ISF Newsletter September 2021

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Our Mission A laboratory for learning where we collaborate to add meaning to a shared future. Our Vision We aspire to build communities of creative makers and doers.

in this issue... THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF FLORENCE NEWSLETTER September 2021 Editor-in-Chief Tanya Bruckner Design and layout Tess Hitchcock Printer Tipografia Color Print Cover Photo Franco Perrotta ISF alumni, families, faculty, and friends are welcomed and encouraged to submit ideas and articles for consideration. Inquiries may be addressed to:

comments From the Board, Cathleen Compton


From the Head of School, David Ottaviano


features Welcoming New Staff and Faculty


Grade 9 Visual Arts. Andi Nufer


COVID-19 Update, Ylenia De Rossi + Sofia Gori


First Day of School


TEDx@Florence, Michael Landolfa


Young Journalists, Marco Tufariello


Hong Kong to Italy, Victoria Walvis


Group 4 IAs


Corri La Vita




Alumni Spotlight




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Dear ISF Community, On behalf of the Board of Directors, welcome to the 2021-2022 School year. We have a busy year ahead. One of the events this fall will be hosting the re-accreditation of our school. This means that 10 members from the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Middle States Association of schools and colleges (MSA) and the International Baccalaureate Programme will be virtually visiting our school the week of November 22 to November 26. Accreditation verifies that ISF provides a world renown educational international program and opens doors for our graduates to attend the best universities in the world. What follows is an adapted version of the text the Board submitted to the agencies on behalf of the school. For those families who are just joining the school we want to share this commentary with you as it provides some history and a clear indication of our collaborative style of operation and communication.

identity, and aspiration that would culminate in our 2018 experience under a new Head whom we had chosen to lead us, together with an international consultant, in this new phase of our history. As our focus became more clear, we realized we wanted to be more resolutely an IB school grounded in the IB Learner Profile, especially as we realized how reflective these values are of the identity of our City and the humanism that was born here 500 years ago. The more we embraced the global values of the IB, the more we were drawn to examine our local history. As we brought our identity into focus as internationally-minded, we realized the other side of that coin would be a celebration of ourselves as uniquely Florentine. We wanted to follow best practices internationally while also grounding this transformation in the Florentine culture around us. The representatives of our community were collectively moved on that Spring weekend by the generative process and the beautiful final product, but that was just the beginning. It was now time to extend our enthusiasm throughout the school. Over the following school year as new leadership came and a new direction was set, all members of the community were able to familiarize themselves with the guiding statements. As we clarified our identity and set a clear path, this meant that the complacency we had lived with was replaced with a determination to change. This began a period of transformation that necessarily brought with it

In the Spring of 2018, the ISF community capped off a year of intentional conversation about the direction in which we aspired to take the school and proudly crafted new Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles through a transformative process of collaboration. Prior to that time, the school had updated its 2013 strategic plan without changing the Mission and Guiding Principles, though we had aligned our efforts under four pillars: learners, teachers, community and infrastructure. This revision set in motion a revisiting of the school’s purpose,


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some turbulence as old ways were discarded and sights were more ambitiously raised.

We continue to broaden our collaboration, as we focus on research, open an advancement office, and recommit to a community-wide conversation around important themes.

The Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles we brought to light were, we believed, appropriate for everyone at ISF and so we set out to pursue them. As we began to correct course and be more in step with international best practices, we also faced some turbulence in our community. We appreciate the need for balance as we pursue the IB principles of inclusion, inquiry-based learning, and educating for the future.

As we acknowledge the changes we have seen in our leadership over this past year, we rely on the constancy of the Board’s commitment to our Mission and Vision. We remain committed to that original spark that was produced when all the sections of our community came together to imagine a future for ISF. We have learned a lot over the past three years, and we trust that by standing by and continuing to outline the values of the IB approach we will be able to succeed, especially if we recognize the harmony of that approach with the courageous and innovative thinking that remains the genio loci of our city.

In the years since they were agreed, the school has undergone significant change to enable the implementation of our Guiding Principles. Senior leadership roles were expanded and filled by forward-thinking professionals and we developed an articulated a broad middle leadership team. The Board has made significant professional development available to staff and we have used the Board Forums as venues to continue to communicate to the parent community the path we are on. The Board itself has continued to evolve our role as we attend conferences and workshops. Communication, trust, and inclusiveness have emerged as critical to the success of our transformation. These fundamental aspects of our Mission are possible only as we remember that our actions must be grounded in our values and must prove themselves through their authenticity.


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The new school year is always a special time, filled with wonder and excitement. This year, the students bounded into school with high anticipation to meet their friends and new teachers. So, it is my pleasure to welcome the new and returning families to ISF.

• Recognizing creative expression and appreciation of beauty • Develop positive moral and social values • Foster understanding and respect for diverse cultures

We all have faced challenges from the pandemic, but thankfully we are slowly getting used to life again.

• Encourage appreciation of each student’s heritage

I am looking forward to an outstanding school year. We have amazing professional educators, who are returning and new, who will guide our learners through a world-class educational experience.

• Promoting English competence and in at least one other language • Continue to attract and retain exceptional staff

The guiding principles by which we stand are:

• Ensure financial sustainably

• Provide a safe and healthy environment

We can look forward to the visit by 10 representatives of the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, and the International Baccalaureate Programme later in the fall. They will judge our school in the more than 600 “best practice” standards and guide us as we develop and improve our strategic plan. Teachers, Administrators, our voluntary Board of Directors, Parents, and Students will all be interviewed. All teachers will be observed several times during the visit. ISF will receive a report which will be available to you in the new year. In the meantime, I look forward to meeting you in what promises to be a good year for ISF.

• Encourage intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and enthusiasm for lifelong learning • Engaging students to realize their highest potential • Provide broad depth of knowledge • Build confidence, self-esteem, and leadership • Uphold appropriate standards for personal behavior • Nurturing intellectual, social and physical growth


ISF’S 70 TH ANNIVERSARY Since ISF opened in 1952, we have spent 7 decades educating children from all over the world. Mark your calendars for a 2022 Alumni Reunion with graduates spanning all 70 years! 7

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WELCOMING NEW STAFF J E N N I FE R V ICTO R IA W A L KL E Y Native of: Lincoln, United Kingdom Joining ISF from: Siena, Italy Degree + University: University of the People, Masters of Education and Learning with Primary and Secondary Specialization Role at ISF: Grade 5 Class Teacher (JS) 3 Fun Facts: I love to travel and learn about different cultures. One of my favourite experiences was working in India at a school and an orphanage for a summer. Baking, I make cakes, pastries and biscuits but I really enjoy making celebration cakes for birthdays. Running. One day I would really like to do an ultramarathon but the running may become less of a priority, as I am really looking forward to starting rowing again.

RAC H E L MCCUE Native of: Scotland Joining ISF from: Malaysia Degree + University: PGDE, University of Strathclyde Role at ISF: Learning Lead of Creativity & Innovation, Theatre Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: I lived in South East Asia for 9 years. I have moved to Florence with my two very naughty cats. When I was 16 I performed at the Millennium Dome in front of the Queen and forgot my lines.

S O P H IE L AUR IE STO N Native of: Scotland Joining ISF from: Scotland Degree + University: PGDE, Aberdeen University / MA English Literature, University of Edinburgh Role at ISF: English Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: I usually spend my summers in the Scottish Highlands, I was a competitive swimmer, and I am learning to sew.


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YA S E M IN YA LC INKAYA Native of: Turkey Joining ISF from: Freelance ICT Consultant covering for Ms. Tosatti since March 2021 Degree + University: Ph.D. Computer Science, University of Bergen, Norway Role at ISF: ICT Integration Specialist (JS + US) 3 Fun Facts: I speak 5 languages. I am an expert knitter. I can be the skipper on your yacht, I’ve got a sailing certificate.

VI CTO R IA W A LV IS Native of: London and other places Joining ISF from: Hong Kong Degree + University: University of York, BA in English and related literature Role at ISF: English Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: My previous home was on a subtropical island where the snakes were bigger than me and I took a ferry boat to work. I wrote and performed a poem for the Economist. Once I completed a race in Scotland and to finish I had to slice a melon in half with a sword.

DA N I H E Y WO O D- LO NSDA L E Native of: United States and United Kingdom Joining ISF from: England Degree + University: Ph.D. in Education, Canterbury Christ Church University Role at ISF: English Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: My favourite out-of-the-classroom experience so far has been taking a group of inner-city London students to Nicaragua and hiking 5 volcanoes in 5 days; I met my husband whilst doing earthquake relief in Pisco, Peru; My part-time job throughout university was working at an independent bookshop in Malibu, California, where I got to chat about books and literature with fascinating writers and directors everyday.


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J A N ST IP E K Native of: Czech Republic Joining ISF from: Singapore Degree + University: MSc (SUNY Buffalo), MEd (Monash) Role at ISF: Upper School Principal 3 Fun Facts: I recorded a CD with my band in 2002; lived and worked in six countries; is an Formula 1 fan (rooting for Scuderia Ferrari).

KAT E R INA STIP E K Native of: Czech Republic Joining ISF from: Singapore Degree + University: BA, Metropolitan University of Prague Role at ISF: IT Coordinator (JS + US) 3 Fun Facts: I love to bake with sourdough starter. My starter is 5 years old and it’s called Oscar. I have successfully imported it from Singapore to Prague and now is ready to be moved to Florence. I love cheese - pecorino is my favorite and a chilled glass of Prosecco. To burn some calories I love to go for short runs and practice/teach yoga. Have you heard about wheel or chair yoga?

GU I A D E L BUO NO Native of: Rome Joining ISF from: July 2021 Degree + University: Degree in Economics and Business Role at ISF: Director of Finance and Human Resources (JS + US) 3 Fun Facts: I am often looking for my glasses when they are on my head.


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DI A NA RA MIR E Z Native of: Spain Joining ISF from: St. Julian’s School, Portugal Degree + University: Msc in Psychology of Education-Autonomous, University of Madrid Role at ISF: School Counselor/Psychologist (JS + US) 3 Fun Facts: Some people do not know that I can surf in weird positions like kneeling down as when proposing to someone in marriage. Before I started my career as a psychologist, I was into acting and music. If you ask my family, “Who do you think something happened to?” they will immediately answer: Diana. I always bring fascinating stories to share.

S I LVIA C A NIG L IA Native of: United States Joining ISF from: Florence, Italy Degree + University: BA in Early Child Education Role at ISF: Foundations Teacher (JS) 3 Fun Facts: I love roller skating and was on a roller derby team. I have gone skydiving and bungee jumping. I love karaoke!

C H R ISTINA H E A ME S Native of: United Kingdom Joining ISF from: Casterton College Rutland Degree + University: BA (Hons) Mathematical Studies, University of Sheffield / MA International Relations University of Leiscester / PGCE, University of Nottingham Role at ISF: Maths Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: Play bridge for Cambridgeshire. Compulsive traveller. Love history.


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ST E FA NIA DIA NA Native of: Italy Joining ISF from: Denmark Degree + University: PGCE, University of Gloucestershire Role at ISF: Grade 4 Teacher (JS) 3 Fun Facts: I like experimenting with natural dyes on fabric. I have a passion for illustrated books and silent books. One of my dreams is to visit every desert on the planet.

M I K E TE R R E L L Native of: England Joining ISF from: Denmark Degree + University: PGCE, University of Exeter Role at ISF: Grade 4 Teacher (JS) 3 Fun Facts: I enjoy open water swimming and being in nature. I am always looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge of wilderness survival. I have a passion for illustrating and reading graphic novels.

GE M MA JO R DA N Native of: Ireland Joining ISF from: Ireland Degree + University: PGCE, Chichester University Role at ISF: Grade 3 Teacher (JS) 3 Fun Facts: I’ve lived and worked in ten countries. Although English is my mother tongue language, I’ve studied Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Gaeilge. I’ve had many adventures but one that stands out is travelling by boat up the river Amazon and sleeping for some weeks, outdoors, in a hammock, as is common practice in the region.


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KATARZY NA STY R CZE WSKA Native of: Poland Joining ISF from: Warsaw Degree + University: University of Barcelona Role at ISF: Biology Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: When I was young/er I wanted to be a opera singer (you will hear). I don’t like bananas, but I love banana cake. I have collection of weird cats shirts (you will see some).

YA DIRA SE R RA NO Native of: Honduras Joining ISF from: Italy Degree + University: Master of TESOL, Southern Illinois University Role at ISF: Spanish Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: I love singing and listening to music all day long!

ZAC H A RY A NDR O US Native of: USA (Washinton, DC) Joining ISF from: Florence, Italy Degree + University: Ph.D. in Anthropology: Race, Gender, and Social Justice, from American University, Washington, DC Role at ISF: Substitute for History and Social Studies (US) 3 Fun Facts: I‘ve been to the Arctic Global Seed Vault near the North Pole; I’m a master goldsmith; I became an Italian citizen this year.


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DAVI D OTTAV IA NO Native of: United States Joining ISF from: ACS WASC, San Francisco California Degree + University: Ed.D. Fairleigh Dickinson University Role at ISF: Head of School 3 Fun Facts: I have a license to fly an airplane; a long time ago I was a carpenter; I love psychology.

B I A NC A PA PA FAVA Native of: Florence Joining ISF from: Substitute Teacher and ECAs at ISF Degree + University: Degree in Performing Arts at Folkwang University of Performing Arts, Essen, North Rhine -- Westphalia, Germany / Certified Somatic Movement Educator in Body-Mind Centering ® Role at ISF: Spanish Teacher (US) 3 Fun Facts: In my past education experiences I have been a planner, organiser, co-ordinator, teacher, assistant, cleaner and maintenance worker AT THE SAME TIME. Now I am happy to be just an assistant and part of a team! I’ve actually been an assistant before - specifically for “Dr. Ballerini”... a nice character who was painted on my thumb. We used to go to the classrooms together with an old suitcase full of strange things to explore with the children, to discover what we are like and what our movement possibilities are. I am not Catholic but at home I have a church where I dance, alone or with lots of friends!


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9th Graders have been embarking on an exploration of putting into practice our 4 studio agreements: Adopting a beginner's mind, learning how to see, approaching art as a practice, and committing to be(come) an artist of life. This year we focus on drawing, and we began with developmental drawing exploration starting with 1 year-old scribbles up to imaginative drawings like a 5 yearold and symbolic, stylized drawings of a 9 year-old, to discover that we actually already know how to draw, and in many different ways, all of which are "tools" we can incorporate into our art anytime.

The tie-in with wellbeing and our ability to slow down, go deeper than thought, to experience a sense of wonder and connect to beauty and meaning, are what students are experimenting with, considering DaVinci's own recipe for learning to fall in love with the world around and inside us: "Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little, you will love it little, or not at all."

Now, we're adding the new tool of observational drawing using DaVinci as our guide. Students are learning to see like a snail-- who touches with their whole body, goes slowly, and is specific, feeling, not thinking, and not ignoring anything-- in order to learn to create lines which "crawl" and capture the specific, beautiful contour edges of what they see.



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First of all, we hope that all of you and your families are safe and healthy. We are all having to adjust our lives to the “new normal” and it actually has been an exciting start to the year!. With the introduction of the mandatory Green Pass check every morning for staff and faculty we truly believe that everyone feels a little bit safer. We are also happy to share that while we are writing this update, Grade 4 is on its first field trip in over 18 months, in fact the new guidelines that came out in August allow for regions considered white zones to have field trips.

to the best of their ability so that everyone in our school community will remain safe and healthy.

While last year the Government loved keeping us active and making us read new decrees during the weekend in order to inform the whole community about the following Monday, this year it seems that hopefully virtual learning will be avoided as much as possible.

We are always available for any further questions or clarifications, just drop an email to us or call the school!

Please be reminded to follow the procedure on the right in the case of contact with a confirmed positive case. COLORFUL ITALY We have also created a table based on the National guidelines regarding the color of the Region for you to fully understand which activities are allowed when the Region is assigned a specific color.

Ylenia De Rossi, COVID-19 Coordinator Sofia Gori, School Nurse

While we have not lowered our guard and are always working towards keeping staff and students as safe as possible, we believe that we are gaining some of our beloved freedom back! Keep in mind the main factors in preventing the spread of coronavirus: vaccines ( available to all 12 year olds and up), screening, hand hygiene, social distancing, face coverings, and that symptomatic individuals remain home. In keeping with this last point, students with any signs of respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms should stay home. In general, we ask that all families observe preventative practices


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The TEDxYouth@Florence Organising Committee is happy to announce that ISF will be organising its 6th annual TEDx event, TEDxYouth@Florence, on Saturday November 27th. TED is a non-profit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short talks. TED first began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment, and Design coincided, and continues today to inform various topics from science to global issues, business, and more – in over 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently-run TEDx events like ours help share ideas in local communities around the globe.

is working hard to make this year’s event – after a year’s hiatus – the best yet, and we encourage the whole ISF community to participate: students, staff, and parents. We are looking for a diverse group of speakers across the community. The TEDx is a fantastic opportunity for you to choose a topic you feel passionate about and to share it within the community. Additionally we are looking for two to three artistic acts to compliment the talks. In previous years the ISF TEDx featured captivating speeches and thrilling performances, providing an inspiring experience for all. If you are interested in participating as a speaker or performer in this November’s event, please come to one of our meetings on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays in room 14 after school, from 15:05-16:00. For additional information please contact Mr. Landolfa: or Weronika Wieczerzak:

ISF’s TEDx experience began in 2015 as a studentled initiative to spread ideas and meaningful talks within the ISF community. The event has expanded each subsequent year to include the wider Florentine community. However, the driving force and critical component of TEDx at ISF continues to be Upper School Students. The Organising Committee


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Once a week in Italian Language Advanced 10 class, we read interviews and advertisements covering topics such as politics, global issues, wellbeing, arts, and entertainment.

We will also give voice to young journalist by creating an ISF newspaper featuring moments of reflection on school life. This will be developed through their increasing understanding of journalistic language and in their roles of young journalists throughout the year.

We make comparisons with local and global cultures, allowing the development of one's own opinion and, above all, the development of a critical eye to world events, making students aware of how the same news can be reported quite differently in different newspapers. Our aim is to develop critical thinking that will make students more independent thinkers, less conformist citizens and more cognizant of how to interpret future reporting. The project also aims to "help make today's young people the free and independent citizens of tomorrow", all by reading authoritative newspapers such as "Il Corriere della Sera" and "La Nazione". Furthermore, in the era of fake news, students will learn to distinguish between which are reliable news sources and which are not.


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n Hong Kong I lived, it seemed, in parallel worlds. I taught at a British international school in industrial Kowloon where my classroom overlooked a bus station and my students, as students often are, were inspiring. The school was high performing; I was lucky enough to have colleagues who were not only amazing teachers but who also threw themselves into organising Feel Good Fridays for the students, from Pride celebrations to Poetry Slams to staff vs. student sports.

the streets and kept me awake at night. During these strange and unsettling times, I could hear helicopters thrum in the dark and see people running from the police from the fifteenth floor of my small apartment in a highrise tower block. In the mornings, the air smelled like tear gas and the cockroaches on the pavements competed with broken glass; there were days when roadblocks prevented me from going to work. Like all of us, I experienced life a la COVID-19 and learned to teach on Zoom, communicating with my students over the construction noise in the next door tower block.

On Wednesday evenings I frequented a dive bar on the Island, where I offered free poetry workshops before a poetry open mic, and where I met some of my best friends and admired writers. Thanks to these Peel Street poets, I performed spoken word at a conference organised by the Economist and saw Joshua Wong, leader of the Umbrella Movement, helmet under his arm, ready to speak before throwing himself back into the protests that rocked

In my final year, in search of peace and greenery, I moved to Lamma Island, where the beach and the forest were on my doorstep, the evenings hummed with insects, and wild boar put their snouts in the rubbish bins. There were no cars, only quad bikes; many of us preferred to walk without shoes. Each


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sunrise on weekdays, I took the 6am ferry boat to the Island, watching the fisherman rocking on tiny boats from my commute; most evenings, I swam in the sea at sunset.

Florence. My classroom overlooks the Tuscan hills. My new students break into multiple languages, and promise to be equally as inspiring as my students in Hong Kong.

On my last day at work before the summer holidays, I saw a python, bigger than me, consume one of the neighbours’ cats outside my village house.

I look forward to seeing how this next story turns out.

Sometimes, it seems like I dreamed all of this. After ten days in quarantine at a lovely Airbnb with green shutters on the Via Arnolfo, I emerged blinking in the brightness of a Tuscan July, armed with a copy of George Eliot’s Romola and an Italian dictionary, ready to explore Florence. I was amazed by the freshness of tomatoes, the price of coffee, and the fact that I could stroll into the Renaissance, whenever I got bored of watching Alessandro Borghese rate restaurants on television. In July, I started at the International School of


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GROUP 4 IAS MASSIMO BOSCHERINI SCIENCE LEARNING LEAD In the last two weeks the grade 12 class have completed an important step of their Diploma Programme work: the science internal assessment (IAs). During the science IAs, each student had to independently design, carry out, and analyse the outcome of an investigation. Experiments in biology, chemistry, environmental sciences and physics were performed in the laboratories of the Upper School campus. Under the guidance of Mr. Koevoet, Mr. Landolfa, Ms. Styrczewska, and Mr. Wood, the students had the chance to test those lab reporting skills that they’ve been practicing in the four years of high school science. Well done!



How does changing the amount of MnO2 catalyst (0.1g, 0.2g, 0.3g, 0.4g, 0.5g, 0.6g, 0.7g, 0.8g, 0.9g, 1.0g) affect the rate of the decomposition of H₂O₂ into H₂O and O₂?

What is the activation energy (kJ/mol) of the reaction between hydrochloric acid (HCl) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) by measuring the time (s) it takes for 60cm3 of carbon dioxide (CO2) to be evolved at different temperatures (K)?




What is the activation energy of a reation between KI, H2O2 and H2SO4 by measuring the time it takes to deplete sodium thiosulphate?

Investigating the effect of water concentration on starch depletion in bananas?

How does the length of the carbon chain influence the energy density of certain fuels?


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Determining the activation energy (kJmol-1) of the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to oxygen (O2) and water (H2O) if catalysed by manganese oxide and yeast , by measuring the time taken for 20 cm3 of oxygen gas to be evolved (s) at different temperatures (C).

How does the standard enthalpy of combustion differ based on the number of carbon atoms present in different alcohols?

How does altering the voltage of the power supply affect the mass of the cathode (Cu) during the electrolysis of CuSO₄?




How does changing the concentration of a copper (II) sulfate solution in a voltaic cell affect the voltage produced?

Investigating the effect of the concentration of Sodium Chloride (NaCl) solution on its specific heat capacity.

How does the starting temperature affect crystal growth and heat generation in a supersaturated sodium acetate solution?


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KELSEY HOOD welcomed baby Liam James Leone this past August.

KELLY KERR welcomed baby Emma this past May.

IRENE ROMEO welcomed baby Leo in August 2020.


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ANN BROOKS Our beloved Ann Brooks, Junior School teacher for 36 years, recently celebrated her 90th birthday!

DAMIANO PACCHIANI ‘18 Damiano is currently training for the London Virgin Marathon on 2 October in support of the charity Breast Cancer Haven. Damiano was inspired by JS teacher Ms. Stefania Fossi who sadly passed away from breast cancer and who he describes as “a loving influence throughout my Junior School years.” This cause is especially significant to him because of Ms. Fossi, who he says ”was an incredibly passionate teacher and an amazing person.” Damiano was also actively involved in Corri La Vita during his Upper School years. If you would like to support Damiano’s fundraising efforts, please visit this link: HTTPS://UK.VIRGINMONEYGIVING.COM/DAMIANOPACCHIANI

Damiano graduated from ISF in 2018 and went on to study Economics and Management at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano. Apart from training for the upcoming marathon, he is currently studing in an acting academy in Soho, London, called Giles Foreman Centre for Acting.


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What does it take to be a successful athlete? What type of training and time is involved?

before an athlete becomes successful, this was my case as in the first 3 years I had achieved little of what I dreamed of, but then this last season I truly reached everything that I always wanted.

DD: It takes enormous amounts of training, this summer for example I only got two weeks of vacation at the beginning of August because: I came back from my international competition with the Italian team, and soon after I had to start training for the national championships.

GC: Rowing educates you, strengthens you mentally and physically, and stresses to an extreme level so that you begin to learn your capacities and extend them to the maximum degree.

GC: To be a successful athlete, not only does it take hard work, but it also requires discipline, determination, acknowledging priorities and knowing how to schedule a busy day.

What titles/trophies have you won? DD: I am Italian Champion in the over-17 men’s Eight (where the boat is composed by 8 rowers and a coxswain), I also got the bronze medal at the Italian Championship in the under-18 men’s Coxed Four (where there are 4 rowers with a coxswain), and finally I am the Champion of the 2021 Coupe de La Jeunesse (an under-18 European Championship) in the men’s coxed four, where I won against Czech Republic, France and The Netherlands.

How has being an athlete enhanced your life? DD: It has made me a much more disciplined and determined person, it has taught me that if you want to achieve something in life you must work very hard and sacrifice a lot of things. By training even at 5:30 in the blistering morning cold before school, I learned to be resilient and never give up on the dreams I wanted to realize. Rowing in particular is a sport in which usually at least 2 or 3 years pass

GC: I am currently three times Italian Champion, and two times Tuscany Champion.


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“Rowing educates you, strengthens you mentally and physically, and stresses you to an extreme level so that you begin to learn your capacities and extend them to the maximum degree.”