternelle française a enseigné à ses camarades tous les chants qu’elle connaissait, alors qu’une petite Espagnole leur montrait de bonnes manières exquises
et impeccables à table. Tout cela de manière inconsciente, sans contrainte, naturelle et donc inoubliable. J’ai vu des camarades de la classe de CM1 de mon fils faire des présentations absolument captivantes sur des pays, en grande partie parce que, s’ils n’avaient pas visité les pays en question, ils y étaient probablement nés. J’ai assisté à un exposé fascinant sur Silvio Berlusconi par un journaliste italien qui le couvrait depuis le début, le père d’un camarade de classe de ma fille. En discutant avec les collégiens et les lycéens à la Soirée internationale de la culture en avril, j’ai été frappé non seulement par la sophistication de leurs idées en ce qui concerne leurs voyages au long cours, car je n’en attendais pas moins de nos élèves, mais par l’aisance de leur élocution. En partie parce que nos élèves grandissent autour de personnes en provenance du monde entier, une visite à l’autre bout du monde est pour eux une promenade de santé.
Un vrai citoyen du monde Pour nos élèves, le parcours de la Maternelle à la remise des diplômes ne conduit pas seulement à comprendre la différence, mais à pleinement l’apprécier. Comme pour ma propre expérience à la British School of New Delhi, il ne s’agit pas seulement d’apprendre à s’entendre avec ceux qui sont différents de manière superficielle, ni seulement d’être adaptable, empathique et disposé à apprendre. Parce que nos élèves, comme moi à l’époque, s’amusent beaucoup dans leur travail, avec leurs pairs et avec leurs professeurs. Bien que la vie dans notre ONU à échelle réduite ne soit pas toujours facile, elle est sans cesse stimulante et enrichissante. À la fin du voyage, l’absorption graduelle de toutes ces différences culturelles produit un diplômé extrêmement bien préparé à être un véritable citoyen du monde, et donc un meilleur être humain. J’en suis convaincu, parce que j’en suis témoin depuis trente ans. N’hésitez pas à me transmettre toute correspondance éventuelle à firstname.lastname@example.org
10 | La Lettre June 2019
The PK4 Red microsoccer team gets into the game-time spirit. La Lettre June 2019 | 11
Connecting Our Community
12 | La Lettre June 2019
Strategic Plan Update
International program promise
Launched in 2017, the Strategic Plan provides a compass for our school-wide initiatives; each of our ongoing, large-scale projects nests underneath one of our five key strategic goals. As a result, our work has been efficiently and effectively implemented because our path of continuous improvement is clear.
An academic program that enables our students to grapple with challenging concepts in more than one culture
We are excited to share with
● Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger
you what have accomplished this year, and look forward to continuing the work next year.
(Agency for French Education Abroad) was hosted for our Homologation visit, and the Council for International Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges hosted for a successful Preparatory Visit that resulted in our school being invited to launch the full self-study phase of the accreditation; the International Baccalaureate Organization authorized us to continue offering the Diploma Program after successful completion of our self-study this year
● Library program was reviewed for grades PreK-12, and plans are in progress for a newly designed Grades 3-8 library
● Experiential Learning Grant for teachers was instituted,
with this year’s pilot program offering learning experiences across the world for six teachers
● Entire school’s brand was redesigned, and a new website was launched to showcase the new design and messaging
La Lettre June 2019 | 13
Vibrant urban campus
A caring culture that imparts to our students the ability to navigate the world with confidence, command, empathy, and joy
A campus that meets the needs of our students and is an integral part of San Francisco
● Responsive Classroom training brought into the
● Grade 10 internship instituted through the Urban
● Culturally Responsive Teaching implementation
● Community Salon Series began, with three
began in the High School
● Affinity groups for middle school and high school
students, as well as for parents school-wide, were reinvigorated and/or established
● Day of Action was organized by the High School
Student Diversity Council and featured a full day of speakers presenting on social justice in the media and arts to our high school students
14 | La Lettre June 2019
very successful events hosted, featuring parent presenters
● New Oak Playground opened at the start of school,
the 2nd floor was remodeled to bring in natural sunlight, and flooring was refinished in all hallways of the school
● Plans for our new high school campus are moving
forward through the SF Planning Department approval processes as part of the Hub rezoning effort; strong partnership with a reliable and experienced developer also established to enable us to bring the entire campus project to reality
Proud, engaged community
Culture of giving
A community in which parents, students, teachers, and alumni feel connection to and pride in our school
A community that is continually inspired to support the aspirations of our school
● Alumni Council was established, with alumni
● Received a record-breaking amount of Annual Fund
representation ranging from the Class of 1985 to the Class of 2015
● Newly created Trustee Alumni events hosted in the fall and spring
● School store launched so that students, families,
faculty, and staff can showcase their school spirit with new Jag Swag!
● Parents volunteered in great numbers, with 223
donations, totaling more than $1.4 million
● Annual Auction sold out, with nearly 500 attendees helping us raise more than $680,000
● Cercle du Proviseur had record-breaking
attendance, with 180 community members attending the event
● Board of Trustees approved the school’s Campaign for a Bold Future, in support of a new High School campus
parent-volunteers assisting during Admissions tours, field trips, in-class activities, and more
La Lettre June 2019 | 15
The Year in Review
16 | La Lettre June 2019
01 Itâ€™s Play Time: Nice to Meet You: 02
Lower school students enjoy the new play structures in the Oak Yard.
High school students spend the first few days community-building on retreats to the Mother Lode River Center, the Community of the Great Commission Camp, and the Westminster Woods Camp.
Moving on Up: Students begin their middle school adventure with the Grade 6 Retreat to Cazadero.
La Lettre June 2019 | 17
04 05 Engaged Citizens: Community Salon: 06
Food Trucks & Friends: French American and International families celebrate the start of a new school year with a picnic on the Great Lawn at Fort Mason. citizenship.
The Grade 6 trip to Washington, D.C. fosters student engagement and
The Community Salon Series launches as an opportunity for our school community to share and connect through topical discussion.
18 | La Lettre June 2019
07 International Showcase: 08 Halloween Extravaganza: 09 Young Leadership:
Several high school students experience their SFJazz debut at our International Showcase for prospective families. The High School Student Council (StuCo) organizes a Halloween Assembly, and the costumes impress. Middle School Student Council President Ella and Officer Audrey meet with Leslie Adams, Director of Student Activities, to put the finishing touches on plans for the Middle School Aloha Dance.
07 La Lettre June 2019 | 19
Rockin’ for a Cause International’s annual Songs for Senegal fundraiser benefits Project Senegal, our long-standing service project that supports the students of NatanguéSénégal, a K-6 school in M’bour.
20 | La Lettre June 2019
11 12 13
Helping the Homeless:
As part of their service learning project, Grade 8 students purchase and package items for Project Homeless Connect, a local organization that supports the unhoused.
Every Vote Counts: Students volunteer at voting centers around the city during the midterm elections.
After exploring and practicing the artistic style of Indiaâ€™s Mithila region in the classroom, Grade 4 students visit the Mithila exhibit at the Asian Art Museum.
La Lettre June 2019 | 21
14 15 16
Students represent International at several Model United Nations conferences, and many delegates receive awards for their performances.
60 Minute Programming: Lower school students participate in Hour of Code, a
worldwide event that celebrates computer science and provides an opportunity for students to gain exposure to coding and programming.
Five high school students read personal essays at the San Francisco Human Rights Commissionâ€™s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
22 | La Lettre June 2019
17 18 19 17
Several High School students moderate conversations on diversity at the Academy for International School Heads (AISH) conference, with more than 100 international heads in attendance.
Students in Grades 5 and 6 collaborate on a vertical project. Together, students create presentations on a text in French with the theme “Ogres et Sorcières.”
Winter Shows: in French.
Maternelle students delight their families with a song and performance
La Lettre June 2019 | 23
20 Smiles & Sweets: From the MSNews Desk: 21 22 The Scientific Method:
French American and International parent volunteers across all grades gather in the GLIDE kitchen to make chocolate-dipped strawberries for Valentineâ€™s Day. The MSNews production team creates biweekly newscasts as part of the broadcast journalism exploration class offered in the Middle School. Young scientists in PK3, PK4, and K conduct a series of investigations into shadows, electricity, magnetism, and the kaleidoscope during Semaine des Sciences.
24 | La Lettre June 2019
Social Justice Thru Media & Arts The High School Student Diversity Council organizes the first annual Day of Action around the theme â€œSocial Justice Thru Media & Artsâ€? to stimulate student conversation and awareness on pressing current events.
La Lettre June 2019 | 25
Love of Math:
Small Steps Outward:
Middle school teachers, students, and parents celebrate Pi Day with a photo booth, pie decorating contest, and Pi recitation contest. Hippolyte, Grade 6, recited 40 digits from memory for the win! Lower school students develop a sense of community, responsibility, and independence during overnight, outdoor education trips to places like Coloma, Tuolumne, and Slide Ranch.
Grade 8 students meet with Holocaust survivor Leon Rajninger to learn about his experiences in Romania during World War II.
26 | La Lettre June 2019
Around the World:
The 2018-2019 Global Travel Program takes middle and high school students to the American South, Cambodia and Vietnam (pictured above), China and Tibet, Colombia and The Amazon, France, India, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Tahiti, Senegal, South Africa, and Washington D.C.
La Lettre June 2019 | 27
Lower school families volunteer together at a food bank in Potrero Hill, bagging rice and practicing responsible citizenship.
Ambassador en Herbe:
Several French American students participate in a debate competition in both French and English with over 100 schools from the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad). Two of our students advance to the semi-finals, and Sylvia (Grade 5) to the finals!
30 Broadcasting Live:
French American’s Tinker Space serves as a recording studio for the Lower School’s webradio show—inspiring creative writing, collaboration across grades, and the development of French oral skills.
28 | La Lettre June 2019
31 32 33
Bienvenue à San Francisco: Our Grade 5 students give a warm welcome to their correspondents from Le Gymnase and Notre Dame de Sion in France.
Math en Jeans:
Eighteen high school students present in French at the Maths en Jeans AEFE conference, the culmination of a whole school year’s worth of problem-solving preparation and practice.
Ideas Worth Sharing:
Students and guest speakers give thought-provoking TEDxYouth talks around the theme “Uncharted Territories.”
La Lettre June 2019 | 29
Embracing Our Stories 30 | La Lettre June 2019
Walking Bravely in Our Truths By Darryl Johnson Director of Diversity and Inclusion During one of the first middle school assemblies of the academic year, I projected a video of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Dangers of a Single Story, which I had also recently shared with the high school students. The middle schoolers were spellbound, clinging to each word Adichie spoke. Immediately after the video finished, hands shot into the air, and the all too familiar middle school behavior— “I’m silently, but also aggressively, waving my hand in the air… pick me, pick me!”—started to occur. The room was on fire, with some kids sharing bits of their own stories, while others hesitated, wanting to share things, but not being sure if they could. I concluded the assembly with these final thoughts and essential questions: “Personal stories are both purposeful and powerful. We tell them not just to feel at home in our bodies and to make sense of the world around us, but to also describe the places, people, and events in our lives that have transformed us. But how do we find the courage to share the intimate details of our individual experiences with people we hardly know?” I then invited the students to help lead spaces where people could share the many stories that color their lives. Weeks and many conversations later, we launched several new affinity spaces in the High School and began planning for the middle school launch in the spring. We decided to create spaces where people could feel at home, where they could learn to summon their bravest voice, feel kinship and comfort, share their personal stories, inquire into others’, and collectively reflect out loud about their shared experiences. For many of our students, their affinity space is where they learn to embrace their stories before opening up to others who may not share a similar lived experience. It is where many of our students learn to tell their truths. And where students have begun to shift our school culture. In allowing our students to act and share out of love instead of fear, affinity spaces signal that we—our stories included—are worthy of existing and of being understood and listened to with rapt attention. Each individual narrative is valid and important, and one story, our students are learning, cannot be eclipsed by another. As we cultivate this understanding, a culture of honest dialogue grows; one that allows us to acknowledge the need to share and feel at home in a variety of settings, yet also grapple with the fear that accompanies such vulnerability. As a result, we are witnessing rich, reflective conversations
where students practice active and thoughtful listening in a brave, gracious way, seeking to understand before being understood and inviting others, including their teachers, to share their gems of wisdom, challenges, successes, and truths. Between helping to develop courage and this very democratic approach to perspective-taking, our affinity spaces, after just a year in some cases, are challenging our students and our faculty members to develop the social-emotional agility to be both confident in their truths and empathetic in their listening. This in turn has, quite organically, led many of our students to realize they do not need to have perfect, homogeneous narratives in order to be worthy of care and admiration, and most promisingly, they are more aware of how incomplete single-story narratives can be, particularly at a school like ours that is so rich in diversity and truths. In the words of Adichie, “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity… When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.” This is our vision for French American and International. Won’t you, too, share your story?
La Lettre June 2019 | 31
Inclusion Begins Here
Developing a Sense of Self to Teach Inclusivity “You’re hairy!” “Your skin is dark!” At ages 3, 4, and 5, kids are honest with their observations. At this stage, children are starting to take note of and voice differences for the first time. It’s normal, of course, for children to be curious about people who look or act differently than they do. In our Maternelle, this natural curiosity is seen as the perfect opportunity to bring the importance of inclusivity into classrooms. “When students make these statements, we tell them: we are all different, but at the same time, we are all the same,” says Sonia Bleu-Laine, a Kindergarten French teacher. “We teach them that we accept everyone, and we talk about how to ask about differences without hurting others’ feelings.” For Sonia, diversity and inclusivity have always been interesting topics. “I’m biracial and I grew up in different countries. Even living here, I’m not American, but I’m not French either.” In the Fall of 2018, Sonia travelled to the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference with a group of 13 French American and International stu-
32 | La Lettre June 2019
dents, faculty, and staff. There, she connected with people of all identifiers who are also involved in education. “At the conference, I learned things that I could do in class with the kids. But, I also learned more about myself and my race, where I’m from. I was asking myself: What does it mean to be different? What does it mean to be biracial?” One of her biggest takeaways from the experience: “You have to know about yourself to teach this work.” Sonia returned from the conference with a strengthened sense of self and new educational tools to share with her colleagues. She immediately began putting together a list of songs with inclusive themes and lyrics. “We are implementing new diversity initiatives with curated songs and books, but this work is already a big part of the Maternelle curriculum,” Sonia noted. “We are conscious of it in every activity—which names, characters, and family structures we reference—and how we teach kids to interact with one another through social-emotional learning. Our teaching units reflect this, too.” This year, the first unit of the year at the Maternelle focused on getting to know each other. Students shared with their classmates about themselves and their families. The second unit focused on celebrations around the world. Both units last about three months, with most other daily activities referencing each theme. Even math activities incorporate the theme, for instance. Throughout the celebrations unit, all parents were invited to come into class and explain the celebrations of their country, religion, or culture. Students practiced dances, tried new foods, and learned new words in other languages. Through these lessons, children begin to understand diversity and inclusion at a developmentally-appropriate level. At the same time, they learn how to talk and share about themselves. The students present to the class about who they are, and this experience is reinforced soon after as they watch parents come in to discuss their own heritage and traditions. “As a teacher, it’s easy to see that it really develops a sense of pride of self in the student.” As students learn to embrace themselves, they also learn to welcome and include others.
Sonia Bleu-Laine teaches her K Red class a traditional Greek folk dance.
La Lettre June 2019 | 33
Celebrating 70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 26 | Chloe, Grade 10
34 | La Lettre June 2019
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)—the milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being—the San Francisco Human Rights Commission invited five International High School students to read essays at a celebratory event at Herbst Theater. Seventeen of our students attended the ceremony. Students crafted their essays under the direction of Head of Humanities and MUN Coordinator, Eunice Gillian. Keemia (Grade 10) read her essay about Article 23 of the UDHR. Her essay is published here.
Because you’re a girl. The words come as a whispered taunt, present in the back of my mind, carried in the wayward wind that follows my footsteps. So what? I think, for I am many things: keen-eyed, and curious, and calm, and thoughtful, and resourceful, and resilient. And yes, on top of everything, I am a girl. I am not ashamed by it, or frustrated, nor have I ever wished I were anything else; for being a girl is like being born at the base of a mountain that we must climb every day just to reach the sun, under a sky of rain, and thunder, and lightning, with clouds spun from iron. Often, it feels as though men have already been born at the peak of this mountain, while we have just laced our hiking boots and begun the long, arduous ascent. It is alarming to find that the reality is so different than what is written in our Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the second clause of article 23 states that “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.” This has never been the case in our society. We, women, have not been awarded the same salary as men for the same work. For decades, we have been demanding an equal pay, as it is our universal right, starting in the 1960s with President John F. Kennedy’s signing of the Equal Pay Act. Years later, the conditions of the pact are still not observed; while it is illegal to pay a woman less money simply on the basis of sex, employers still find reasons to lower a woman’s salary, such as motherhood, gender roles, outdated stereotypes, and occupational segregation—which is defined
Article 23 | Keemia, Grade 10
as “the distribution of workers across occupations based upon demographic characteristics, most often gender.” While the gender pay gap has decreased since the 1960s, women still earn only 78% of what men in the same workfield make. As a young woman, this statistic deeply troubles me and makes me question everything I’ve been told growing up. If men and women are equal, then why aren’t we being paid the same amount of money for the same work? 22% may not seem like a large difference, but it represents the gravity of our societal problems. The year is 2018, and sexism remains as prevalent in the minds of people throughout the world. I write this not only for myself, but for every young girl in the world who has been told they cannot do something because of their gender. I write this for every woman who has been mistreated, used, and abused, denied a job she deserves, taught to sit quietly, smile sweetly, and to emulate a pretty vase or a piece of furniture. I write this for all my sisters who have been ignored, and discriminated against, and exploited for thousands of years, yet keep climbing the mountain. Regardless of the hurricane raging to douse our flame, or the thunderous skies booming at us to turn back, to abandon hope, and give up, we keep climbing. For although men have the privilege of being born under warm sunshine and clear, azure skies, they lack the resilience women have acquired from years of injustice. Now, to all those who tell me I cannot because I’m a girl, I know what to say. Exactly.
Article 19 | Veronica, Grade 10
La Lettre June 2019 | 35
Learning Specialist Traci Everett presenting at TEDxYouth | April 2019
36 | La Lettre June 2019
By Traci Everett High School Learning Specialist At our school, we know that when we appreciate neurodiversity—the different ways people learn and experience the world—everyone benefits. This may not strike you as a profound value, but in schools across the United States and around the world, students with learning challenges work tirelessly to overcome not only their learning difficulties, but also the culture of their educational system. These students are often overlooked at conventional schools—where teachers tend to notice students who learn quickly, sit up straight, and write neatly. Yet, we know that the world beyond the classroom is filled with happy and successful people who have a much broader range of skills than these parameters. At our school, we take care to identify and extend our students’ strengths, and often, that support flourishes when we spread awareness and understanding around the topic of neurodiversity. Learning differences can be complicated to understand, so let’s consider an analogous situation. Several years ago, I realized that something was getting in the way of my own learning: my eyesight. My eyes just didn’t seem to work the way they should; the road signs were getting harder to read and the fine print was becoming finer. I decided I should visit a professional who would be able to help me figure out what was going on, and what to do about it. The optometrist did a thorough eye exam and he determined that I did, in fact, have some vision challenges. He believed that wearing eyeglasses with a specific prescription would be an appropriate accommodation to compensate for my diminished vision. Learning challenges are similar. Parents, teachers, or students themselves suspect that something isn’t going quite right with the child’s educational journey. A formal evaluation is sought from a psychologist, neurologist, or other highly qualified professional. These evaluations take hours and consider many aspects of how a student learns. Based on the findings of this evaluation, a diagnosis is made and specific accommodations are recommended for the child. No one has ever tried to tell me that my glasses are an unfair advantage over people who don’t need glasses. Nor has anyone ever doubted that I really need them—that maybe the optometrist was mistaken or that I was faking my vision issues. Other people rarely ask if they can use my glasses— this accommodation is appropriate for me, but for other people, even ones who have vision issues, my particular pair of glasses would likely not be of much help. Glasses don’t give
me superpowers! I can’t see through walls or into the future. They simply help me see the same way that people without vision issues can see. Similarly, academic accommodations are appropriate to compensate for the specific challenges that are discovered in a student’s formal evaluation. They are not unfair, nor would they be right for every student. Each student with a learning challenge has a plan with individualized accommodations. Just as my glasses are specifically for me, academic accommodations are tailored to each student, based on the unique learning profile discovered during evaluation. Interestingly, I often hear from adults who have learning challenges and successfully navigated the educational system. They talk about how they learned resilience and tenacity despite all the difficulties. I admire their accomplishments, but challenge the idea that today’s students should endure the same struggle. It is estimated that about 13% of students have some kind of learning challenge. We now know so much more about how to support them. Wouldn’t it be better to embrace and empower students of all kinds so that they can develop strong character traits from positive experiences, rather than having to overcome unnecessary obstacles? Recognizing the learning challenges faced by many students removes the stigma of learning differences, and helps us re-conceptualize the way we educate our children. The work that has been done with students who have learning challenges has led to the development of evidence-based teaching methods and tools. Unlike accommodations, these strategies benefit not only students with learning differences, but ALL students. We know that employers today are looking for creativity, communication skills, critical thinking, and the ability to collaborate well. Shifting our educational focus to appreciate neurodiversity allows these skills to naturally be a part of the learning process for all students. As parents and educators, it is critical that we seek to figure out why our students struggle and help them find tools to overcome these difficulties. Across the grade levels here at French American and International, we provide individualized accommodations while helping students play to their strengths in order to overcome their challenges. What may look like a lack of effort, a bad attitude, or an inability may stem instead from a learning challenge, diagnosed or not. We use proven methods that help students thrive no matter how they learn. Every student has strengths and challenges; neurodiversity is part of the human condition and should be appreciated.
La Lettre June 2019 | 37
Creating Safe Spaces Every year, Middle School Counselor Barri Aji leads students in a Wellness Program, a series of six wellness classes that take place over a four month period. Each middle school grade level focuses on a different topic throughout the program, and for Grade 7, that topic is sexual orientation, gender identity, communication, and healthy relationships. During this period of adolescence, the timing is perfect. At this age, students are starting to develop romantic feelings. The Wellness Program classes begin by defining and differentiating terms for all students in order to lay a foundation of basic understanding of the concepts. Sexual orientation is framed as “who a person has the capacity to fall in love with,” and gender is understood as “whom students see themselves as,” and who they feel they are inside. These simple definitions allow all students to have an entry point into the conversation. Guided by Barri, students discern misconceptions from reality by relating to people of different orientations and identities. Students learn about the experience of coming out, and how the safety and success of the experience may vary greatly for different people. They discuss the importance of evaluating who the best person to come out to is, and if that person will help maintain a safe environment for them. By hearing stories of teens who have been through different scenarios, they come to understand the seriousness of treating others with respect and dignity throughout the coming out process. They learn that within a supportive community, the experience can be positive and lead to feeling whole. Through the classes, Barri aims to create a welcoming environment where students are able to feel like their most authentic self.
38 | La Lettre June 2019
“In the past, after the Wellness Program classes, one or two students would approach me in private and discuss what they were going through,” Barri says. “But in the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that more and more students are openly expressing their gender differences and sexual orientation [to their peers]. There seems to be more openness today than there was before.” In this environment, Barri sees opportunity. “We felt like now is a time when it’s safe to establish an LGBTQ affinity space in the Middle School, and that kids would be enthusiastic about coming forward to join.” Within just a few days of the group being established, the response did not disappoint. Students volunteered in large numbers to help create posters broadcasting the first meeting. “There is a lot of excitement about it. The kids are really excited. Students of all identifiers immediately expressed that they want to come to the meeting and be a part of the group.” The sense, Barri has felt, is one of relief that there will be somewhere students can express that part of themselves with one another. “Kids have been so open about gender and sexual orientation at our school, so it is important to represent this community and make a space for them,” Barri adds. In a recent episode of MSNews, a video broadcast created as part of the Middle School Exploration class, a student reporter asked a peer the question of the week: Who is your favorite celebrity and why? Confidently, the student interviewee stared into the camera with a smile and answered, “The Fab 5 of Queer Eye (a popular TV show) because they’ve helped me to accept my gender.” This, Barri shares, is an example of the environment we are sowing, and the valor of our students. “Our school promotes acceptance of difference of any kind,” Barri notes. “The evidence that this is a safe place and that we’ve been doing a good job is that our students are very protective of their classmates’ right to be different and be whomever they want to be.” Of course, there is always room for continued growth. Through her Wellness Program and efforts as a counselor, Barri continues to teach students about respecting and supporting one another. The new affinity space will be one more tool to educate and create a home for everyone in our community.
Barri Aji leads her Grade 7 wellness class in a discussion of orientation and identity.
La Lettre June 2019 | 39
Geography, Gender, & Fashion
Understanding ‘Then and Now’ through the Lens of Fashion
Members of the Grade 10 histoire-géographie class lead a session for students during the 2019 Day of Action.
40 | La Lettre June 2019
“Fashion is a passport,” histoire-géographie teacher Mouna Harifi says from her seat at the front of her high school classroom, glancing with a smile toward the eight Grade 10 students sitting at desks in a crescent shape around her. All of her students in this class are bright-eyed young women, who themselves are eager to add to Mouna’s artful assertion. One student, Berta, begins to describe how women during the Roman Empire would sometimes wear clothing as revealing as a bikini. “It completely shocked me,” she shares, and then continues on to contrast the Roman attire with the fully covered, prohibitive dress worn in the 18th century. This year was the first that Mouna decided to use fashion as a lens through which to teach her history and geography classes. It is no coincidence that this was also the year that three major museums in San Francisco—the de Young Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Asian Art Museum—each showcased intricate fashion exhibits on select cultures. Her Grade 10 class visited the Contemporary Muslim Fashion exhibit at the de Young and the Kimono Refashioned exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in order to understand not only the historical significance of each fashion, but also the impact of globalization on fashion, from one culture to the next. Zoe, another Grade 10 student, chimes in, “Both the Asian kimono and Muslim clothing influenced Western fashion in a major way. We saw pictures of Western clothing from the 19th century that had Japanese prints. At the de Young, there were Dior and Dolce & Gabbana pieces that had taken inspiration from Muslim dress.” The students are also quick to point out that what they learned didn’t only help them understand the past, it also changed their understanding of fashion in the present. While studying laïcité, a uniquely French value that emphasizes the neutrality of public spaces, the students engaged in debate around the issue of religious headdresses in France. The visit to the de Young enriched these conversations. For this reason, Mouna took her Grade 7 histoire-géographie classes to visit both the Contemporary Muslim Fashion and the Veiled Meanings: Fashioning Jewish Dress exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The
visits were so successful that the she later took the Grade 7 students to Kimono Refashioned, as well. “Before going to the de Young, there was always a stereotypical hijab that I would picture: a plain black dress and a headscarf,” Berta, Grade 10, noted. “But after going to the exhibit, I thought, ‘Wow, there’s so many different outfits that a practicing Muslim can wear.’ There are prints, vibrant colors, gorgeous fabrics. It broke my own preconceptions about what Muslim fashion means.” At the 2019 Day of Action, this class of young women led a session for their fellow high school classmates on the topic of women in fashion. “How does fashion free and oppress women?” was the driving question of their presentation. Through their research, they’ve come to have strong convictions about the fashion world today. “Most of the time, oppressive fashion is there to appease men, from the way a kimono is geared toward having a specific figure, to corsets in the West, to today, when most of the biggest fashion brands are led and dictated by men,” said Lily, another Grade 10 student. “But the clothes and the way we dress should be to please ourselves and make us feel beautiful ourselves.” For seven years, French American and International has supported the Arts of Fashion Foundation’s annual fashion show in San Francisco, where young designers from around the globe compete for a chance to intern at the top fashion houses in Paris. Grade 12 student Camille has volunteered for the show for the past four years, and was the leader of a team of dressers at the show this past December. She offered insight into the Grade 10 students’ question of feminism and fashion. “Usually at the competition, there are a lot of male designers that design for female models,” Camille recounted. “I would say that when a male designer is designing female clothes, the size and style of the clothing is often smaller and more restrictive compared to a female designer, who would make it more realistic in the sizing of the clothing, and more comfortable to wear. With these young designers at the competition, you can tell who thinks about how it would actually feel to wear the design.” However, over her four years at the show, she has noticed the designs evolve. “We received a lot of beautiful but loose clothing this year with no preference given for either male or female model bodies, just labeled unisex,” Camille said. “This was very different from years past, especially compared to my first year as a volunteer when the clothing tended to be much more form-fitting, with high heels for women.” Back in the high school histoire-géographie class, as discussion wound down, one final student piped in to share her last reflection. “It’s interesting how fashion develops every single day,” the student, Veronica, noted. “Fashion communicates, and can tell us what’s going on at a specific time and in a specific place.”
La Lettre June 2019 | 41
Building a Compassionate Community in the Lower School At 12:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon, the students of Grade 4 Yellow make their way back from recess to their classroom. As they trickle in from the library, the Tinkerspace, and the play yard outside, each student has a decision to make: How would they like to be greeted by the interim Lower School Counselor, Yvonne Hendricks? “High-five!” one student bellows as he approaches the door. “Hug, please!” squeaks another. Yvonne offers six greeting options for her students as they enter the classroom for their weekly social-emotional learning lesson: handshake, high-five, hug, dance, fist-bump, or wave. After all of the greetings, Yvonne joins the students on the carpet in the front of the classroom and begins this social-emotional learning lesson as she has many times before. “What do we need to be successful today?” she asks.
42 | La Lettre June 2019
In unison, the students reach their hands toward the ceiling to grab an imaginary Magic Box, and place this invisible box gently on the floor below. One by one, the students raise their hand and grab something out of the Magic Box before answering Yvonne’s question. Respect, listening, raising hands, and eye-contact are some of the tools they find in the Magic Box. Now that she has the class’ attention, she continues with the lesson. “The theme of class today is compassion,” she says. “How can we show compassion to ourselves and others?” A few students raise their hands to share ideas, and through the process their classmates come to understand what compassion means and how its practiced. Yvonne moves on to the lesson activity: Compassion Bags. The students decorate brown paper bags with their names. “Now,” Yvonne says, “I want you each to write something compassionate, something nice and meaningful, about yourself on a small piece of paper, and slip it into your own bag. Then, I want you to write something kind about your classmates and teacher, and slip it into their bags.” For about 10 minutes, the students shuffle between their own desk and their classmates’, quietly writing notes to be dropped into one another’s Compassion Bags. Half-way through, Yvonne runs out of the small paper slips she pre-prepared, as this class’ enthusiasm for writing compassionate notes surpassed her expectations. Quickly, she finds stickynotes to offer instead. “Friends, I love how engaged you are writing notes,” she says. It’s hard for the students to resist reading the compliments that have been dropped in their bag, but after they finish their last note they meet Yvonne back on the classroom carpet. “It felt good when someone dropped a note in my bag,” says one student. “I feel happy when I write nice things about my classmates,” says another. Through the activity, the class learns what it means to be compassionate and practices acting compassionately. Over
“We are expanding the sense of community here, including emotional community.” the course of the year, the students will engage with topics including diversity, leadership, respect, mediation, courage, and mind growth in weekly social-emotional learning lessons with the school counselor. As they gain the skills they need in order to form positive relationships, manage emotions, and make decisions, students feel a part of the classroom, are more comfortable in school, and are building a community. Yet, classwork is not the only way that Yvonne has helped her students feel a sense of belonging at school. This year, two new clubs have launched in the Lower School: HERStory and Black Kid Magic. HERstory is a club for girls in Grades 3 and 4. Yvonne describes it as an outlet for students to come and chat about issues that may be coming up during their day. The club largely focuses on communication, empowerment, and navigating friendship while growing up. The club, which consists of two groups of eight, meets at Yvonne’s office during somes lunches and recesses. They journal, make friendship bracelets, practice power poses, listen to music, enjoy food, ask questions, and just talk.
Black Kid Magic is also an outlet, this one for students of African descent in Grades 4 and 5. Yvonne says a student motivated the creation of the space, directly voicing a desire for a group where students with similar backgrounds can connect. About 14 students attend the Thursday Black Kid Magic lunch-hour meetings. There, they eat lunch in a fun environment and learn about their shared experiences by discussing topics like media, culture, food, and music. Recently, for instance, the club held a discussion about the movie Black Panther and why it was so culturally significant. Plus, they talk about issues they’ve faced within their day and outside the school. “Especially at this age developmentally, kids are learning differences and are starting to group off based on differences, so bringing them together builds a support network,” Yvonne notes. She adds that since creating these spaces, teachers have noticed that their students are able to focus on their work more during class time. “I think the kids love it,” Yvonne says. “We are expanding the sense of community here, including emotional community.”
Yvonne Hendricks with her Grade 4 Yellow students at their weekly Social-Emotional Learning lesson.
La Lettre June 2019 | 43
Elena Vlad with her family shortly after emigrating to the United States from Romania in 1989.
44 | La Lettre June 2019
Our Resilient Community Our faculty and staff come from over 20 countries. Their life experiences and international perspectives color our studentsâ€™ educational journey. Our international community teaches our students to face challenges, rejection, and failure with hard work, courage, and resilience. These are just a few of the many stories of boldness within our community.
Elena Vlad Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, I came to the United States with my husband and two little kids legally on November 9, 1989. My husband and l had only $5 on us when we arrived here. To get to the U.S., we had to wait and endure rejections repeatedly. The whole immigration process lasted about seven years. Stacks of rejection letters from the US Embassy in Bucharest were part of my everyday life at the time. Every time l would get such a letter, l would write back requesting another chance. Together with my husband, we wrote at least 200 such letters to American senators, American politicians, the American Ambassador in Romania, and writers and intellectuals who we felt would help us. Day after day, we got rejections upon rejections, but one day in June 1989 we got a letter of acceptance to enter the United States legally. Was the wait worth it? You better believe it! Everyday people like me wait at the border to get a chance for a better life in the United States. Regardless of their struggles, they keep trying and donâ€™t give up on their glimmer of hope for a better life. PSâ€”ln our desperation, we even wrote to lsaac Bashevis Singer, the literature Nobel Prize Laureate. Pictured at the right is one of the responses from his wife, Alma Singer.
La Lettre June 2019 | 45
Daniel Paz After high school, I hitchhiked about 1,000 miles from my city of Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, the capital of Chile, where I would attend college. During my first year at university, I studied and worked very hard. I envisioned myself as a philosophy professor in that wonderful country, Chile. However, in 1973, the Chilean coup d’état occurred, a watershed moment. After the coup, one of the most violent events in the country’s history, I had to escape for my safety. In France, I became a political refugee. Although I was very welcomed there, I often lay awake crying in my bed, missing my family, my country, and feeling frustrated about our country’s turmoil. Thanks to the generosity of France, I could go to college, travel around the world, and today I have a wonderful family in San Francisco. I cannot say that my life is better than it could have been if the coup did not happen, but it is different, and I have a happy life. As we say in Spanish “no hay mal que por bien no venga”— every cloud has a silver lining.
Minakshi Capur My experience of rejection was at my first interview in Kenya for a High School English teacher position at a school modeled on English public schools, mainly for children of expatriates and European diplomats stationed in Nairobi. At the end of the interview, the Headmaster said that he was so sorry he could not offer me the position. I was really surprised as we had had a great conversation about Literature and ways to inspire students in their lives through fiction! He said that though he thought I was well qualified for the position, I would “rock the boat” as I was an Indian and not ‘white,’ and therefore would not be accepted by either the parents or the other faculty as a teacher of English Literature! I was devastated, but lived the truth of what the Catholic nuns who brought me up had taught me: Any setback that does not kill you is character-building. I went on to teach at the Aga Khan Schools in Nairobi, first at the middle school for two years, and then in the high school for four years.
46 | La Lettre June 2019
Top: Daniel Paz on top of the Cerro Negro on the 2004 Spanish language excursion to Nicaragua. Above: Daniel in France (1970s)
Minakshi Capur (foreground) walking down a street in Varanasi on the 2019 trip to India.
La Lettre June 2019 | 47
Walls, Borders, & Boundaries
Deconstructing Boundaries with Art For their project “Walls, Borders, and Boundaries,” the students in Eva Strohmeier’s Grade 10 visual arts class analyzed the notion of physical and metaphorical separation by working over brickpatterned wallpaper. The class looked at wall art from around the world, and discussed current events such as the ongoing refugee crisis and the increasing tension at the U.S. and Mexican border. The process involved students creating visual archives that map ideas related to walls and boundaries. Students then visually synthesized their findings in the form of mixed-media collages through a graffiti and protest-like aesthetic.
48 | La Lettre June 2019
Independence is Happiness Although gender equality does not literally feature a wall, it does highlight an important barrier we as women still face today. It is important to keep people reminded of this issue because it affects half of the population, even though it may not figure as obviously into daily life as a real wall might. I collaged many images of women’s rights protests and suffragette newspapers in the shape of a woman’s head, and then tied it together with a quote from suffragette Susan B. Anthony. I think the message is transmitted in a very obvious manner, but still sticks with the viewer.
—Josephine, Grade 10
Change I explored the border of overcoming climate change shown through images of its causes and consequences. The letters depict icebergs melting and polar bears suffering, wildfires, polluting factories, floods and mudslides, and deforestation. The last letter shows pictures of our world to remind the viewer that this is our planet. There is only one of these planets that exist and that is ours, where we live. It’s important to preserve our world, and that is why we need to change our ways to help overcome climate change to save our planet.
—Satine, Grade 10
Empathy It is easy to look at a headline about refugees or hostile borders and just think about people in terms of statistics. I used these images because of the emotions on the peoples’ faces, to really speak to the humanity in everyone.
—Raia, Grade 10
Legality vs. Morality In this piece, I explored one of the big discussions over building walls: why someone might be ‘for’ or ‘against’ building a wall. I questioned the two terms ‘legality’ and ‘morality’ by weighing them, and ultimately chose to leave the scale balanced. I left the scale balanced so that the viewer could think about this question while trying not to be biased, and to eventually see if they believe the scale tips in one direction or another.
—Ian, Grade 10
La Lettre June 2019 | 49
A moment from The May Project, Electric Voices.
50 | La Lettre June 2019
The Refugee Experience
Electric Voices By Michelle Haner Back à Dos Artistic Director The culmination of this year’s High School Back à Dos season was an original, devised theater piece exploring the refugee experience. The core creative team for the work included fifteen student performers, stage managers, and designers, working with the faculty co-directors Michelle Haner (myself ) and Marie Walburg-Plouviez. We also worked with local professional artists from the Yat-Bentley Centre for Performance, who collaborated in creating and performing the new work. As a starting point to the 3-month process, the student team gathered stories of origin, flight, and migration from their own friends, neighbors, and family members. They looked at documentary material as well as films, writings, and essays from refugees from Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. One of the key inspirations for this project included our reading of the interviews of Klaus Vogel, the captain of the MS Aquarius—the boat carrying over 600 refugees that was blocked from entering European ports for many days in the summer of 2018. This work overlapped with our meeting with Vietnamese refugee Lauren Vuong, whose recent film Finding the Virgo tells the story of her family’s experience as Vietnamese ‘boat people’ in 1980. As part of our team’s research, myself and three of the students—Justin (Grade 11), Zola (Grade 10), and Casey (Grade 9)—gathered material related to genocide and war during the International High School global travel trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. There, visits to the S21 Prison, the Killing Fields,
the Cambodian Landmine Museum, and the Vietnamese War Remnants Museum provided additional, and very emotional, context to understand the forces that propel refugees to flee their homelands. Texts, images, and stories from this trip were integrated into the project. The planning and creative process also mobilized the talents and energies of fifteen professional artists from the Yat Bentley Centre for Performance, helmed by international theater artist, Tom Bentley-Fisher, working in collaboration with project co-director, Adam Kotin. From February through April, the Back à Dos student team joined the local artists in four weekend intensives, dedicated to sharing, improvising, and co-creating material. This inter-generational team of students and professionals then worked intensively, side-by-side, through production week and May performances. The resulting production was an immersive, site-specific piece using all levels of the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion. Installations and short pieces in the lower floors of the Arts Pavilion explored the forces that propel refugees to flee, by evoking ancient, present, and imagined experiences related to war, genocide, and its aftermath. The upper floor of the Arts Pavilion, with the black box theater, related specifically to the refugee experience, using movement, music, and texts to relay the trials, fears, hopes, and uncertainties of those lucky enough to escape, and yet ever in the “no man’s land” between departure and arrival. The May Theater Project was not only a collaborative, creative project involving students, faculty, staff, and community members, but also a unique and thorough opportunity for our students to deeply understand the refugee experience from people all over the world.
La Lettre June 2019 | 51
Gender Equality in Athletics
Empowerment On and Off the Field
52 | La Lettre June 2019
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the International High School student newspaper, The Exposer, dedicated its March 2019 edition to women and girls. This interview with High School Athletic Director Sara Johnson was conducted by Elena (Grade 11) and published as part of The Exposer’s “Women’s Issue.” This interview has been edited and condensed.
Why do you think it’s important that girls, especially in high school, play sports competitively? I encourage our young people to find something that they’re passionate about and something that’s going to hold them accountable. Commitment, dedication, dealing with adversity, losing with grace, winning humbly: I think these are all lessons that can be learned through athletics. Especially being a woman in sports you have to learn how to be aggressive and assertive in a way that you maybe wouldn’t in a different environment. I’ll use basketball as an example. For our girls basketball team (reigning champions three times in a row!), it’s a very physical, demanding sport, and you don’t see as much coverage of the women’s league on ESPN or on national news, but really it’s just as aggressive as the men’s game. It’s powerful to see our student athletes be assertive and work together; it’s really fantastic. You’re a woman in leadership at the school. Do you think there are still issues of authority for a woman in power here? I feel really fortunate to be at our school and to be in San Francisco in general. In our community, with our coaches, and even with my fellow athletic directors in conferences throughout the Bay Area, I’ve always felt respected and valued. This past December I was able to go to a national athletic directors conference in San Antonio, Texas. I can tell you, there I definitely felt that my gender was more of a big deal. I talked to a lot of people and they’d say, “Oh, are you someone’s wife here? Are you someone’s partner? Why are you here at the conference?” It’s an athletic director’s conference, I’m an athletic director, and they say, “You?” So that’s funny, it just makes me laugh because I’m proud and, as I said, I’ve always felt respected and welcome as part of the community here. Going there, I definitely stand out. But once you get to know them and talk to them, they just aren’t used to it, so it’s kind of enlightening to realize that you’re teaching them about how to be an athletic director, and they can teach you something too. I think they’re just not as used to a woman athletic director in other areas of the world or the country. But, high school sports are on the rise for the seventeenth year in a row, and we’re always getting more
young women and young men joining, so I think it’s great to have women in leadership and female as well as male coaches. Do you think it’s just a question of getting more women in those leadership positions? For my area of expertise, I think there’s a big discrepancy between women versus men in leadership. Athletics is traditionally male-dominated: think of all the college athletic directors that are male. There are more and more female directors every year, but a lot of times they’re seen more as the support staff, and it’s the same thing in high school and middle school. So I think in terms of athletics, having more women in areas of leadership is super important. In high schools, we have something like 3.4 million female athletes. That’s a lot of athletes, and if they’re not seeing women coaches and women athletic directors, then they’re not going to be used to seeing and working with women in power. Since a big percentage of high school athletics participants are female, I think we need to have more gender equity in the nature of the leadership positions. I think it’s important for men and women to learn how to work with women in power; people of the same gender, different gender, just working together and collaborating. Sports have traditionally been sort of a boy’s club, but do you think it’s changing? Yes, it’s changing. We’re starting to see little things like the Venus Williams commercial “Crazy Women” in the mainstream. Then you see the trickle down effect: you start to see some women coaches in male sports, women trainers on basketball courts, football fields, you start to see them on TV, as anchors, commentators, more women athletic directors, and hopefully more women in power everywhere. I’m all for it.
La Lettre June 2019 | 53
Identity, Privilege, & Social Justice
54 | La Lettre June 2019
“I am honored to be at a school where I am afforded the opportunity to empower our students, for they are truly the ones that will create meaningful and sustainable change.”
By Stuart Dalmedo, Humanities Teacher and incoming High School Dean The opportunities that present themselves as an educator at International High School are bountiful. As a Global Travel chaperone, I have, alongside our students, delivered clean water to families living in the most remote parts of the Dominican Republic, and removed invasive plant species that threaten fragile ecosystems in the Galápagos Islands. On paper, it may seem hard to top opportunities as remarkable as those. However, I am equally in awe of the opportunities that have allowed me to look inward, at myself and at our own identities and communities here in the United States. Supported by our school, I attended two incredibly formative conferences for me this year: the People of Color Conference in Nashville, TN, and the White Privilege Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA. As educators, it is our responsibility to equip young minds with the skills of social justice. However, we as adults often find it an obstacle course to have these conversations ourselves; knowing that we want to challenge the norms of oppression, but not necessarily knowing how to or with what language to challenge them. If we as adults find this difficult, how do we expect our students to recognize the need for change and facilitate it? With this in mind, by attending the conferences, I set out to prepare myself with the tools, language, confidence, and ability to engage others in what are often hard
conversations. My initial hope was to learn how to challenge the unconscious microaggressions that I see in class, in the school corridors, and in my everyday life. Now, as the incoming High School Dean, I can take this journey further by using these tools to guide the Advisory Program in the High School. I envision an Advisory curriculum that creates space for students to have enlightened conversations about difference, belonging, identity, privilege, and inclusion. In these conversations, we are preparing our students to become the changemakers of tomorrow. I am realistic, though. I know that success in this area can take a number of years to come to fruition. So, we will start small and get big... and will need your help! Please, familiarize yourself with the norms of oppression around you. Start with Julie Lythcott-Haims’ honest account of growing up in American in her Real American: A Memoir, or with Marc Lamont Hill’s Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. I am honored to be at a school where I am afforded the opportunity to empower our students, for they are truly the ones that will create meaningful and sustainable change. I am confident that with our guidance, they will do us proud.
La Lettre June 2019 | 55
Travel with a Passion We are called International for a reason. Through this year’s Global Travel Program, students participated in unforgettable trips across the country and around the world. These experiences, inextricably shared yet deeply personal, were full of transformative learning moments that truly embodied our school’s mission and values. In Middle School, Grade 7 linguistic trips brought students to mainland China, Italy, Morocco and Peru, where students added a first-hand dimension to understanding their third language. Meanwhile, Grade 8 students travelled to France for local homestays—one of our school’s oldest traditions and a rite of passage. In High School, we celebrated the 11th anniversary of our relationship with Senegal, traveled to India for the 15th time, and added a 27th trip to our Polynesian exchange program. We also broke new ground with first-time expeditions across the American South and through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Students embarked on journeys through China and Tibet, Cambodia and Vietnam, Colombia and the Amazon, Panama, and South Africa. The theme for this year’s program was “travel with a passion,” and each trip was organized around a specific interest. Follow along on our journey and catch a glimpse of the myriad passions, languages, and service of our students.
56 | La Lettre June 2019
“Seeing Natangué-Sénégal’s mission in action first-hand ignited a passion in me and made me eager to fight for equity in education today and throughout my future.” —Chloe, Grade 10
La Lettre June 2019 | 57
Washington DC, Dallas, American South
Tahiti Peru 58 | La Lettre June 2019
Italy Paris Tibet Kyrgyzstan
India La Lettre June 2019 | 59
India Wes, Grade 11 I am ever thankful for the mania that ensued the night we anxiously wove through cars, rickshaws, vendors, people, and assorted livestock during rush hour traffic, our eyes like hunted deer as we tried our very hardest not to get run over. I am thankful for the tranquil morning after, when we listened to a sitar and a tabla welcome the rising sun over the Ganges River. But most of all, I am grateful for the relationships I strengthened these past two weeks. Whether it be from the back of a camel or from a little patch of grass behind one of our hotels’ pools, the cultural difference has opened everyone up to share their experiences, good and bad. This trip has been intense—and sometimes unpleasant—but I will come back a more interesting person now that I’ve experienced a different side to the world we live in.
France Harper, Grade 8 For two weeks, we were able to participate in a wonderful cultural exchange in Paris. During the trip, we stayed with families which helped us improve our French. We also got to try many new dishes, or dishes prepared in a different way. While I was there, I tried traditional dishes from many different regions of France, and I also tried things I have never tried before such as snails and Manta Ray. We also got to experience things with our classmates during the day, such as museums, cathedrals, and castles. This trip was valuable because not only did it strengthen my language capabilities, but it also gave me a better look into the local life in Paris. It also helped me connect with what we have been learning in class these past years. Being able to see the art that we studied in class, or where Victor Hugo lived, was really something special and unique.
60 | La Lettre June 2019
Alton, Grade 9
You can visit a city as fun and beautiful as New Orleans. In fact, I think that you should. But it is so important for people to recognize the history of a city, no matter how painful or horrible it is. Because that’s the only way we can learn from it and make peace with the people who were affected. And more importantly, we should recognize the ongoing problems of racism and inequality, not just in New Orleans, but in the United States as a whole. Racism and inequality in the United States didn’t die when the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965. No, it evolved. It evolved into the prison industrial complex, redlining, and a more subtle form of violence. Which is why someone like Ms. Griffin, a local social activist and our tour guide of the New Orleans French District, deserves so much respect for educating us and showing us the harsh truths when we’d all much rather stay in ignorance.
Vietnam & Cambodia
Isabella, Grade 9
During our visit to the Angkor Wat temple complex, one detail that stuck out to me was the surprisingly good condition of the temple. There were spots where the stones had crumbled; after all, no mortar or cement had been used in the creation of the megacity. However, we could touch what we wanted (with the exception of the odd Buddha statue and other religious icons) and the carvings in the wall remained in lovely and perfect condition. They were all originals; something that confounded me as they’re each over one thousand years old. The temples (in addition to their beauty and stern austerity) provided a sweet refuge from the sweltering heat which I found enormously practical. Wildlife abounded; I spotted a great assortment of ants, monkeys, other insects, and even an enormous spider near the ceiling. But perhaps the most remarkable moment of the visit was my encounter with a Buddhist monk. During a free moment when I was strolling around, a monk approached me with an entire bunch of lychee fruit. He offered me the entire branch, but I decided to content myself with only a few. I thanked the monk with a nod of my head and proceeded to eat my fruit while admiring more carvings.
La Lettre June 2019 | 61
62 | La Lettre June 2019
In Senegal, I joined the fight for educational equity By Chloe, Grade 10 It sounds cliché to say that travelling changes you… until you experience it yourself. In February of 2019, I travelled to Mbour, Senegal with our school’s Global Travel Program. The impact of the people I met and the experiences I had there will surely last a lifetime. As it turns out, I am far from the first International student to have felt this same affect. While in Senegal, my classmates and I met International alum Larson Holt ‘15. He happened to be traveling in the country at the same time as our trip. Back when he was in high school, Larson led our school’s Project Senegal club that organizes the annual Songs for Senegal event. Today, he is the President of Natangué-Sénégal USA, alongside another International alum, Jaclyn Lee ‘15, who is the organization’s Vice President. Natangué-Sénégal USA is the US branch of Natangué-Sénégal. Natangué-Sénégal is a French nonprofit that also has a connection to our school: it was founded in 1999 by Elena Malagodi, the grandmother and great-grandmother of two French American and International alumni (who later started the Project Senegal school club). Today, Natangué helps mothers and children through education, health and sustainable development. So far, Natangué has built eight schools, a medical clinic, a maternity ward, and a small business center, in partnership with numerous foundations and donors in the United States, France, Italy, and Switzerland. In Senegal, Larson gave us a tour of all of the non-profit’s projects. He enlightened us on the reason for his dedicated involvement, which began when he was an International student. Throughout our trip, we spent most of our time at École Natangué, the school supported by Project Senegal. Everyday, as the exuberant students ran into our arms or played with us in the yard, a feeling of absolute happiness took over us that was certainly unforgettable. However, what I loved most about the children in Senegal was their eagerness to learn and their dedication in the classroom. Specifically, in the older grades, never had I seen kids so focused and engaged in topics. Every time the teacher asked a question, almost every student was jumping out of their seat to answer. It was also amazing to hear about life
as a high school student in Senegal, and how it differed from our lives in San Francisco. Yet, we all seemed to share the same curiosity for our world and an eagerness to travel. The majority of the students knew more about what they wanted for their future than many of us did for ours. Despite the determination and ambition of Senegal’s people, lack of funding for children’s education and health, as well as lack of infrastructure, remains a crucial challenge. For this reason, Natangué-Sénégal continues its mission of building an inclusive educational system. In Senegal, I too came to believe that education is one of the most valuable opportunities for children, and that every child should have access to quality education. The opportunity to see the vital impact of our school’s support for Natangué-Sénégal inspired me to continue my involvement with the non-profit. After my trip, I started working with Natangué USA on grant-work and the lead up to next year’s Songs for Senegal concert. Being in Senegal, learning about access to education, meeting students who are both similar and different from me, hearing from International alumni whose work today is rooted in something they began in high school, and seeing Natangué-Sénégal’s mission in action first-hand ignited a passion in me and made me eager to fight for equity in education today and throughout my future.
La Lettre June 2019 | 63
Our Paths Forward
64 | La Lettre June 2019
Chloe Benjamin ‘06 Chloe Benjamin is the author of The Immortalists, a New York Times bestseller, and The Anatomy of Dreams. What was your most memorable classroom lesson or experience at French American and International? A class that always stands out is Richard Ulffers’ history class. He was a very demanding teacher, in the best way— someone who brought out the best in students. I found myself incredibly motivated in his classes. As a result, my interest in history carried into my novels. He taught me how to research, and that greatly influenced the way I approach my writing. It’s very important to me that when I tell a character’s story, I explore the context of what was happening in the world at that time, which means I spend a lot of time researching. What is the most distinct feature of a French American and International education? The IB program was definitely one of the most distinct features of my high school experience. It’s such a unique way of learning. I love that it gives students the opportunity to choose what they want to focus on. Being able to choose your upper level classes creates a college-like atmosphere and gives students a sense of ownership and initiative. What have you been up to since you graduated? I knew I wanted to write from a young age—for as long as I can remember. After graduating from International, I attended Vassar College in New York, where I majored in
English, and then pursued an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin. I was able to study under one of my favorite authors, Lorrie Moore, who taught the workshop my first semester. I also taught college classes during my MFA—creative writing my first year and composition my second year. After completing my MFA, I taught at a local college and worked as an executive assistant for a non-profit, all while writing my first book. I always knew I wanted to be an author but assumed I would have to keep my day job as well. When my second book, The Immortalists, sold to a publisher, it was a huge surprise and great privilege when I realized I would be able to leave my day job to write full-time. How did International help set you along the path that you are on now? The academic rigor was really important. We were taught at a high level, treated as adults, and expected to keep up with our work. I absolutely felt academically prepared when I went to college. Because students at International are given a role in directing their own education, it gave me a sense that I could pursue my passion, that I could be responsible for shaping my life. Also, being around people from different countries, who spoke different languages, had a huge impact on who I am today. International is a place that celebrates diversity, which inspired me to continue learning from people of different backgrounds, and hopefully infuses into my writing. If you could give one piece of advice to a current student, what would it be? I would tell students to take the time and opportunity to figure out what you’re passionate about. The IB program allows you to do that and it’s something you can take with you to college and beyond. Any plans or dreams for the future? I currently live in Wisconsin with my husband, whom I met in the MFA program. I’m now working on my third novel. I want to enjoy the calm for a little bit, as it’s been such an intense year and a half with the success of The Immortalists—and then hopefully do it all over again with my new book!
La Lettre June 2019 | 65
66 | La Lettre June 2019
Caroline Reston ‘08 Caroline Reston is a producer at Crooked Media, a political media podcast company. She currently produces the podcasts Keep It, Hysteria, and the company’s flagship show Pod Save America. What was your most memorable classroom lesson or experience at French American and International? In Middle School, I was in Jean Pierre Nagy’s class, who is known for being a little more strict. I was being a normal middle schooler and chatting a little bit with my friends during class, and Mr. Nagy called me out and asked why I was talking. My natural instinct was to respond “Sorry, I’m just being rude.” He laughed and it completely diffused the tension, and we moved on. I love how the French teach, they are strict so you respect them, but they also appreciate a good sense of humor and someone that can nudge back. I look back at that experience as a moment that taught me to respect authority but that honesty, confidence, and a sense of humor will take you far! What is the most unique feature of French American and International? The Global Travel program is so unique to the school— none of my friends from outside of French American and International have experienced it. I was learning Spanish in Middle School, and got to travel to Peru, where I stayed with a local family and attended school there. It’s so incredible to have the opportunity to travel to countries you wouldn’t usually explore when you’re young. It’s so important, if you’re lucky enough to get to do so, travel and experience different cultures and language. Those trips still hold some of my favorite memories, and much to friends’ dismay, I still constantly talk about. What have you been up to since graduating? After graduating from UC Davis, I moved to LA and started my first job as an assistant on the show Grey’s Anatomy. After two years I wanted a change and started producing a podcast called Throwing Shade which eventually turned into a TV show on TVLand, which I also worked on. From there I went to work as the writers’ assistant at Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show. About 8 months ago, I took a job as a producer at Crooked Media. It’s a fairly new political media podcast company founded by three former top Obama staffers. I produce a few of the podcasts including Keep It (our
pop culture pod), Hysteria (our female-driven podcast), and our flagship show Pod Save America. Producing is essentially a whack-a-mole of putting out fires! I book our shows, curate the content, research, write outlines, oversee editing, and manage the hosts. It’s a lot of work, but I love my job. I got to meet Kamala Harris and bond over our love for San Francisco! Where else would I get to do that? How did French American and International help set you along the path you are on now? At French American and International, I learned to question things. It was not only allowed, but also encouraged, for students to question everything. We were taught to always challenge our own point of view by looking at an issue from multiple perspectives. I remember specifically my English teacher making sure that when we read Heart of Darkness, we would also read Things Fall Apart. There was never one point of view being forced upon us; we were always taught to question and understand a variety of perspectives. Now I question everything—I’m a joy to be around. If you could give one piece of advice to a current student, what would it be? Read! Read the novels that you are assigned in English class! Don’t skim it, don’t spark notes it (or whatever the kids use nowadays), read the full book! When else will you have the chance and time to read Shakespeare or Dostoevsky? I would give anything to get to read Catcher In The Rye or Pride and Prejudice and have it be “work” now. On a superficial level, it’s impressive later in life to have read the classics, trust me! Read the books! Have you kept in touch with other alums? I’m still best friends with 90% of my friends from school. Some of them I’ve been best friends with since Kindergarten, and some I met when they came in 9th grade. I’m so lucky to have been a part of a school that goes PK-12, as it really fosters friendships that are lifelong. If I ever get married, god willing, I’ll never have a shortage of bridesmaids!
La Lettre June 2019 | 67
Class Notes Nick Bauer at his wedding with his ‘07 classmates James Kennard (far left), Nick (center), Julian Watts (2nd from right), and Simon Geballe (far right)
Sarah Wood Kliban
Dr. Emily Rhodes Lowry
In addition to raising her six-year-old, Sarah is busy as a casting director, mainly for feature films and television series in San Francisco, and acting coach. She recently cast Sorry to Bother You, Blindspotting, All Day and a Night, and The Phone. She is also still acting, and has been in several movies over the last few years.
Emily is a neuroscientist approaching the first effective therapies for the currently untreatable ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and related brain diseases. Her passion for translating clever academic theories into real-life solutions was featured in the March 2019 episode of the podcast Woman & the Brain.
1994 Tara Lai Quinlan Dr. Tara Lai Quinlan is a lecturer in Law and Diversity at Sheffield Hallam University, as well as an experienced lawyer and criminologist, researching issues of criminal law, policing, and terrorism. Dr. Quinlan has authored numerous of articles, OpEd pieces, book chapters, and reports on policing, terrorism and criminal justice issues. Prior to her current academic appointment, Dr. Quinlan practiced law in New York, received a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law, an LLM from King’s College London, and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
2002 Jessica Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp Jessica had a busy year this year—she took a new position as a Senior Public Relations Manager for Hardware and Network Services at SONY PlayStation, traveled to Spain, Italy, France, and Monaco, moved to a new house in Hayward, and lastly (and most important), had a baby boy in December!
Jason Nossiter Jason is a financial advisor at Alliancebernstein LP in San Francisco, and has been active on campus this year helping launch the newly formed Alumni Council.
68 | La Lettre June 2019
2004 Charles Givadinovitch Charles founded LABORATOIRES L’ESTHETIC four years ago. LABORATOIRES L’ESTHETIC is a biotech company in France that creates products for esthetic doctors.
2005 Lucie Hecht Lucie and her husband Steve welcomed Lilah August Russo on December 28, 2018. They currently live in Pasadena.
2007 Jake Moritz Jake visited campus during the Day of Action to speak to International High School students.
2008 Nicholas Bauer Nick married Jen Rivera on July 7, 2018 in Chevy Chase, MD. The two met in 2011 while attending Oberlin College. The couple now lives in Singapore, where Nick works in Google’s Public Policy department.
Jessica Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp ‘02
Emily Rhodes Lowry ‘03
Lucie (Hecht) Russo ‘05 with her daughter, Lilah August
2011 Martin Encinas Leon Martin recently partnered to form Harper Real Estate, a boutique agency focused on serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. Harper Real Estate brings a collaborative approach to real estate, making the process less daunting and ensuring clients get the best advice. Every agent of Harper Real Estate is a San Francisco native and committed to building meaningful relationships with their clients.
2009 Gabriela De Golia After graduating from International High School, Gabriela completed a double-major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where she was best known for her successful electoral organizing efforts. She moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a social justice educator before shifting gears to complete a residency program at Blue Cliff Monastery, a mindfulness center in the Hudson Valley of New York. She was recently accepted to pursue a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and will begin her studies in fall 2019.
2010 Gabriel Dover Gabriel was married in 2018, and is currently working in San Francisco in advertising technology.
Lauren Hirsch After several years at Google NYC, Lauren was admitted into Harvard Law School.
Zara Linares Zara graduated Portland State University with a bachelor’s in accounting, and is studying to pass the CPA exams while working at a CPA firm in Reno, Nevada
Marie Cases Maria received a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Davis, and a master’s degree in economics from Sciences Po Paris. She worked at the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration (best job ever!) She is now at the French Treasury, responsible for estimating government revenue.
2012 Krista Gon Krista is living in Boston and working at the Massachusetts State House as a fiscal policy analyst on the House Committee of Ways and Means.
2013 Melina Dunham Melina is a second year master’s student in International Public Management at SciencesPo Paris. This year she completed an internship with SolidarityNow, a Greek NGO that supports all vulnerable people and communities, namely those affected by the economic and humanitarian crises.
2014 Marie Brouard Marie is currently studying physiotherapy in Paris and will be graduating from the 5-year program next year. She recently came back to San Francisco in October for her niece’s birth and was so happy to stop by to say hello to previous International teachers!
Kimberly Joly Kimberly graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 2018, with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s of Internet of Things through the Innovation and Management Program at École Polytechnique.
La Lettre June 2019 | 69
Gabriela De Golia ‘09
Shayna Mehta ‘15
Marc Joshua ‘16
Natalie graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in psychology in May of 2018, where she played varsity basketball and tennis all four years. She is currently working as an ABA behavioral therapist for children in the autism spectrum.
Shanghai, she studied in Accra, Ghana and Madrid, Spain, and gathered a significant amount of work experience through jobs and internships with the SF Chamber of Commerce, Campus France with the French Consulate in Shanghai, and the Human Rights Advocacy Center in Accra.
Paul-Elie graduated from Santa Clara University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering, and is currently working on a master’s in Engineering Management and Leadership, which he expects to complete in June 2019. While pursuing his master’s degree, he is working in the Device Development group at Genentech on an implantable drug delivery device. Paul-Elie also partakes in off-road motosport racing, having raced all over the west coast of the US and in Mexico, and competing 7 times in the Baja 1000 race. He is also a certified Private Pilot, due in part to his talks with Joel Cohen about his aviation achievements while at International. To this day at Genentech, he is still using his multilingual background to help connect with French doctors and with international teams.
Ted Miclau Ted is currently attending graduate school at Stanford. As an undergrad at Stanford, Ted had numerous Platform Diving accolades at the Farm, including being named a 2x All American in the Platform and was the overall Pac-12 Platform Diving Champion in 2018.
2015 Isaac Macieira-Kaufmann Isaac graduated from McGill University this year, where he studied finance and accounting. He now works as a Research Analyst at Parnassus Investments, the largest socially responsible mutual fund in the United States.
Camille Legendre Camille graduated from NYU Shanghai this spring with a Global China Studies major and two minors: History and Social Science. Her senior thesis studied the implications of Chinese economic interest in West Africa. During her time at NYU
70 | La Lettre June 2019
Edgar is currently studying material science and engineering at Ecole polytechnique fédéral de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Shayna Mehta Shayne is the Team Captain for Brown University’s Basketball team, and received Most Valuable Player accolades for the third straight season. She is Brown’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers, second all-time leading scorer, broke the 1985 record for singleseason steals, and is a three-time All-Ivy honoree. Shayna graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in Biology.
2016 Cyrus Unvala Cyrus is finishing up his junior year at Virginia Tech, majoring in Electrical Engineering with a focus in photonics. This summer, he’ll be living in Redondo Beach, CA, interning at Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Sector. Upon graduation, he hopes to either work for a defense contractor, or commission into the United States Navy as either a pilot or nuclear engineer.
Marc Joshua Marc is currently a junior at Stanford University, and received the Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention as Stanford’s soccer team Midfielders for the second year in a row.
2017 Carter Cohen Carter is currently in his sophomore year at Georgetown and has been featured on the popular Podcast Something Ventured with Kent Lindstrom. Talking on a wide-ranging conversation, Kent and Carter discuss the myths and realities about Generation Z in episodes #71 & #92.
Save the Dates! 5, 10, & 20-Year Reunions
Alumni Holiday Party
Classes of 2014, 2009, and 1999 are cordially invited back to campus for their milestone reunions.
All graduating classes come together for a festive evening on campus.
Friday, October 25, 2019
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Tell us whatâ€™s new with you! Email us at email@example.com
Paul-Elie Nauleau, Class of 2014, with his single engine plane in Talkeetna, Alaska
La Lettre June 2019 | 71
Alumni Events New York City Gathering
Amanda Chan ‘10, Roger Ullman ‘77, Watson Richard Millison ‘05, Peggy Sue Batterton ‘05, Katherine Liu ‘10, Megan Beattie ‘17, Stirling Yip Howe ‘17, Antoine Delaitre, Former Faculty
Kimberly Joly ‘14, Marie Brouard ‘14, Melina Dunham ‘13, Lily Remoundos (current parent), Amy & Ed Shenkan (former parents), Hank and Kyoko Bannister (current parents)
Class of 2008 10-Year Reunion
72 | La Lettre June 2019
2018-2019 Alumni Council
Thank you to our Alumni Council for their passion and leadership! Andrew Beckman ‘13 Amanda Chan ‘10 Marcella W. Campbell ‘95 & current parent Anastasia David ‘05 Ryan Drake-Lee ‘00 Marc Escobosa ‘91 & current parent Ramon Felciano ‘85 & current parent Vernon Goins ‘88 & former Trustee Tatiana Hodapp ‘05 Charlee Jones (Underwood) ‘03 Annalise Ashdown Lee ‘05 Tara Mullen-Boustiha ‘12 Jason Nossiter ‘02 Alexandra Quinn ‘87 & current parent Caroline Reston ‘08 Madeline Kolbe Saltzman ‘05 Katie Schenkkan ‘06 Janai L. Southworth ‘87 & current parent Robert Sverbilov ‘00 & current parent Florica Vlad ‘01 & current parent Olivia White ‘01 & current parent Marc Robert Wong ‘15 Amelia W. Wyman ‘92 & current parent
Young Alumni Lunch On December 20, 2018, the following alumni returned to campus to share sage advice with our senior class regarding their college experience, internships, studying abroad, and more. Megan Beattie ‘17, Rebecca Bihn-Wallace ’17, Sophie Cate ’17, Cat Hayes ’18, Carly Ryan ’17, Bakari Smith ‘15, Sean Smith ‘17, Cyrus Unvala ‘16, Stirling Yip Howe ‘17
La Lettre June 2019 | 73
The Year in Review
74 | La Lettre June 2019
Teambuilding and Leadership Our theme for the athletics program this year was “International Athletics: World-Class, Up Close,” and we asked our student-athletes to focus on this mentality throughout the year. Our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee met bi-weekly to discuss pertinent issues to our student-athletes, express concerns, update each other, and plan our big spirit events and awards banquet. In addition, we started a new initiative this year called Lunch with the AD, where each team had lunch with Sara Johnson, High School Athletic Director, to check-in midseason and give feedback. With this, our postseason surveys reflected that student-athletes self-report feeling supported by the Athletic Department and 100% of our surveys have had a strongly agree or agree answer to the statement, “I feel proud to represent my school.”
La Lettre June 2019 | 75
High School 8 119 4 4 2
Number of teams Total athletes Varsity Bay Area Counties League playoff teams: Varsity Cross Country, Men’s Varsity Soccer, Women’s Varsity Tennis, Women’s Varsity Volleyball North Coast Section Qualifications State Qualifications
Varsity Cross Country: Senior Emma Marino (19:39 3 mile) and Junior Rowan Davis (17:08 3 mile) competed for International at the State Meet. Men’s Varsity Soccer was undefeated, with a 12-0-0 regular season League play. The squad earned won the Bay Area Counties (BAC) League - Central Championship, and advanced to the North Coast Section (NCS) D1 semi-final match. Women’s Varsity Tennis competed in the BAC League Championship Quarter Finals. Seniors Vida Hasson (Singles) and Tessa Ferrall and Isabel Edwards (Doubles) made it to the main draw semi-finals in the Singles/Doubles tournament. Women’s Varsity Volleyball earned a #3 seed in BAC League Playoffs and made it to the semi-finals. From there, our Jags went on compete in the NCS Tournament. Sailing took #3 in PCISA and #2 in NorCal at the Sea Otter Regatta in Monterey.
76 | La Lettre June 2019
Middle School 8 133 54% 4 1
Number of teams Total athletes (Grades 5–8) Percent of student body playing BAIAL League Playoff teams: Boys’ 5th Soccer, Boys’ Varsity Soccer, Girls’ 6th Volleyball, Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Championship: Girls’ 6th Volleyball Bay Area Interscholastic Athletic League (BAIAL)
Boys’ Varsity Soccer advanced to the semi-finals of the BAIAL playoffs. This is the 4th time in the last five years that French American has made the BAIAL Varsity Soccer playoffs. Our first ever Boys’ 5th Grade Soccer team in the San Francisco Youth Soccer (SFYS) League went undefeated in the regular season. Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country finished their season with multiple top finishes by both the girls and boys in the BAIAL Championship race. Girls’ Varsity Volleyball advanced to the semi-finals of the BAIAL playoffs for the 4th time in 5 years after another strong regular season. Girls’ 6th Volleyball advanced to the BAIAL championship by winning a thrilling 2-1 win match, and went on to clinch the first ever BAIAL volleyball championship for French American.
La Lettre June 2019 | 77
High School 5 60 1
Number of teams Total athletes Varsity Bay Area Counties League playoff teams: Women’s Varsity Basketball
Women’s Varsity Basketball earned the League Championship for the third year in a row. They continued on to complete in the 1st round of the North Coast Section Playoffs. Men’s Varsity Basketball nearly made the BAC League playoffs in a tie-breaker game. The team is young, so we expect a lot of growth from our team over the next few years.. Men’s JV Basketball earned a 1st place trophy at the League Jamboree. Club Skiing competed at Squaw in Lake Tahoe this season. Despite too much snow in Tahoe, we had representation at every Alpine League Race, including earning medals in the men’s and women’s events with Sydney Milner ‘19 leading the pack with several excellent 1st Place finishes.
The Women’s Varsity Basketball Team is celebrating their third League Championship.
78 | La Lettre June 2019
Middle School 12 119 49% 6 1
Number of teams Total athletes (Grades 5–8) Percent of student body playing BAIAL League Playoff teams: Girls’ Varsity Basketball, Boys’ 8-1 Basketball, Boys’ 6-1 Basketball, Boys’ 6-8 Basketball, Boys’ 5-3 Basketball, Girls’ 5th/6th Soccer Championship: Boys 5-3 Basketball
Girls’ Varsity Basketball advanced to the semi-finals of BAIAL playoffs. Both the Boys’ Varsity Red and Boys’ 6th Red Basketball advanced to the BAIAL Championship games. This marks the first time that a boys basketball team competed for a BAIAL Championship. Boys’ Varsity Red, Boys’ 6th Red, Boys’ 6th Blue, and Boys’ 5th Red Basketball all advanced to the CYO playoffs, and the Boys’ 5th Team won the CYO Championship. Girls’ 5th/6th Soccer pulled off two exciting wins to close out the regular season and clinch a BAIAL Playoff spot, playing in the semi-finals match.
La Lettre June 2019 | 79
High School 8 128 6 4
Number of teams Total athletes 6 Varsity BAC League playoff teams: Badminton, Baseball, Women’s Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field Varsity NCS playoff teams: Badminton, Baseball, Women’s Soccer, Track & Field
Badminton competed in the Bay Area Conference Championship Tournament, and 8 players qualified for the North Coast Section Tournament. Baseball earned a spot in league playoffs as the 3rd seed, where they defeated Drew School 9-3 and continued onto the final game. The team’s performance qualified them for the North Coast Section Playoff tournament. Women’s Soccer qualified for League Playoffs as the 4th seed, and competed in the North Coast Section Playoff tournament. Men’s Varsity Tennis players had a strong run in the Singles/Doubles BAC tournament with Senior Doubles team Aaron Litinetsky and Harly Johnson making it to the second round in the main draw, and Sophomore Ezra Banks competing in the semi-finals of the back-draw. Swimming competed at the Bay Area Conference Championship Meet with the Men’s team earning a 4th place finish, and the Women’s team placing 6th. Track & Field runners have been trained extensively this year, and the school records in the 3200 was shattered by Senior Emma Marino (11:41). The runners performed well at the BAC Championship Meet and many runners qualified for the NCS Trials. Rowan Davis competed in the Meet of Champions in the 1600 (4:30).
80 | La Lettre June 2019
Middle School 8 94 38% 3 1
Number of teams Total athletes (Grades 5–8), representing the largest number of spring participants ever, edging out the 2015-16 spring season Percent of student body playing Number of playoff teams: Girls’ 6th Basketball, and Girls’ 7th Basketball, Boys’ Varsity Volleyball Championship: Girls’ 7th Basketball
SFYBL Baseball—We rejoined the SFYBL league after a one year hiatus with our first mixed gender baseball team. We’re looking forward to continued success in future seasons as we strengthen our baseball program. Girls’ 5th, 6th and 7th Basketball Teams—The Girls’ 7th Basketball team has carried over their success from the winter season to the CYO spring season, and finished undefeated in League play. They advanced to the CYO tournament finished as League Champions! The Girls’ 6th Basketball team advanced to the BAIAL Championship by winning a thrilling semi-final game against Hamlin School. The Girls’ 5th basketball team started off the season as beginners but over the course of the season developed into confident basketball players. Girls’ Varsity Soccer —The Girls Varsity soccer team came within five minutes of clinching a BAIAL playoff spot against Burke, but lost 3-2 as time expired to end their season. Boys’ Varsity Volleyball—The Boys Varsity Volleyball team improved as the season progressed, and were playing their best volleyball as they competed in the BAIAL playoffs, and erned a spot in the championship game. Boys’ JV & Boys’ 5th/6th Volleyball We had the largest number of of boys come out to play volleyball this season, and all of the teams improved as the season progressed.
La Lettre June 2019 | 81
International High School student-athletes working out at Baker Beach at this yearâ€™s Leadership Retreat.
82 | La Lettre June 2019
All Bay Counties League
Adan Shaw ‘19—League Most Valuable Player Dalton Cleary ‘20—1st Team Christopher Raczek ‘19—1st Team David Dart ‘20—1st Team Theo Wallace ‘19—2nd Team Maximilian Sanchez ‘19—2nd Team Owen Gerrity ‘19—Honorable Mention Michael McCoy ‘20—Honorable Mention Christopher McCoy ‘20—Honorable Mention Elliot Pieri ‘19—Honorable Mention
Tianji Lukins ‘19—1st Team Ava Langridge ‘22—1st Team Nathalie Fiszman ‘22—2nd team Sofia Zanfagna ‘20—2nd team Jade Christey’ 19—honorable mention Nina Bannister ‘22—honorable mention Zoe Dolinsky ‘19—honorable mention Rachel Teich—‘20—honorable mention
Matteo Garre ‘19—1st team Anoosha Hudson ‘20- 2nd Team Annabel Menendez ‘21—2nd Team Junhong Qu ‘21—2nd team Lincoln Friedman ’20 —2nd Team
Emma Marino ‘19—1st Team Rowan Davis ‘20—2nd team Dalton Cleary ‘20—Honorable Mention
Vida Hasson ‘19—1st Team All League Tessa Ferrall ‘19—2nd Team All League Isabel Edwards ‘19—2nd Team All League Stephanie Lynn ‘19—2nd Team All League
Track & Field
Baseball Christopher McCoy ‘20—1st Team Holden Smith ‘20—1st Team Michael McCoy ‘ 20—1st Team Jackson Seo ‘20—2nd Team
Volleyball Jackie Villarosa ‘19—1st Team All League Julianna Shin ‘19—1st Team All League Kate Leidlein ‘20—2nd Team All League Divine Taylor ‘21—2nd Team All League
Cross Country Emma Marino ‘19—1st Team All League Rowan Davis ‘20—1st Team All League Eloise Toner ‘20—2nd Team All League
Men’s Basketball Giovanni Maddalozzo ‘22—1st Team All League Juanito Cruz ‘19—2nd Team All League Titus Pierce ‘19—Honorable Mention
Women’s Basketball Julianna Shin ‘19—1st Team All League Daniella Drumm ‘21—1st Team All League Tatiana Ellington ‘22—2nd Team All League Fiona Collier ‘20—2nd Team All League Tianji Lukins ‘19—Honorable Mention
La Lettre June 2019 | 83
The Year in Review
84 | La Lettre June 2019
Creative Expression Whether it’s along the halls of the Arts Pavilion, on the Black Box Theater stage, or within and beyond the walls of our classrooms, there is always something going in the arts at French American and International. Through class curricula, students act in plays, experiment with paint and sculpture, compose music, create videos, and much more. Outside of the classroom, as an extracurricular activity, students perform and learn backstage and production skills in our after school performing arts ensemble, Back à Dos. What’s more, our arts faculty enriches student learning by inviting some of the best artists of each artistic discipline in the city to visit our classrooms. These pages offer a snapshot of the artistry exhibited this year.
La Lettre June 2019 | 85
Happiness | Middle School Back Ã Dos
86 | La Lettre June 2019
Middle School Theater This year included enthusiastic participation in the Middle School Back à Dos Theater program and the Dallas Multilingual Theater Festival. We also enjoyed a number of performances here on campus— from the Maternelle to the Black Box Theater.
Student Actors and Directors
This year’s Middle School Back à Dos winter performance, Happiness, was an original script developed by the 28 participating students under the direction of Brad Cooreman, Arts HOD.
Students traveled to the Dallas Multilingual Theater Festival in May for workshops and multilingual performances by and alongside peers from schools across the country. For this festival, students adapted the tale of Apollo and Daphne from Greek mythology.
Shakespeare Scenes Grade 7 Theater students performed Shakespeare scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, among others, in the Black Box Theater.
Happiness | Middle School Back à Dos
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Show Grade 8 Theater students performed, adapted, and translated nursery rhymes for the Maternelle and Grades 1 and 2 in May.
Dallas Multilingual Theater Festival
La Lettre June 2019 | 87
The Visit | The 2018 Fall Play
88 | La Lettre June 2019
High School Theater The 2018-2019 High School Theater season included the fall play, The Visit; the student-directed One Act Play festival in winter; a spring musical production of Black Rider; an original, site-specific collaboration, Electric Voices; and Grade 12 option théâtre performances. In addition to theater productions, there were several concerts, musical events, and art shows throughout the year, including the winter arts evening, spring concert, and the IB art show.
The Visit The Back à Dos Fall 2018 theater production was a re-envisioning of Durrenmatt’s tragicomedy, The Visit, adapted and directed by guest artist, Steve Morgan Haskell.
Student-Directed One Act Plays The Back à Dos One Act Play Festival showcased five plays chosen by senior directors who managed every step of the production process, from auditions to the final performance. The Art of What You Want by Nat Cassidy, directed by Himal Serenade by Sławomir Mrożek, directed by Maya The Best Daddy by Shel Silverstein, directed by Eli Church of Satan by Leon. H. Kalyjian, directed by Charlotte Words, Words, Words by David Ives, directed by Natalie
The Spring Musical
Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets
Black Rider | The 2019 Spring Musical
A musical fable that begins when Wilhelm, a file clerk, falls in love with the huntsman’s daughter, and accepts the magic bullets that never miss their mark from a peg-legged stranger. With original direction by Robert Wilson, music and lyrics by Tom Waits, and text by William S. Burroughs, our production was helmed by Brad Coorman, with music direction by Suzanna Sitomer and vocal direction by Melinda Becker.
The May Theater Project: Electric Voices An immersive, site-specific piece inspired by voices - ancient, present, and imagined - related to the experience of war and displacement, created by students under the direction of Michelle Haner and Marie Walburg-Plouviez, in collaboration with the Yat-Bentley Centre. The project drew, in part, from materials gathered by student participants in Global Travel Program trip to Vietnam and Cambodia.
The Option Théâtre Performances Cannibales by José Pliya
As culminating work of the two year option théâtre program, Grade 12 students designed, produced and performed this work about motherhood, loss, power, and madness, from a major contemporary francophone dramatist.
Cannibales | Grade 12 Option Théâtre
La Lettre June 2019 | 89
The 2019 Spring Concert | St. Markâ€™s Church, San Francisco
90 | La Lettre June 2019
Music Middle School Arts Evening This celebration of middle school art included an exhibition of fine arts, as well as sharing of diverse performances and creative work in music, film and theater.
Winter Arts Evening In December, high school students participated in this festive evening filled with music, art, and performance. Our community came together to celebrate our studentsâ€™ artistic talents, both works that had been developed in class and independently.
Winter Concert Music students dazzled attendees in the Gymnasium in January.
Spring Concert The Spring Concert at St. Markâ€™s Church featured a mixture of classical and contemporary performances, by composers from Bach to Bowie, and beyond!
The Winter Concert
Middle School Arts Evening
La Lettre June 2019 | 91
Visual Arts Vernissage du Festival des Arts In the spring, our youngest students celebrated art and community, creativity and self-expression, in the Festival des Arts at the Maternelle.
Lower School Arts Festival The Oak campus was transformed into an art gallery with individual and collective art projects on display from students in Grades 1-5. Grade 5 students also put on a music concert during the Art Festival in April.
IB Art Show The Grade 12 IB Art Show celebrated the fruits of a rigorous two-year investigation into a range of art, media, and styles, and displayed thought-provoking works that reflected each student’s unique voice.
Clockwise from left: Photo collage on display at the May Middle School Arts Evening Families explore the displays at this year’s Lower School Arts Festival on the Oak Street campus An inter-generational protrait by Grade 12 IB Visual Art student Audrey.
92 | La Lettre June 2019
Tabitha (PK4) and Joaquin (K) discover a perfect addition to their Maternelle Arts Festival project.
La Lettre June 2019 | 93
Seniors Embark on New Journeys Our students continue to be accepted into wonderful colleges amid increasingly competitive admission rates. Students received offers at colleges with the most challenging acceptance rates, such as Harvard (4 students accepted—5% admit rate), Dartmouth (1 student accepted —10% admit rate), Yale/National University of Singapore— combined program (1 student accepted—6% admit rate), Stanford (1 student accepted—4% admit rate), Cornell (3 students accepted—10% admit rate), Northwestern
University (1 student accepted—8% admit rate) and University of Chicago (2 students accepted—6% admit rate). Students also received offers from UC Berkeley, UCLA, Claremont McKenna, Georgetown University, Notre Dame, Oxford University, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis, Wesleyan, and many more prestigious colleges. Collectively, the Class of 2019 received 66 acceptances from colleges that accept approximately 15% or fewer applicants.
The Class of 2019 takes their traditional Senior Walk around campus.
94 | La Lettre June 2019
Acceptances 2019 American University (3) Bard College (4) Boston College Boston University (9) California Institute of the Arts California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (3) California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (4) California State University, Fullerton (2) California State University, Long Beach California State University, Monterey Bay Carleton College Carnegie Mellon University Chapman University (2) Claremont McKenna College Clark University College of Charleston Colorado State University Concordia University, Montreal (4) Cornell University (3) Dartmouth College Davidson College DePaul University (5) Drexel University (2) Duke University Durham University (2) Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne Elon University Emerson College (3) Emory University (3) ESSEC, Singapore Fordham University (3) George Washington University (5) Georgetown University Hamilton College Harvard University (4) Harvey Mudd College Haverford College IE University Madrid (2) Indiana University Kenyon College King’s College London (4) Lehigh University Lewis & Clark College (7) Loyola Marymount University (2) Macalester College (2) Marymount Manhattan College Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences McGill University (7) Middlebury College New York University (7) Newcastle University Northeastern University (5) Northwestern University Oberlin College (2) Occidental College (3) Oregon State University
Oxford College of Emory University (2) Pace University (2) Pennsylvania State University Portland State University Reed College (4) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2) Saint Mary’s College of California San Diego State University San Francisco State University (2) San Jose State University Santa Clara University (2) Santa Monica College Sarah Lawrence College Seattle University (2) Skidmore College Smith College Sonoma State University Spelman College Stanford University Syracuse University (5) Texas A & M University The University of Edinburgh (5) The University of Manchester (2) Tufts University (2) Tulane University (3) University College London (3) University of Arizona (3) University of Bath University of Bristol (3) University of British Columbia (6) University of California: Berkeley (4) Davis (10) Irvine (4) Los Angeles (9) Merced (4) Riverside (11) San Diego (7) Santa Barbara (3) Santa Cruz (24)
University of Vermont (2) University of Washington (13) University of Wisconsin (4) Vanderbilt University Villanova University Wake Forest University (2) Washington University in St. Louis (2) Wellesley College Wesleyan University (3) Whitman College (2) Willamette University (2) Yale-NUS College
Macalester College Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences McGill University (3) Middlebury College New York University (4) Northeastern University (3) Northwestern University Reed College San Francisco State University Santa Clara University Santa Monica College Stanford University The University of Edinburgh Tufts University (2) Tulane University University College London University of British Columbia
Matriculation 2019 As of May 1, 2019
Bard College Boston University (2) California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (2) Carleton College Chapman University Claremont McKenna College Concordia University, Montreal (3) Cornell University (3) Dartmouth College Davidson College Duke University Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne Emerson College Emory University ESSEC, Singapore Georgetown University Harvard University (4) Harvey Mudd College IE University Madrid (2) Indiana University, Bloomington Kenyon College
University of California: Berkeley (2) Irvine (2) Los Angeles (6) Santa Cruz (2) University of Chicago (2) University of Colorado Boulder University of Glasgow University of Massachusetts, Amherst University of Michigan University of Notre Dame University of Pittsburgh (2) University of Southern California (4) University of Washington (3) Wake Forest University Washington University in St Louis (2) Wellesley College Wesleyan University
University of Chicago (2) University of Colorado Boulder (6) University of Glasgow (2) University of Hawaii at Manoa University of Illinois at Chicago University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign University of Massachusetts, Amherst (3) University of Miami (3) University of Michigan (2) University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (2) University of Montreal University of Notre Dame University of Oregon (11) University of Pittsburgh (2) University of Puget Sound University of San Francisco (2) University of Southern California (5) University of St. Andrews (2) University of the Pacific University of Toronto (6)
La Lettre June 2019 | 95
Save the Date! Annual Auction
● April 25, 2020
The 2019 Annual Auction
Thank you to everyone who bid, pledged, volunteered, and danced the night away at this year’s Auction—you made Masquerade a spectacular success! The evening included beautifully curated silent and live auction items, delicious food, wine, and cocktails, and rocking tunes from Tainted Love. Thanks to our community’s support, we raised more than $680,000 for our students, our teachers, and our school. We are grateful to our sponsors, attendees, and volunteers for making this event a night to remember!
96 | La Lettre June 2019
La Lettre June 2019 | 97
150 Oak Street ï‚˜ San Francisco, CA 94102
98 | La Lettre June 2019
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID SAN DIEGO CA PERMIT NO. 751
The official magazine of the French American International School and International High School, San Francisco, CA