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Horizons TEN YEARS OF ISW, THE STORY Issue 5 January 2013

The Celebration | Reflections by Guests Meet Your Board of Directors Best Friends Forever

Anniversary Edition


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Managing Editor Gabriela Brunner

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gabriela Brunner Gretha Wocke Sofie Eykerman Rhonda Mott-Hill Lisa Stevens

ART DIRECTION Graphic Designer Roz Birkelo

ADVERTISING Advertising | Marketing Gabriela Brunner Advertising Designer Roz Birkelo








January 2013


INSIGHTS OF THE BEGINNING Interview with Beate Eckhart


NO REGRETS Interview with Alex Cardona




THE 10 YEAR CELEBRATION Reflections by Guests Behind the Scenes


FIRST GRADUATION First DP Graduation in the History of ISW

HORIZONS MAGAZINE January 2013 | 5th Edition











{ The Stor y } 18

Why a New School ISW Timeline

Connecting 28

WITH THE WORLD India – MYP Global Project Poland – CAS Trip Geneva – Diploma History China – Exchange Program










From the

Reflecting back at my 6 months at ISW makes me wonder how on earth time can go by so fast. It has been exciting in many aspects and challenging at the same time. I appreciate the opportunity and trust given to me in the position as the PR and Events Coordinator and I’m looking forward to being a part of this growing school community. A lot has happened in the last 6 months and much more is planned. Several ongoing efforts can be seen easily with the eye, like the new Handout—the Annual Giving Fund brochures—and the website, or a painted wall here and there. Others are more hidden, but just as important. Another of the more visual changes is the Horizon Magazine with a new look and new content platform. The Horizon will no longer report only our achievements and show off our students, but more a celebration of our community coming together, working, learning, and growing into a caring and tolerant society. The idea of the new Horizon is to give the whole school community, which consists of students, parents, staff members and teachers, a face and a voice. From this point forward, you can expect two editions a year of The Horizon magazine—the January edition, and an August addition that will contain the Annual Report. Many people have worked on the January 2013 edition. My thanks go to Lisa Stevens and Sofie Eykerman for taking on the challenge of pulling the biggest part of the issue together. Thank you to Jo Simpson and Vicki Hayward for editing the content, and to all the parents, faculty and students that contributed to this edition. We think of ISW as a family and we know it takes a group effort to make things happen, so we welcome your comments, and especially your efforts to make the Horizon magazine interesting. If you have an idea, some visual material, an article, an interesting story, or educational global news you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please email me with your thoughts.


Horizons by ISW | January 2013

Art by Caroline VanWinkel

ISW’s Journey to Excellence by Gretha Wocke Steering Committee Chair As we celebrate ISW’s tenth anniversary, it is time to take a good look at our school: who we are, where we are and where we want to be. We are undertaking a journey of identifying our strengths as well as areas for improvement, with the goal of testing ourselves against our own stated mission and vision statements, as well as seeking external evaluation at an international level. We will undertake this process by pursuing joint accreditation with the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The aim is to improve the quality of education offered at ISW, through a comprehensive evaluative self-study and an objective external appraisal by a team of peers appointed by the accreditation organization(s).

where our students might wish to continue their education; 2. The creation of a framework for continued school improvement and planning, involving all members of staff, members from the Board of Directors, parents and students. The accreditation process involves a rigorous selfstudy, which we will undertake during the next 15 months, involving participants from all parts of the school community and encompassing every area of the school’s operations. The resulting report will serve as input for a visiting team of independent school leaders and teachers, appointed by CIS and NEASC, ultimately culminating in ISW’s accreditation with these two internationally accepted organizations.

The benefits of the accreditation process will be:

The first part of the self-study involves compiling a School Profile and conducting detailed Opinion Surveys that will begin this November.

1. An objective external evaluation and assessment of the quality of education offered by ISW. This is an indicator of excellence to the community at large, as well as to prospective parents, partners, employees and institutions of further education,

Source: “Journey to Excellence in International Education”, The Main Guide to School Evaluation and Accreditation, 8th Edition, published by the Council of International Schools, January 2012

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW







Hania Price, Assistant to Director

Alex Cardona

Anette Kizilelma, Administrative Assistant Darrell Hayward, Network Manager Gabriela Brunner, PR & Event Coordinator



Mandy Valerio Receptionist & Office Assistant



Horizons by ISW | January 2013


HORIZONS MAGAZINE January 2013 | 5th Edition




Vicki Hayward

Gretha Wocke



January 2013 | Horizons by ISW



Reflection A Reflection from April 2005 to November 2012 by Rhonda Mott-Hill, Director

teachers and parents created from scratch building, amongst many things, the playground equipment on weekends and donated their time, effort, and an abundance of ideas. As only the second Director of School, I arrived in 2005 to work with a “family” of teachers who possessed more energy and creativity that one could imagine, and we all pitched in to make International School Winterthur the best in student education and overall development. I am reminded of two of our teachers, Chris and Maureen, a husband and wife teaching team, who with their two young children, really viewed ISW and its surroundings as their “home.” Each day, Maureen would prepare lunch for her family in the small kitchen located near the few primary classrooms, much to the amusement of us all. Chris never needed prompting to help around the school, and I will always have a lasting image at the end of each day of Chris tidying up in the playground area with an innate sense of responsibility unmatched to this day. The challenges were great; the idea of developing a school was intriguing. Most of all, the possibilities were endless…..

The Beginning: Twelve students, four teachers, one business manager, one first head of school, and a few families who could only be viewed as true pioneers by taking an enormous risk in enrolling their children into a pint-sized, start-up international school. The IB Primary Years´ Program was implemented in practice and philosophy. Resources were non-existent, and


Horizons by ISW | January 2013

The former Sulzer building offered their space in a still-functioning canteen from 2002 to 2003 serving 1200 lunches to Sulzer employees that included a large industrial kitchen, eating hall, and cavernous food storage facilities in the cellar which only a few years later would serve as a wonderful haunted house for our first spirit day activities. In 2005, Claudia Wandernoth, long-time ISW parent, thought it would be great fun to string a rope throughout the cellar to create the perfect haunted house, each of us walking in absolute darkness with a few of our dad´s positioned to jump out from area corners to scare

the wits out of us. To say this was a scary haunted house does not begin to describe such a sentiment! The “Great Hall,” as it was appropriately named, connected one end of the building´s primary classrooms and office spaces to the opposite end of the building´s middle school´s two classrooms which included the nicknamed “Dome” that held a library (100 used, or appropriately named “preloved,” books and old magazine periodicals). The Great Hall was the size of a football field, and in it, we had positioned eight long tables in the corner to use as our cafeteria. During winter weather, it became our indoor floor hockey arena. What fun we had! Our voices echoed in such a vast space, yet we had a dream to one day develop it into additional classroom space should the school grow in student enrolment. However, this was not to be the case…

Our Next Steps ISW achieved its first IB PYP accreditation in May 2006 which was initially denied in 2005 due largely to its transition from a young, underdeveloped school to one that now four years later was beginning to make its mark in the international school community. As a result, a strategic plan was implemented to secure the path to successful accreditation and overall school development for 2005-2010. Ambitious, yes; daunting, absolutely. We continued our efforts to seek support from Winterthur city and Zurich area companies to further our development. Nothing hindered our efforts to forge ahead when forced in 2006 to relocate to another facility across the park from our current site. We anticipated this would be our new school site for several years only to have growing enrolment force us to consider a larger space to keep pace with our growing enrolment. In 2008, we moved to our current site and continued to set our sights on expansion by renovating the ground floor and 2nd to 4th floors (the 5th floor was renovated in 2009) to create sufficient school space to develop our programs. Step-by-step, we centered our energy

on developing the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, sought authorization for the Middle Years and Diploma Programs, achieved IB authorization for both programs with ease, and to date, we continue to center our work on refining the curriculum to meet the needs of our students in preparing them for their future.

Where We Are Now To say that a facility makes a great school and that a large student enrolment equates with success is a flawed distinction. We maintain the strong conviction that a student-centered learning environment with a focus on best educational practice is the true sign of success. Financial sustainability still remains our greatest crusade given that, as a not-for-profit school, all tuition income is applied to operational expenses. We continue, however, to offer what I believe is central to a school´s success: devoted and committed teachers who do not lose sight promoting student success, giving unparalleled attention to finding a myriad of ways to help students develop in our international environment with not only a quest for high academic standards but developing and nurturing students to become the most wellrounded global citizens who are prepared to “take on the world” when they leave us to spread their wings and pursue their dreams. We continue to think creatively as much today as we did ten years ago: we still do not have the perfect building (is there such a thing?), we do not have all the latest gadgets, nor do we have the latest and best in technology, but what we do have is immense spirit and conviction, believing that we offer the best educational opportunities for our students. We are proud of what we do, we are proud of what we have accomplished, and while we have done so much in the last ten years, we will not settle for anything but being the best! Thank you teachers, thank you staff, thank you parents, and most of all, thank you students for believing in us and giving us the greatest gift of all – your trust and dedication.

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW


Art by Alex St. Clair

10 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW


The Board of Directors of the International School Winterthur is the governing body of the school. The Board’s primary role is to safeguard the school’s future, or, in other words, the Board has to think and act strategically. Furthermore, the Board has to assure the community that the school is operating within its values and is performing for the community’s needs and expectations. In more details, our Board together with the Director of the School elaborates and defines the strategic plan and assures that the respective actions are taken to implement this plan. Therefore, the organization has to be defined, the design of the financial control elements put in place and the Director of School has to be installed. Today, the Board consist of seven members. Given the manyfold requirements and competencies, the Board of Directors consists of members having a broad range of expertise in the areas of Finance, Marketing, Facility, and Human Resources. Nowadays the Board operates in four standing committees. The Director is a non-voting member of the Board and an ex-officio member of all committees. These meet on an ad hoc or regular basis at least four times a year. Each committee has two functions, a strategic and a monitoring role. All committees have to account to the full Board and report to the Foundation representing the ultimate shareholder.


ISW Board of Directors Structure

The purpose of each committee is described as follows:

The Marketing and Fundraising Committee focuses on proposals and suggestions for specific school projects soliciting funds from foundations and other organizations. In addition, the ISW PR Event Coordinator updates the Committee on marketing instruments and concepts and oversees the implementation on such projects. The Finance Committee ensures financial and reporting and gives financial advice, budgets and auditor’s reports, decides on and school fees and then submits these to Board for approval.

control checks budget the full

The Facilities Committee provides professional expertise and advice in the development and solution of facility matters. The Board Governance Committee identifies, evaluates and nominates Board candidates for the Board of Directors approval. The committee is responsible for the orientation of new members of the Board and for preparing and organizing “Board Retreats“. Together with all the organizational bodies of ISW, the Board makes the best effort to ensure that our school continues to grow and flourish.

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 11

ISW Board

2012 / 2013

BOARD OF TRUSTEES (Council of Foundation)

Rolf Werner, Chair

Franz Probst

Roman Brunner


Roman Brunner (Chair)

Peter Sulzer

Walter Hรถnes

Andrea Fischer

Maurizio Butti

Martin Meier

Franz-Josef Albrecht

Phillipe Corti

Rhonda Mott-Hill (ex-officio)

Marketing Fundraising

Board Governance

Finance Committee

Facilities Committee

Martin Meier

Andrea Fischer

Walter Hรถnes

Walter Hรถnes

Peter Sulzer

Roman Brunner

Maurizio Butti

Phillipe Corti

Franz-Josef Albrecht

Rhonda Mott-Hill

Roman Brunner

Rhonda Mott-Hill

Rhonda Mott-Hill

Rhonda Mott-Hill

ADMINISTRATION Rhonda Mott-Hill | Director of School Hania Price | Assistant to the Director Anette Kizilelma | Administrative Assistant Mandy Valerio | Receptionist / Office Assistant

12 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

Members Rolf Werner Member and Chair of the Board of Trustees Rolf Werner is Swiss and one of the original founders and capital sponsors of the International School Winterthur. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ISW Foundation since 2002 and an ISW parent since 2009. Rolf Werner is  in international  commodity  trading and brings global and domestic business together.

Franz Probst Member of the Board of Trustees Franz Probst has been working for ISW as trustee and lawyer since its incorporation. Franz is a Swiss corporate and commercial law professional with an international background. He has worked as a lawyer in California, and he was the first parliamentary ombudsman of Winterthur. He is the Founder and Senior Partner of Probst Attorneys and the Swiss Founder and Co-Chairman of SkillSonics India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, an enterprise dedicated to skills development. Franz is the President of the Swiss Movie Theatre Association and the Past-Chairman of the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the board of other organizations.

Roman Brunner, Finance-Governance Member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Board of Directors Roman Brunner is Swiss and a ISW parent since 2008. He has been working in the global IT Industry for 25 years with several expatriate engagements including the UK, USA and Bermuda. Since 2003, Roman Brunner is Chairman and CEO of QuoVadis, a private company in the IT Security Industry with global presence. Besides bringing substantial senior management experience as a corporate Executive and Entrepreneur, he is also a member of various boards and associations.

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 13

ISW Board Members Walter Hönes Finance-Facilities

Member of the Board of Directors Walter Hönes is a Swiss citizen and has been a Member of the Board of Directors of ISW since 2008. Walter retired from his professional career in  2006. He had  been working in banking  and  various leading positions  for 42 years. For the last 10 years he worked as a regional head of Credit Suisse in Winterthur. From 1996 to 2008 Walter Hönes was  a  Member of the Board of Directors  of  the  Chamber of Commerce and the Employers’ Association in Winterthur, where  he was  the  president  for the last 4 years. Today  he is  a  Member of the Board of Directors of the Technopark in Winterthur and serves  in several other committees.

Martin Meier


Member of the Board of Directors Martin Meier is a Swiss citizen and an ISW Board Member since 2008. He has been working in global industrial companies for 15 years with expatriate assignments in Taiwan and China. Since 2000, Martin Meier has had an HR career where he has assumed roles such as HR Director Greater China and HR Vice President Asia for several years. Since 2006 he has been Senior Vice President Human Resources at Sulzer Chemtech and holds global responsibility for approximately 3’500 employees. Based on his personal international experience and the nature of his job, Martin Meier brings a lot of global mobility and expatriate experience into the Board of ISW.

Peter Sulzer

Phillipe Corti

Member of the Board of Directors

Member of the Board of Directors


Peter Sulzer was born and raised in Winterthur. He has been working for Sulzer Brothers Ltd. for 28 years. During that time he lived for many years in Argentina and held several different positions. He was the Head of Sulzer International Group and the Chairman and CEO of New Sulzer Diesel Ltd. From 1997 to 2000 he held a position as the Executive Director at Wärtsilä NSD Corporation. Peter Sulzer retired in 2000. Today he is an Investor and a member of various boards.

14 Horizons by ISW | January 2013


Phillipe Corti is a SwissCanadian dual citizen and is an ISW parent since 2011. In the early nineties he started his entrepreneurial career in the Czech Republic building up a group of construction and construction related companies. In 1998 he was appointed CEO of the Winterthur based CORTI construction group, a family business since 1869 that he fully owns as a 5th generation since 2003. Philippe brings senior management and entrepreneurial experience and is well connected in the greater Winterthur area. He is also a member of various boards and associations.

Andrea Fischer Governance

Member of the Board of Directors Andrea Fischer is Swiss; she grew up and went to school in Austria. Her husband and her children are Swiss/Canadian. She came to Zurich for her studies and finished in 1994 at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich). Since 1994 she has been working for Empa – a research institution of the ETH Domain. In the beginning for a 2 year Postdoc project, then for different national and international research projects and since the birth of her two daughters she is working part-time as a scientist in the operation of NABEL, the Swiss National Air Pollution Monitoring Network, operated by the Empa on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). Andrea Fischer is an ISW parent since 2005 and member of the Board since 2006.

Maurizio Butti Finance

Member of the Board of Directors Maurizio Butti is Italian and was an ISW parent for 7 years. He has been working in the specialty chemicals industry for almost 30 years, holding global executive positions in several multinational companies. Since 2006, Maurizio Butti is CEO of Songwon International AG and COO and Member of the Executive Committee of the Songwon Industrial Group, a public company listed in the Korean Stock exchange. Besides bringing substantial senior management experience as a corporate Executive and Entrepreneur, he is also a member of various boards and associations. He has served as a member of the Board of ISW since 6 years.

Franz-Josef Albrecht Marketing-Fundraising

Member of the Board of Directors Franz-Josef Albrecht is Swiss. He finished his studies at the University of St. Gall with a PH.D. in Marketing. He has been working for Nestlé in management positions in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. After his return to Switzerland in 1985 he was CEO of Geilinger Winterthur, and from 1992 - 2010 Chairman of CPH Groupe, a stocklisted, global company in the Paper, Packaging and Chemical business. Franz-Josef Albrecht is retired since 2010, but still active as a member on several boards.

Biography of Rhonda Mott-Hill ISW School Director The international school community, comprised of transitional students and families, is one that is very familiar to Rhonda Mott-Hill. Before graduating from high school, Ms. Mott-Hill attended six different schools in various parts of the United States and Europe, graduating in Wiesbaden, Germany. Holding University Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education and English Literature as well as a Master`s Degree in International Education Administration, Ms. Mott-Hill believes that the field of education is the most rewarding of professions. Teaching and administrative posts in international schools led Ms. MottHill to Switzerland in 2005 to assume the current position as Director of International School Winterthur. Ms. Mott-Hill´s 26-year old daughter, Amanda, is a graduate of the IB Diploma Program. January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 15

Against all odds and during a global financial crisis Beate Eckhart, responsible for the promotion of residential and educational development in Winterthur, played a vital role in the foundation of the International School Winterthur in 2001. She followed her belief that Winterthur needed an International School, tirelessly serving and supporting ISW for many years. Beate, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Please tell me how the idea of an International School in Winterthur started and came alive? Well, it actually started way before 2001 with a newsletter report about “Gillette Headquarters is going to Geneva” and not to Zürich due to the lack of International Schools. Back then I was still in the Winterthur Stadtmarketing and that news started a huge discussion about why expats and international businesses wouldn’t come to the greater Zürich area. At that time there were only 3 International Schools, one of them quite small, and none had the capacity to take more students. I was responsible for growing the residential and educational development of Winterthur. Having all these internal discussions made it clear that there should be a fourth International School in the Zürich area, and that it should be in Winterthur. And that’s how the idea was born.

{ The Stor y }

INSIGHTS OF THE BEGINNING Interview with Beate Eckhart by Gabriela Brunner

16 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

We then started to expand our discussions to the Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce) and international companies. The general feedback was that it all sounds like a great idea, and why not have it in Winterthur, but we have no interest in getting financially involved. Although we couldn’t count on the Winterthur companies, we felt that we had to go with it. One of the very strong supporters was Rolf Werner along with Franz Probst, Thomas

Kärcher, Ueli Weber and a few others. After developing several feasibility studies and business plans, a “Verein” (society) was founded in 2001.

that wasn’t easy either. However, even against all odds, the school started to grow slowly under Max Müller.

In 2001 I left the Stadtmarketing and started as an independent project manager and communication consultant. ISW then became my first big project.

My time as a project manager ended after a year. My job was done. We had students, staff and everything was in place. That’s when I became a member of the Board of Directors. I stayed for five years and then served a further year on the Board of Trustees.

What challenges did you face? One of our biggest challenges was to raise funds. A foundation was suggested so that donors who were willing to give money would be able to get a tax deduction although it might be too rigid to actually run and operate a school like that. Another idea was for shares to be sold; this developed into a joint-stock company. Both the foundation and jointstock company were approved as a “for non-profit organization” which was quite special. Once that was in place, we went to companies like Baxter and Sulzer, Rieter, Winterthur Insurance and Credit Suisse (where Erwin Heri came into the picture). We presented a package, guaranteeing a spot for the next 10 years at the school for 50‘000 CHF. And so we were able to raise around 1‘500‘000 CHF to start. Another challenge was to renovate a school that wasn’t really a school. It was more like a small annex. When we stood with parents in front of a garage door and told them that this would become a school, none of us felt 100% comfortable as we were selling something that we could only really imagine. However, we found a school principal, Max Müller, who was able to draw everybody along with his energy. So, once the school opened were the challenges over? We thought that we would start with about 30 to 50 children but the reality was that we opened with just 12. That was an extremely emotional responsibility I had to carry and I’ve never had a project since that has caused me as many sleepless nights. I really had second thoughts, wondering if we were acting responsibly, allowing 12 small children to start an education with one teacher and all of that in a “renovated garage”. Additionally, our opening had coincided with the financial crisis of 2001 an 2002. Suddenly other schools had free spots and

The next shock came fast, when it became clear that the Sulzer welfare building was going to be sold. We stood there not knowing which way to go, but then we were able to move just next door into a training building, previously owned by Sulzer but now owned by the city of Winterthur. At last the school was able to move into the upper floor of that building. All this time we were just managing to survive with the money we had. We had to take drastic measures to save money; it was a struggle to save at a time when we should be investing to be successful. I think that today ISW has really found its place in Winterthur, something that becomes apparent when the city of Winterthur needs to sell itself to the international business community, as an attractive location to settle and live. When I listen to you, I can feel your emotion and the passion you put into this project coming through. How much was this project carried by your emotions? Of course, for me it was very much connected to personal success or failure. That’s one side. The other side was that I was at the school so often, seeing the children going in and out of doors, that I felt a much bigger and deeper responsibility than if I were marketing property or building something up conceptually. You see the kids, you feel their energy, and you know if they feel good or bad. I really wanted to make it work and not have the school close after one year, and I felt very strongly that Winterthur needed to have this school.

{ The Stor y }

Once upon a time, not so long ago...the ISW story began.

WHY A NEW SCHOOL? ISW by Sofie Eykerman


icture this: A company asks you or your spouse to undertake a three-year assignment in Switzerland. A very generous package is offered; a promotion, a high salary and the company is also willing to give you a substantial tuition allowance for you to be able to enroll your children in a very good international school. Sounds good? One problem. The local international school is full and is not accepting any new students. This is actually the situation in which many foreign families found themselves when trying to relocate to Switzerland and the Zürich area in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At the time, the canton of Zürich was succeeding in attracting a large number of foreign companies to establish themselves there, and as a result the international schools serving the children of expats doubled, and even tripled, in size to accommodate all newcomers. However, in spite of all their efforts, the schools were simply not able to keep pace with the ever growing demand. Meanwhile the executive director of Stadtmarketing Winterthur, Thomas Karcher-

18 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

Vital, was considering how an international school was essential to the development of the city. He, among many other local prominent people, strongly believed that an international school would be a very strong selling point for attracting foreign companies to Winterthur, and that an international school could thus have a great economic impact on the whole city. In the canton of Zürich there were only three international schools, in Zumikon, Wädenswil and Wallisellen. There was definitely room and demand enough for a fourth one. Why not situate that school in Winterthur?

ISW - The project takes shape At the beginning of 2001 Stadtmarketing, with the help of ICSZ, decided to try and make an international school in Winterthur a reality, giving responsibility for the project to Beate Eckhardt. Among her first duties was finding financing for the project including finding corporations willing to sponsor the school and also the securing of a suitable location and building. The role of ICSZ was solely to help with the school’s structure and the development of curriculum, according to the

guidelines of the IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization). From the outset it was clear that the school would be completely independent of and unrelated to ICSZ. Although the idea of an international independent school was welcomed by the Winterthur Stadtrat, the city politicians were not keen on providing financial support for it. However, in November 2001, after much debate, the Stadtrat decided to provide 50’000 CHF for a pre-study to clarify definitively whether there really was a demand for an international school in Winterthur and if so, where would be the optimal location for it. In the meantime the project had already found its first corporate sponsors. With an initial requirement of 2 million CHF for the school startup, Credit Suisse and XL Winterthur together supported the project with more than 500’000 CHF. Baxter Healthcare in Wallisellen in turn added 400’000 CHF. In return for their support these companies secured places at the new school, one for every 40’000CHF pledged. In December 2001, the International School Winterthur Association (ISWA) is founded. With Andre Haelg as president, other members included Beate Eckhardt, Erwin Heri (Credit Suisse), Rolf Werner (Volcot), Heinrich Schifferle (Siska) and Sean Cleary (Baxter). The Winterthur Chamber of Commerce and the Arbeitgebervereinigung (Employers Association) were also behind the project. By the end of February 2002 ISWA was ready to make a big announcement: The International School of Winterthur would open in Autumn 2002 in Oberwinterthur. The school would be located at Hegifeldstrasse 10 in the Sulzer area, in a building that also housed the Sulzer staff restaurant. Planning permission for the necessary conversion of the space arrived from the City of Winterthur at the end of April. The architect with responsibility for the project, David Schmid, had been responsible for the new school building at ICSZ in Zumikon. Once the school conversion was completed (August 19th 2002) ISW would be able to accommodate 60 students. The plans included five inviting, colourful and educationally inspiring classrooms, well

equipped with varied and stimulating resources and each with a wireless notebook computer system. Next to the school there would be several areas for outdoor activities; Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten had direct access to their own playground, there was a hardtop playground in front of the school for the older students and there were plans to use the nearby public park (now known as Eulachpark) as well. With building work to ensure a physical environment underway, thoughts turned to finding a Head of School for the new school. The chosen candidate was Max Müller, a 48 year old former ISCZ teacher, born and raised in New Zealand by Swiss parents. He enthusiastically took on the challenge of starting up and establishing the new school, recruiting staff for the school and building up the new team. In the first ISW newsletter published May 1st 2002 Max Mulller presented the school staff, the location as well as the current state of applications and reservations:

Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten 7 students Grade 1-2: 5 students Grade 3-4: 4 students Grade 5-6: 1 student

July 2002 saw the International School Winterthur Association converted into its final legal structure as “a not-for profit, politically neutral foundation” and the school’s mission statement set: The school will provide excellent, outstanding education for the growing international population in the Greater Zürich and Winterthur areas. The legal structure of the school now consisted of two entities: The ISW Foundation which would be the support and funding organization and ISW AG, a joint stock company to run the school. Both entities received tax-exemption status and were to be supervised by the cantonal authorities. The boards were made up of representatives from ISW’s main partners as well as private individuals and the mayor of the City of Winterthur.

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 19

Board of Trustees of the ISW Foundation André Haelg, Chairman Ernst Wohlwend, Member Prof. Dr. Erwin Heri, Member John Gerard Cleary, Member Rolf Werner, Member Reto C. Blum, Member Thomas Kärcher-Vital, Member Franz Probst, Member Board of Directors of the ISW AG Beate Eckhardt, Chair Ulrich K. Weber, Vice-Chair Reto Eichmann, Member André Haelg, Member ISW - The school opens

On September 3rd 2002 ISW proudly opened its doors to students. At this point the small school community had 12 children ranging from PreKindergarten to Grade 6. The students came from a very mixed background, representing nine different nationalities - British/Hungarian, American, Italian, Dutch, Columbian, Czech and Swiss/Irish. The staff, lead by Max Müller, consisted of business manager Fiona Oster and five teachers; Maureen Wayling (Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten), Anna Parente (Gr1-2), Sandra Hill (Gr 3-4), Chris Wayling (Gr5-6) and Yvonne Millen (German). As the school didn’t yet have its own sports facilities, the school used two large professionally equipped gyms at the local public school nearby. In spite of the size of the school, there was a bus service right from the start with one route going east to Frauenfeld and another to the areas of Weiningen and Regensdorf. Although initial numbers were less than half of the target intake, by November the school had already welcomed five more students. It had hosted an Open Day for interested people in the local community and the Parents’ Association had been set up by highly engaged and enthusiastic parents of ISW focusing on helping new families settle in, helping parents and children of the school to get to know one another at casual and fun events. A

20 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

certain amount of fundraising was on the cards, for example to raise money for musical instruments, and one of the first activities of the PA was hosting a holiday party on December 7th for the students and teachers. The ISW school logo, some aspects of it still in use, was also created during that first year. Hanspeter Schneider, of Team HP Schneider AG, a local creative design company, spent a day at ISW immersing himself in the culture of the school. He and his team then developed the logo, effectively reflecting the ethos of ISW: “The figures in the logo, each drawn with a brush, represent the uniqueness of each individual; the qualities, skills cultural background and religious beliefs represented by our students and their families. The ‘hieroglyphic’ look of the logo symbolizes the importance of the academic role of the school. The logo will help the students and teachers remind themselves why they are at ISW; it is the student who is at the center of what ISW does, the programmes developed should be relevant, challenging engaging and significant to them.”

ISW - The second and third year (2003-2005) The second academic year at ISW got off to a great start with student numbers more than doubling to 38 children. Other significant developments included the addition of an Early Years 1 class (3-4 year olds) who spent half a day at school, and the launch of the MYP (Middle Years Programme). Whilst at that stage, Grade 6 and a newly constituted Grade 7 class made up ISW’s Middle School, the programme meant the school had a framework of academic challenge and life skills for students aged 11-16 years. Additionally, ISW was now an IBO PYP (Primary Years Programme) Candidate School, a step in the authorization process that leads to becoming an officially authorized PYP school. In 2004, Grade 8 was introduced and, despite vigorous marketing both locally and regionally, numbers stayed at around 30.

ISW - The fourth year (2005-2006) The academic year began with a change at the helm of ISW. Max Müller, Head of School since its inception in 2002, relocated to Singapore to join his wife, and a new Head of School, Rhonda MottHill arrived to welcome 40 students representing 13 nationalities. Grade 9 opened and plans were already in place to open up grade 10 the

following year, completing all grades of the MYP. Two specialist teachers, for Science/Art and for History/ Geography, were employed; two teachers including Alex Cardona replaced outgoing staff in K/1 and G4/5 respectively; and Chris Wayling, who had been with ISW from the start, was named MYP Coordinator.

production of textile machines, at that point hosted a local primary school on its ground floor. The city of Winterthur however has decided to convert even more of TMZ into classrooms. ISW seizes the opportunity and rents the first floor of TMZ. In it’s fifth running school year, it will be the new home for ISW. David Schmid (architect) together with Rhonda Mott-Hill planned the renovation, that expected to cost 1,65 million CH and it was to be

completed in the summer of 2006. This move was a very short move in distance, but a big step in the history of ISW. It is also a sign of the true spirit of ISW - the never ending willingness to adapt, change and grow for whatever the future might hold.

The increased student enrolment meant more classroom space was needed. Plans to convert even more of the Sulzer staff restaurant are made. Early 2006 these plans take an unexpected turn. The owner of the building announces that the building would be sold. ISW would have to move - but where to? TMZ, a building previously used for Sulzer’s

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 21

{ The Stor y }

ISW is established as a Foundation as the forth International School in The IB Primary Years Program is introduced Zurich Canton





ISW begins its first school year with twelve students

Ms. Mott-Hill begins as Director of School



ISW relocates to Hegifeldstrasse 30


The IB Middle Years ISW enrolment reaches Program is launched. 100 students for the Primary Years Program first time receives IB authorization.

ISW – The Next Ten Years

Lisa Stevens asked Roman Brunner, Chair of the ISW Board of Directors how he sees it:

Having celebrated the last ten years of International School Winterthur, it seems right to look forward to the next ten years.

“The ultimate focus of ISW is high quality education with a ‘quality over quantity’ mindset in everything we do. If the demand for enrollment steadily increases, new options to accommodate this growth will be carefully evaluated, but it is entirely possible that we might still be on the same site but in a more ideal configuration with an optimal build out and hopefully additional space to accommodate the needs of a high quality twenty-first century international IB school. Since international schools largely depend on the international community and Swiss citizens of the

22 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

10 years of ISW ISW relocates to Hegifeldstrasse 4 (renamed for the school to Zum Park 5)

Both the Middle Years Program and the Diploma Program receive IB Authorization


The IB Diploma Program begins


Seventy-eight new students begin the school year


All classes are split into separate grade levels

ISW’s first graduating class



With burgeoning ISW celebrates enrolment, ISW 10-years experiences waiting lists in some grade levels

world, the global economy as well as the Swiss ability to continuously attract international communities will play a major role. I personally don’t see growth beyond maybe 20 to 30% over the next 3 years, and therefore I cannot see that maintaining the ‘family atmosphere’ will be a challenge. The smaller feel of ISW is one of our assets which we would like to maintain. Our Director and the faculty will continue to deliver on their mission to stay on top of the educational and programme requirements. By translating these into delivering the best possible education for our students, the school will continue to provide first class international school education and work its way up to become a widely recognized asset to the community and to Winterthur.”

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 23

{ The Stor y }


Interview with Alex Cardona by Gabriela Brunner

Thank you Alex for taking the time to do this interview. Alex, please tell me something about your roots. Well, as everybody knows I’m Colombian. I was born on the Andean Range Mountains in a place called Manizales. Due to its location, Manizales is about 2200m above sea level and has a population of about 550‘000. Most people think that I come from a tropical climate, but considering my hometown’s altitude, it actually features spring-like temperatures throughout the year. The abrupt mountainous topography of the area provides the perfect climate to grow all sorts of things, and in my opinion these features make it a very nice place to live. The area is covered with lush green vegetation and along with the departments of Risaralda and Quindío, forms the so-called triangle of Colombian coffee. I grew up with my two younger brothers and my parents - a small family, despite the fact that my mother was raised in a family of sixteen members and my father in one of fourteen. I guess they had very good reasons for not following their parents’ example! My parents, like most people of their generation, were sent to school for the sole purpose of learning to read and write, after that, everything was about dealing with the challenges of life; work, food, house, marriage and children. Fortunately, for my generation, education was easily accessible and, on the whole, subsidized by the state. This has had a very positive impact on the education of Colombians. From a very young age, I always wanted to become an architect. I remember being very interested in building and putting things together; I continue to be like that. At the end of my Baccalaureate, I attempted to enter the architecture faculty, but due to the large number of candidates at the time and the few places on offer, I did not make it. Instead, I decided not to waste time and I enrolled as a student of Modern Languages and Literature. I never looked back and this obviously was a turning

24 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

point in my life. I finished my studies in 1995, worked as a primary and secondary teacher here and there, and eventually left my home country—not an easy task—at the turn of the millennium. What do you mean by not easy? As a Colombian you carry a stigma with you. This is something I dare say only Colombians know about— Drug production and its illegal trade throughout the 1960’s and 1980’s marked us forever. The restrictions on Colombians travelling to other places were tight and rigorous. Fortunately, this has changed. Not that long ago all countries in Latin America relaxed these restrictions and nowadays we can travel wherever we like in the continent. An improved image of Colombia has also helped to relax these restrictions worldwide. Back then, the only way we could leave the country was by providing evidence of wealth or through studies, in my case it was a scholarship that allowed me to expand my horizons beyond my home country’s borders. What happened after you studied in Colombia? For some reason, I always knew that I wanted to travel and live somewhere else on this planet. It was an inner feeling I carried with me from very early in my childhood. Unlike my siblings, I was never very attached to my home and parents. This obviously helped when opportunities and decisions came my way. I was awarded a scholarship to advance my studies and improve my English in the UK. I ended up in Bristol where I started to work as a language assistant in mainstream Spanish classes. I did this for a year and then, due to a lack of language teachers, I was given the chance to train and obtain Qualified Teacher Status. I spent the next five years motivating British students to learn a second language. Was moving to England a difficult adjustment for you? Looking back, I feel I adjusted quite easily to this new environment. There were hard times, I cannot deny

that, but on the whole it was not much of a struggle. I always thought I was fortunate to gain experience of life in different places in England. In my five years there, I lived and taught in Bristol, Derbyshire, London and Bournemouth. I suppose each of these places offered me challenges and opportunities, and made dealing with adjustment easier. I also met my beloved wife in England. We applied to the same school to work and obtain an additional teaching certification. She then came here to Zurich to work in an International School. We traveled back and forwards every two weeks and every holiday we had for almost two and a half years. And then as happens in life, decisions needed to be made. That’s why I am here. Initially, I came here with the intention of learning German and then eventually finding a job as a Spanish teacher. That was 7 years ago. I recall being happy about this new change of perspective in my life. Through a good friend of my wife, I was told that a very small International School in Winterthur was looking for a teacher. Max Müller was the Head of the School at the time. What was supposed to be a standard job interview ended up being a whole school day experience. At the end of that particular school day, Max offered me the job of teaching a composite Grades 4/5 class. I have not looked back since. Are there any regrets about your choice of occupation? Well, as much as I wanted and hoped to become an architect, I do not regret my choice! While an architect plans, designs and builds structures, here in school, I am helping to build and shape the minds of the next generation. It is like being an architect, no? If I were given the chance to live my life again, I would not change anything and I would make the same choices I have made. Of course after some years of doing the same thing, you start wondering, “Now what?” One of the things this school has given to me, and I appreciate this a lot, is the opportunity to play different roles and grow professionally. This has had a very positive impact on both my job and life generally. What is the biggest challenge you face these days? I consider myself very lucky to be here. The students want to learn and the majority of parents are interested in what happens in school—they want to know how they can support their children

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 25

at home and understand our teaching and learning approach. Probably our biggest challenge is how best to deal with change. The school is continuously going through change—structures, curriculum, programmes, technology, community members. While some of us deal well with change, others don’t. A culture of change and innovation is fundamental to the success of our school. What do you enjoy in particular here at ISW? One of the greatest things about this learning community is the range of backgrounds and cultures of which is composed. Directly and indirectly, its members offer so much to the school. This happens in such a natural way and fosters understanding, respect and tolerance. You can’t get that anywhere other than in an international environment like this one. I guess that many valuable life experiences can be gained through traveling and moving around places. In each of them you are forced to integrate yourself into the community and with that new concepts and understandings are achieved.

That’s exactly what the IB programmes intend to accomplish and with a setting like our school, you can see it happening. The open-mindedness towards and acceptance of different cultures is lived out here on a daily basis. That’s something that makes us really special. What do you like to do when you are not at school, any hobbies? Well, at the moment I would say my hobby is my children. I do what every father does when spending quality time with their children. With Maxine, I enjoy playing with Lego, reading books to her or being read to, going to playgrounds, role-playing, etc. With Eric, I enjoy the cuddling, the feeding and even the nappy changing! In that rare moment when I have time for myself, I listen to music, read or run. Alex Cardona has been with ISW since 2005. He has taught grade 4 and 5 and is now the Primary Program Coordinator and Assistant Principal for the last two years.

Riedgrabenstrasse 18 8153 Rümland Tel. 044 818 17 90 Fax 044 818 17 91

26 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

Faculty and Staff 2012 / 2013 International School Winterthur

{ The Stor y }

Students’ Thoughts I have been able, with the support of friends and teachers, who I will always remember, to become more than I would have ever dreamed of!” —Lucy Ringger ISW is an environment that embraces different cultures and nationalities, while teaching each student to be a complete, balanced and open-minded person with their own opinions... It’s a school that really opens your eyes to cultural diversity. It is like a big family that teaches you a lot about life and being part of a community. —Ambre Lelievre ISW has a strong connection with learning, not only for academic purposes but learning for life. Because of the different cultures and nationalities at ISW, I have gained a more open-mind about people and the world

around us. I am proud of this connection to the world, and I have gained friends from all over the world. I will always remember the family-like environment at ISW, and how my outlook on life has developed from [going to school] there. —Jacqueline Heinzelman (former student) ISW isn’t only a good place to learn, it is also a nice place to get to know more people around the world and have a good relationship with your teachers. Due to the smaller size of ISW, everybody who attended won’t be forgotten because everybody knows everyone. The teachers invest a huge amount of time, both in and out of school. They want the best for you and pass on knowledge very well, not just for school, but for our future. —Michael Koch

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 27

Connecting Connecting with the School Community

Some 6 years ago the founding of the SABHA Foundation (based in Atlanta, USA) was inspired by a former colleague of Director Rhonda Mott-Hill, Shanta Kaylan and her self to help children that survived the Tsunami in 2004 in India together with a strong support from the Atlanta community. Today, Mrs. Mott-Hill serves on the Board of Directors for SABHA’s school (Lakshmi Narayana Nursery in Pattiveeranpatti, Southern India) and the nearby Dayavu Boys Home. The Foundation’s believe was and still is that every child is a gift who needs to be nurtured and loved, with compassion and dedication focusing on the importance of educating girls. Poverty and hardship is the norm for many children who live in rural South India. Hunger, sickness and lack of clean drinking water are for many, a fact of life. Some face the additional challenge of losing one or both parents to poverty induced suicide. Relatives who are equally poor cannot afford an extra mouth to feed. There is no social welfare system that takes care of orphans, needy, sick or abandoned children. Our children live a very privileged life and, hopefully, will never have to face such hardship themselves. Don’t we wish for our children that they have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these children or to leave something meaningful behind. We believe we can begin with awareness. ISWs’ MYP grades are involved in a partnering project with Lakshmi Narayana School in India. Students at ISW learned

28 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

INDIA: ‘MYP Global Project’

about the schools and wrote letters of introduction. They received letters back in May 2012. The goal for this partnership is to understand cultural differences and similarities, and develop a relationship with other schools. It is ISW’s intent to maintain this relationship and potentially for students to have the opportunity to travel to the school as a service project. Lakshmi Narayana School was inaugurated in Oct. 1997 as a play school with nine children and one teacher. Today, the school has a student body of 349 students, 23 teachers, and 16 helpers. There are two male teachers and twenty one female teachers. The school offers highly qualified local women an opportunity to give back to their community and promotes the rights of rural women to equal job prospects. The directors also go out of their way to enroll girls to the school, investing in three buses that are sent to pick-up and drop- off the children in order to encourage parents to send their daughters to school. Lakshmi Narayana School provides a solid foundation in education in a rural area where good English medium schools are non-existent. Most of the children who attend the school come from homes where the parents are uneducated. With a cap of 28 students per class, Lakshmi Narayana School stands apart from other rural schools where there are usually over 60 children are crowded into a classroom. Mrs. Mott-Hill sees this as a great opportunity for all students to serve their CAS Service in a truly meaningful and life changing way. Her strong belief that every child deserves a chance has been proven many times worth the effort, whether it’s in India or here at ISW.

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 29

30 Horizons by ISW | January 2013


POLAND: ‘A CAS trip is not just about fun’ by Lisa Stevens “In the beginning the trip to Poland seemed easy to me. I thought because it is Europe we would not have many hard challenges. However, after a while, I realized that a CAS trip is not just about fun.” As Ms. Klasen explains in another article Community and Service at ISW: “The IB includes Community and Service and CAS (Community Action Service) in their MYP and DP programs to promote citizenship, develop values, and encourage students to identify ways to serve the local, national, or global community. In the end, these programs involve real purposeful activities and personal challenges which thereby generate perseverance, commitment, and an awareness of one’s strengths.” Last June, Grade 12 spent a week in Poland, a trip that included helping at a children’s home for disabled youngsters, a 4-day trek, and a visit to Auschwitz. They recorded their thoughts before and during the trip on a blog, and the following is drawn from that as well as their reflections after the trip.

Fundraising and preparations “Fundraising comprised the main part of the Poland preparation,” said one of the posts on the Poland blog and, with each student needing to raise 400CHF, this was part of their challenge too. As a grade, they had many ideas and collaborated to put on a PYP Movie Night, two MYP lock-ins, an arm wrestling competition, ISW Idol and to sell Chips to staff and students. Individual students also had their own ideas of how to raise money e.g. selling homemade cards and jeweled bookmarks. Reading the students’ comments, it is clear that raising funds was a not an easy task for some, but one that was met head on and enjoyed. “The most pleasant fundraising activity for me was the Arm wrestling tournament. Two classmates

and I organized with the help of our German A teacher a tournament for all the students from grade 6-12. Many students registered for the tournament and it was great fun. Feedback from both teacher and students was good and everyone enjoyed it.”

Fundraising “Fundraisers were an essential part of the preparation for our trip to Poland. Many of them were very effective. For example, the PYP movie nights and Lock-ins left a high income as we didn’t to spend a lot of money buying materials. On the other hand, there were others that were not very helpful as the materials were expensive and not a lot of people wanted to come to the events. One of these activities was face painting. I believe that the activities organized in big group were more effective compared to those organized in smaller groups. However this could have been improved so we would get more money. For example, for the second lock-in, we could have announced the activity better by putting more posters and going to all advisories more times. With this, we might have gotten more people to sign up and therefore we could have gotten more money.”

Fundraisers The blog post Success in failure documents one student’s journey to raising the money, mentioning the lock ins which were quite lucrative raising 90CHF and 130CHF for each participant, and also ISW Idol which raised 90CHF per participant but it was not an easy ride. We were going to flop the night because we did not have enough people sign up for tickets, however, we were pushed by our advisor and still went through with it. Rehearsals were completed, stage was setup and the audience seats were made ready. In the end, there was a great turnout of people in the chairs, and the night was fairly entertaining. The judges also added to the entertainment with

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 31

their jokes and upbeat personalities. At this point I had one more fundraiser, and a bit less than 100 CHF to go. It seemed manageable, however, the time line was strict, and we had to plan before and during exam week, therefore our time was restricted as well. In the end, little effort was put into the night, and a very poor turnout was the result. About 30 CHF was raised for each person. Close to the goal of 400, but not close enough. However, even though we had failed at our goal of 400 CHF, we had still participated in other activities and developed team work skills, and planning skills, which are needed for trip to Poland, so you could say, in a way, we had succeeded.” Raising money wasn’t the only thing on the students’ minds prior to the trip, however. The language barrier with no Polish speaker in the group concerned some. Others were concerned about the food; “I often think about food. I really love eating. Now my dilemma is that I am going to Poland... (and) there is nothing I know about Polish cuisine. I have had little thought experiments just imagining that we would not be able to get anything to eat. What would I do? Would I hunt bears? Would I try to eat random plants with some hope for nutrition? Well I know this sounds really scary, it would be a real life thriller. And one thing is for sure – MY FOOD IS MY FOOD.” ‘I want food’ A big preoccupation was packing light as they had to carry their rucksacks for up to 9 hours a day during the trek but balancing that with being equipped for any weather. And coupled with that, the exertions of the hike both physical and mental concerned several of them. “My physical preparation has been a lot of running. This is due to that the hike will be very intense and probably quit hard. If I want to enjoy the hike, it is important be physically prepare or else the focus would go to how “hard” it is, and the experience will not be the same because you don’t really appreciate it. We have also done some mental preparation in class, in order to deal with the disable children in the most efficient way. We have been looking

at pictures of them and we have also seen a video. This is important, because now we get an image of  how the situation will be like and how we can adapt to it.”

Preparation for hike Additionally there were a few concerns about spending time “with people that I normally only spend the important educational time. I guess it is going to give us all a much different perspective of each other, hopefully positive!”

The Hiking Challenge One opined—“I am worried about my mood, I get really negative and annoyed if something doesn’t go my way. I will have to work on controlling my mood! :D So my big goal for this trip is to keep a positive attitude, be encouraging, happy, excited and to not get annoyed under any circumstance!” ‘Pre-Poland trip preparations and reflection.’

Community; Action; Ser vice So, very early one June morning, the group gathered at Zürich Airport to begin their trip. After luggage issues in Switzerland and parking issues in Poland, the group arrived safely at their hostel, had meetings with the woman who would accompany them at the Children’s Home and their expedition leader, and then enjoyed dinner and some free time before the adventure began in earnest.

Children’s Home For two days, the students worked in a Children’s Home with children with disabilities, tending to their physical needs as well as playing with them and taking them out. “Today we were confronted with children with disabilities, our first impression was not what we expected. We expected to be scared and shocked, but we were amazed to see how similar they are to us. We were not expecting them to be so open to strangers that they just met. One of the children hugged Jade as soon as he saw her. In the end one of the girls danced with every available guy. Others were confronted with children that could barely move. We were feeding and playing with them. Patric, one of the children, was very approachable; he reacted the most and especially liked to be patted on the head. Doing so calmed him down and stopped him from screaming when the other

children cried. Another surprise was the interest Patric had in the sound of the wristwatch ticking. Overall they have the same need for human contact, comfort and food. The only difference is that they are unable to full fill their needs. It was an experience that greatly expanded our perspective.” “Today (day 2) everyone was stressed [as they had been up early preparing for the expedition the next day]. However when seeing the children we were filled with happiness and relief. The children were so sweet, and really happy to see us. It was a bit of a struggle to work with them on this day, because we were working with kids who had much more severe disabilities than yesterday. It was very sad to see such helpless kids, and I kept wondering how they felt about being with us. It was really nice to see how they reacted to the gifts that we brought them as well. I’m happy to say that we brought a smile or two to their faces. Despite the difficulties that we faced taking care of them (feeding, changing, playing and cleaning) it was a really rewarding experience that no one will ever forget.”

Trek “Our first day of the Action component began today. We are to participate on a trek across the Tetra Mountains of Poland.” Confirming the fears expressed earlier, the trek proved to be a huge challenge. Day one saw frustration as the group became split, physically and in terms of opinions; “however, as we progressed we became a better team and stuck together. It may have been difficult to get by the forest surrounded, rocky covered, and steep terrain, but together we did it!” On Day 2, the group hatched a plan to keep together and, whilst they still had their challenges

to overcome such as an exceedingly steep climb, they were rewarded with some beautiful scenery as well. Heavy rain didn’t dampen their spirits “fortunately everyone had their rain gear ready to go” - and the knowledge that there was a hotel awaiting them where they could shower and relax, and leave their bags the next day, spurred them on to complete 7 hours of walking. The blogger signed off Day 2 with “Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow”; sadly they were to be disappointed. On Day 3 “the weather we faced was extremely difficult, in terms of hard pouring rain and thunderstorm. The temperature was falling and we were all freezing. However the group was still able to complete the hard task of reaching over four mountain peaks due to excellent teamwork within the group...we all supported and pushed each other throughout the hike.”

Auschwitz “Many of us claimed that the trekking phase would be the toughest days of the trip. After seeing Auschwitz-Birkenau, many claim that this was the toughest day.” In a moving blog post, one of the students sums up their visit to Auschwitz in the word ‘enormous’; the physical size of the camps that stretched further than the eye could see, the overwhelming spectacle of a million people’s hair in a pile and

January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 33

the enormity of the emotional strain experienced. Acknowledging that we will never fully comprehend why this happened, despite our questions, the student continues: “However what can be understood is why to visit this haunting place. It is to place hope in our hearts. We have been confronted with one of the cruelest actions of human society and we know that this history must be prevented from recurring. Sadly history has repeated itself, in Rwanda. We must prevent this [happening again].” In comparison to the emotional penultimate day, the last day was spent in Krakow. The group visited the famous salt mines. “It was surprisingly good because I didn’t expect much from a salt mine but many beautiful rooms and statues had been carved out of the stone. There was a full size chapel, which you can get married in, and a room to have the reception. What was made the whole experience even more astonishing was that everything in the mine had been carved by the miners not professional artists, and most of it was done by just three men.” The trip concluded with free time to shop, eat and explore before returning to Switzerland.

Reflecting It’s clear that the group did plenty of reflecting; it is after all a key part of the IB learner profile to be Reflective, with students giving ‘thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience... assessing and understanding their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.” (IBO, 2007) They considered their strengths and weaknesses prior to travel, and addressed what they felt they might need to learn, improve and practise. During their trip, their thoughts were recorded on their blog. For example, reflecting on their days in the Children’s Home students wrote,

Jade and Soniel kindly took time out from their busy final year of studies to talk to me about their thoughts now that they had a few months to consider their experiences. What was the biggest challenge for you? Soniel: The weather. At times it was very nice, however, when it turned for the worse, it couldn’t get worse, especially when it was the steepest part of the mountain during one of the last hikes. Jade: My biggest challenge was the hike, and being in such close quarters with my classmates for two weeks, as it really tested our friendships.

What was the highlight of the trip? Jade: My highlight of the trip was working with disabled children at a respite center just outside of Krakow. It really was a great experience, and taught me a lot about how I feel about working with others, and kids in general. Soniel: The challenge! It was great to see everyone come through, and we all worked together, helping each other out by giving warnings, and hints. Our Trek guide slipped of the edge and hung on with one hand. Everyone got a little bit rattled seeing the expert having a challenge as well. All in all, that part was unforgettable.

Did anything surprise you? Soniel: The mountain huts were really nice actually. I was expecting a roof over our head. However, the huts were well established with showers, toilets, television, internet, and even restaurants. It was still not like home, however, it was a lot better than I had expected. Jade: What surprised me the most was how different people reacted to being in different situations, such as the hike, and working with kids who were disabled. Despite knowing some of these people for five years, it was surprising to see how different they were in situations like this, as opposed to only attending school with them.

And to sum up the experience in three words? Jade: Difficult. Eye-opening. Fun Soniel: Twas an ... Obstacle Filled Adventure!

a class, created a bond with the children. Even though the purpose of the service phase was to teach/care for the handicapped children of the center, I believe that in the end they helped us in more ways that they will ever know.”

“They [the children] have the same need for human contact, comfort and food [as us]. The only difference is that they are unable to fulfill their needs. It was an experience that greatly expanded our perspective.”

On their return, and with time to allow the experience to sink in, the group wrote further reflections, a few of which were shared for this article. It is obvious that Auschwitz had a profound effect with one reflection talking of how the experience “changed something about my view on the people, on the politicians. About 75 years ago, all the politicians knew what was going on but still waited for 6 million Jews to die before they would try to stop Hitler’s movement. Watching today’s Syria crisis give me very little hope that humanity has learned anything from history.”

“Over the short period of only two days we, as

Another wrote,

34 Horizons by ISW | January 2013

“Personally the experience was a “wake up call” for me. I realized the importance of treating people equally, despite race, sexual orientation, religion or appearance. For no one should have to die for what they are. One should not judge on appearance, but rather for character. Visiting Auschwitz was a learning experience and a reminder of what humans are capable of.”

The time spent with the disabled youngsters also touched the group. “For me this visit in the school was incredibly rewarding. Personally I never had a good attitude towards disabled kids, simply because I couldn’t relate to them in any way. But helping these kids, trying to feed them, dancing with them, showing them things, hoping that they would notice anything on the picture, showing them what fire is, what turf is, what water is etc. All these things have moved me a lot and made me realize things which I would never have without that experience. .. In this moment I realized that those kids are not that much different than us. The difference is, that those kids have to fight with their own body all the time, they have problems expressing themselves and what they feel or need nor can they express their opinion.”

“I think it was during this trip that I developed my interest in finance and accounting and started to realize that this would be a good thing for me to study in university. The trip helped with this because I absolutely enjoyed managing the money, and having a voice in the way money was spent. Looking back, I think I can be satisfied with the way I handled the situations I was in, and that I did a good job. And knowing that this trip has helped me with choosing the direction of my career, made me realize that this trip wasn’t just something that was required, but that it would actually help us develop ourselves as well.” All in all, as two of the participants put it, the Poland CAS trip was a difficult, eye opening, fun... obstacle filled adventure!

Photos courtesy of the IB / Community & Service (CAS) Trip to Poland Grade 12 | June 2012

Another reflection spoke of the joy in the children’s eyes as they received gifts “I realized that everyone, including the disabled, wants and deserves to be treated with love and respect and that little gestures of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. These children are a true inspiration and made me understand how lucky I truly am for all the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer me.”

And some reflected that the trip had unexpected outcomes. January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 35


CHINA: ‘Exchange program between ISW Switzerland and Suzhou China?’ by Gabriela Brunner During the Spring vacation in March 2010, five of our ISW Mandarin students, with ISW Mandarin teacher Yunjun Xu, embarked on a life-changing student exchange visit to China. The journey started on March 27, 2010 leaving Zürich for Shanghai. The ISW group was warmly welcomed by the host families. The first week was spent in a local Chinese school in Suzhou where our

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students, accompanied by their student exchange hosts, attended classes. The following week was spent touring spectacular sights in Shanghai visiting the highest building in Asia, the World Financial Center, the Expo Shanghai, Shanghai Nature Park and the Yu-Garden, and Tongji. The evenings included dinners hosted by the families, a visit to the Shanghai Opera House or a boat ride on the Huangpu River. There were also plenty of

opportunities to shop and enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine. On April 10, 2010 our ISW group returned home with fond memories of their trip. As a part of the exchange program, ten Chinese students were invited in November 2011 to stay with ISW host families and to get a flavor of Switzerland. Due to Visa limitations, the visit was short and after only five days, the Chinese students

and their three teachers returned home. For this school year, Mandarin teacher Ms. Xu is planning another student exchange visit in March/ April 2013 to provide our students with another memorable journey to China, visiting Beijing and Shanghai and staying with their Chinese host families.

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UN GENEVA: ‘Diploma History Comes Alive’ When teaching DP History at the International School Winterthur (ISW), I want students to be passionate and look at history in new ways. I also want students to deeply understand and be impacted through the awareness that history is not memorizing facts but active investigation, individual conclusion, and defense of such conclusions about the past. Through reading different historical perspectives, conducting research, writing essays and critically analyzing historical sources, students were given such a foundation. Yet, I still wanted to provide more to students. I kept thinking how studied content could be made even more significant and connected to students’ lives in Switzerland. A trip to the League of Nations Museum at UN-Geneva, Switzerland came to mind.

A prescribed history theme students study is Peacemaking, peacekeeping –international relations, 1918-1936. It was very fitting then that students visited and worked with a local community resource of paramount international significance: The League of Nations Museum at UN-Geneva. To achieve this a meaningful activity had to be planned. When thinking of a suitable activity to engage and broaden student practice of history to Diploma standards and capitalize on archival research, the student writing of a source analysis exam (Paper 1) on specific 1918-1936 peacemaking/international relations themes came to mind. Such activity would require students to carefully select historical material of varying complexity and write meaningful questions in the style of Paper 1. In short, the activity would require students to use new skills and act in new roles.

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Instead of being test taker, they would be test maker. They would also work with sources available only at the League of Nations Museum at UN-Geneva. This process would offer new insight and perspective on previous study of the League of Nations. When contacting museum staff about this idea it was received well. A meeting at the League of Nations Museum at UN-Geneva was arranged to transform this idea into a concrete activity meeting Diploma History standards. Museum staff was very helpful in explaining what archival materials could be arranged and what reasonable work could be achieved. They were also very accommodating in making a research room equipped with computers and internet available, arranging a League of Nations Museum tour for additional research, and photocopying original archival material for student use. When the day finally arrived to travel to the League of Nations Museum students were excited and eager to apply and extend their previous knowledge on Peacemaking, peacekeeping-international relations, 1918-1936. Students prepared questions on peacemaking topics that they wanted to learn more about. They toured original rooms where inter-war peace negotiations happened and worked with archives. Solid student understanding of Paper 1 format, group work and student competence and confidence in the topic enabled all to successfully write a mock Paper 1 exam. Student assessment of the field trip was positive and inspiring. They said: “The field trip helped me further understand many concepts that the teacher explained in class: for example the use of historiography or different historical interpretations of the past. I saw this through my teacher and classmates discussing with the League of Nations Museum staff whether the League of Nations failed as an organization or not. –Carolina “I could stayed in the research room for hours if we had the time. It’s a great way of collecting information and to think about the League differently and discuss it.” –Emma

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Esposito

“The trip made me realize that history is not all textbooks but articles and pieces of paper that shaped the world’s border and relations.” –Lewis “To practice the skills of a historian with archival materials was a wonderful and empowering experience. The field trip extended my skills.” –Leonie The impressionable caliber of this event impacted many. Students and parents commented on this amazing opportunity for days. School administration requested that this event takes place next year. League of Nations Museum staff sent an email commending student knowledge and amount of mature questions they offered. The new levels of enthusiasm and appreciation for Diploma History consistently demonstrated by students before, during and after the field trip were fantastic and endlessly invigorating! Such events will always be remembered.

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January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 39

Connecting Connecting with the School Community Teachers Reflect on ISW The way I see it, this school is a “connecting hub”. Nowhere else does one become so closely knit and tightly connected to so many different people from different places. Furthermore, it is as if ISW is ruled by a different dimension of time. A fellow teacher you met only a year ago, can suddenly be considered a lifelong friend you cannot imagine living without. The relationships forged here are of a different substance; they are more intense, sturdy and real than many others. They mature faster and bring such richness and diversity to one’s life, one cannot help but cherish them deeply. Thank you ISW, for connecting me to the world and thereby bringing me closer to myself. —Katie Richardson I have been a part of the international school community for almost nine years and have found that it gives me the sense of security that comes from a small community without the feeling of isolation that often accompanies it. Through the school I have connected with the staff, both collaboratively in school and personally outside of school. I have also connected with members of the close-net and open parent community and especially enjoy working with children from such diverse cultural backgrounds. The international community is inclusive, open-minded and provides a colorful, multicultural environment that brings the world together in a family oriented community. It has allowed me to embrace and connect to other cultures and to integrate into the Swiss culture, which always enriches one’s life immensely. —Greg Andrews

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I feel very fortunate to have become a part of the ISW community in 2012. Having worked at larger schools in the past, I thought that when the ISW staff all knew my name after a few days in August, that this was a typical characteristic of smaller schools. Maybe it is. Within the first few weeks, I came to know students, staff and parents individually. I learned about the diverse places they come from and their unique backgrounds. By the end of August, I was not really ‘new’ anymore, and much of my day I spend planning, reading and teaching. But still, every day I am asked how I am by someone who genuinely cares, and every day I feel grateful to have the opportunity to learn more about the lives of the students and faculty around me. And this, I don’t think is necessarily a characteristic for all small schools, I think this is because we are ISW. —Alysha Kothlow Starting a new job can be worrying and stressful, but starting a new job alone and in a strange country where you don’t speak the language, can be very daunting indeed. In situations like this you very quickly make strong bonds with others in a similar position; this is often the case with teachers in international schools. We teach abroad for a variety of reasons- because spouses or partners have jobs abroad; we are lured by the promise of money (outside Europe!); to escape the mundane, see new places and experience new cultures. In line with the latter there is one thing that most international teachers have in common- they are adventurers, making the most of

all opportunities that arise. In my experience teachers who remain in their home country are less likely to take advantage of long weekends; I remember when I was in Thailand, booking last minute flights with a friend to go to India, because I really wanted to see the Taj Mahal and it didn’t seem too far away!! Friends in the UK were astounded and rather envious I think, they ponder long and hard before spending a long weekend somewhere else in their own country, never mind flying almost 3,000km! Gaining first hand experience of the culture of a country is so rewarding and eye opening; again in Thailand, my head teacher allowed me a Friday off school so I could travel with a Thai friend to her grandmother’s funeral in the North of the country. It was a real privilege to experience the way in which Thais deal with death and grief. It was a relaxed three day extravaganza where people chatted, cried, played cards, laughed, cooked, all the while chewing on betel nuts and during which time emotions moved from grief and sadness to joy, reminiscences and acceptance. So different from the British stiff upper lip approach. I think it is important to take advantage of what a country can offer, so in my first year here in Switzerland I was really excited about learning to ski; growing up in the south-east of England, this was not a sport that featured large! But I LOVE it! In the past few years I have spent most of my weekends indulging my passion and this year I intend to branch out into snowboarding.

so rewarding to be teaching in international schools. —Jo Simpson According to research a sense of community is a concept defined by the experience of being together. Hence, it is the responsibility of all ISW‘s constituents to help develop a safe, caring and honest learning environment for all. During my time here, I have witnessed students, parents, teachers and staff invest together personal and emotional time throughout the years to acquire a sense of belonging, an identity and along the way, a very good reputation. Our shared history and participation in many multifaceted events connect us like members of a family. Crucial milestones such as MYP & DP authorizations, curriculum reviews, enhancement of support systems, extra-curricular program development, birth of our CAS/C&S program, career & university planning, use of teaching and learning platforms, and improvement of communication, have shaped who we are and who we will become. As such, the needs of our community members are almost met and values are shared, thus giving us cohesion to build stronger bonds in order to move forward. I hope that, as an international community, we can look ahead proudly, strive to walk in the same direction and continue to grow collectively as a community. —Marie-France Labelle

As in any school you form a few strong friendships which continue as you each move schools, countries and continents; these are friends that you don’t see very often, but when you do you pick up exactly where you left off, as if it hadn’t been a year or more since you last met! In my class I love the way that my students can teach me and each other about how things are done in their own country - I like seeing how proud they are about their own cultures and traditions, as well as broadening my own outlook on life ; the relatively small classes mean that you get to know more about each student than is possible in a class of 34. It is such friendships and experiences that make it

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Connecting Connecting with the Local Community RED RUN For our local project, we collaborated with the Red Cross Zürich and held the first ever Red Run. This event raised funds and awareness for the ‘mitten unter uns’ program through the Red Cross. This integration program connects foreign speaking children with German speaking host families or individuals. For the Red Run, ISW students set a goal for the number of laps they could complete in one hour. As a school, we ran 1856 laps and raised 7, 966 CHF! It was important and impressive to see ISW join efforts across all grade levels, PYP, MYP, and DP. Students were able to see the implications of their actions and understand how even a 7-year can contribute in meaningful, powerful ways.

MITTEN TREE by Julie St. Clair, Parents’ Association President As a parent, I believe it is important for us to teach our children that the “world” in which they grow up is not necessarily the reality for everyone. They need to be aware that there are people who struggle to make ends meet and find themselves making difficult choices every day due to financial concerns. The idea that people are cold in the winter and do not have all the necessary clothing articles to stay warm is a very concrete example that even young children can grasp. Charity is everyone’s duty to those less fortunate. Particularly during the holidays, we are mindful of needy people in our own community and beyond. Here at ISW we decorated a “mitten” tree on which children were encouraged to hang new hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves to be donated to people in need right here in Switzerland. It was difficult to find a charity for our planned donation due to the healthy economy here, but we discovered Tell-Tex GmbH that works through partners to distribute clothing and shoes to those in need.

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HOW WILL YOU REMEMBER 2012? by Lisa Stevens As the year that London hosted the Olympics and Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee? For Spain retaining the European football Championship? Will it be for the announcement by CERN of the discovery of the Higgs boson ‘God particle’? Or as the year that a man broke the sound barrier as he jumped from a balloon 24 miles above Earth? Perhaps for all of the above. For many, it will be remembered for 16th November when ISW celebrated its 10th anniversary with the party of the decade at the Reithalle. Guests from the community as well as the ISW family, past and present, were treated to a show by the pupils that caused gasps of wonder, tears of joy and a feeling of great pride. Pride in the articulate way that pupils expressed their feelings about the school. Pride in singing and dancing that would not look out of place in a theatre. Pride in the talented staff - Jo Simpson, Kate Taylor and Cristina Suevos - who created the show and dedicated hours to rehearsing the pupils, making adjustments right up until the last moment to make the show a success. And pride in how far ISW has come in ten years. A spectacular show, delicious food, a rocking band and some funky dancing combined with friendship and memories to make it a night to remember!

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REFLECTIONS BY GUESTS The 10th anniversary celebration was an amazing event enjoyed by all guests. From the moment we stepped into the Reithalle,  beautifully decorated with flowing white fabric draping the two-story high ceilings and over 450 round tables set with Protea flower arrangements,  we could feel the electricity and energy heavy in the air.   During  the evening there was a feeling of family, success for the school and great hope for the future of ISW and its students, all encompassed through speeches, and musical and drama performances.  It made us feel so proud of be a part of this growing international school community. A tremendous thank you goes out to Gabriela Brunner and her volunteers for executing a fabulous celebration for ISW!

—Krislyn Lavey

Throughout the evening, a warm feeling of familiarity was growing inside me, and I realized that all the people I love and care about here were at that party with me. Suddenly the school was not only my kid’s school but also the place where my new family comes from. —Carolina Yavarone

Launched in 2002 with a handful of students and now 10 years later what a memorable Birthday party! Great location, music and performances – a wonderful family event. It was an excellent way to bring all together and celebrate the great development of our ISW. This unforgettable evening was a worthy start of a new decade for a unique school. —Andrea Fischer

I’m happy and proud to be a part of a vision that came true. —Aida Milekovic

Time flies… A bit more than 5 years ago Carmen, my wife, and I have started a new stage of our life, the “adventure” of being expatriates in Switzerland. Alexandru and Ana-Maria joined us in the adventure. We visited Winterthur first and the plan was to visit Zürich afterward. In fact, we have not followed our plan to visit Zürich - after a walk through the Winterthur city center (we really liked it, resembles a bit our native town city center) and some houses (we found one we liked), we paid a visit to ISW. Our first impression of ISW was so positive that after the visit we decided to move to Winterthur and cancel our house & school search in Zürich. Besides looking beautiful and well managed, the most important positive impressions were the feeling of being a very friendly community, not so large - but still strong. At times I remember my first impression and compare it with my current perception of ISW.

“Very friendly” – I could see that with the various events organized by the ISW teachers and the parents’ association we have attended over the years, I have definitely enjoyed the interaction with the other parents and over time some of them have become dear friends. Needless to say, all best friends Alexandru and Ana have in Switzerland come from ISW… “Strong community”, but definitely not a small one! That perception of “relatively small” has changed with ISW 10th anniversary event. I could never visualize before the ISW “family” being so large and strong before the evening of November 16th, 2012. We had a “full house” at Reithalle – kids and parents together, “founding fathers” and special guests – an absolutely impressive evening. The most powerful impression was the team and individual efforts made by the students, reflected in a performance of a very high artistic standard; a truly impressive mix of lights, music, drama and whole-hearted statements of the students. It was an absolute pleasure to see in a sense just the beginning of their human potential being unleashed; I am absolutely convinced success will follow the most over the years. Thank you, kids & teens, all the best for the years to come! Impressive was the effort and coordination of such a large scale event – a special thank you to the organizers! Last but not least a final word to the parents and teachers – our home might still be in Winterthur or might change elsewhere during the coming years –always remember and tell the story of the ISW turning 10. Happy 10th Anniversary, ISW and many more to come! —Cristian Sirboiu

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& AQuestions for Gabriela Brunner BEHIND THE SCENES

Organizer of the 10th Anniversary Celebration

Why was it important to have a party? I believe that if so many people work together for so long to create a product as big as a school, it is most definitely worthy of a celebration. We needed to show the world, if you will , that we are worth it. We have a great community and we needed to celebrate that. How many guests did ISW have? We were hoping for 300, but ended up with an incredible number of 480 guests. 99% of all the families came plus members of the ISW board, supporters of the school, city representatives, business partners and some of the directors of other International Schools. How long did it take to plan this event? Discussions started around January 2012. The organization started to intensify in May and went nonstop until November 16th. Did you have any heart stopping moment? There were a few of those moments. To get past them, deep breathing exercises usually helps and quite often issues sort themselves out after that. But unexpected things happen all the time. For example, we had to go through four laptops just before the show started. For some reason one after the other decided not to work anymore. Thanks to Lisa Stevens we had a slide show just before all the guests arrived and the show began. What was the most challenging thing for you? Most likely myself. The pressure you put on yourself is huge. I wanted it to be a great experience for everybody. My wish was that everybody would go home with a content and happy feeling, remembering this night for a long time. You just want it to be perfect. Plus with organizing events like this, you expose yourself to the outside world. That in itself is not always easy. The outcome reflects on the school, the teachers that were involved, students, and a whole lot on you as an organizer.

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Would you do it again? Sure, just not tomorrow! I enjoy my nights that I can sleep at the moment. No more nightmares of disappearing tables and venues that suddenly shrink over night.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the other people that supported this event. First a thank you to all the board members and the director Rhonda Mott-Hill for their support. A great big thank you to Jo Simpson, Kate Taylor and Cristina Suevos for their commitment and enthusiasm to work with our students. To Emel and Katja Reichenstein for their time they gave to us. A great big thank you to Renee BaumOsterwalder and her band Thunder that gave us an unbelievable music and dance experience. Thanks go to all the mom’s that supported the event over many days with the necessary preparations. A thank you to all the students that helped setting up and the ones that stayed behind to clean up. EMEL said: Thanks for giving me this opportunity. I had a great time working with these talented kids and I was really impressed with their commitment EMEL (Swiss with Turkish roots) singer has taken the time to coach and rehearse with 5 of our students. We thank EMEL for performing along with them and giving them the

opportunity to shine. Thank you to Best Catering that showed great flexibility and mastered the catering for so many people with ease. And at last a big thank you to Sattler Electronics that made sure that the light effects and sound throughout the evening ran smoothly. —Gabriela Brunner

Art by Sonja Milekovic

Art by Peter St. Clair January 2013 | Horizons by ISW 49


... There will be those who will be remembered, and those who will be forgotten. Entering this school as a young fool, and departing as an even bigger one. I have not only witnessed a development in myself, but in the high school I have been in for the past 4 years. Its transitions in teachers, students and peers has brought me an intriguing and exceptional education, laughter and at times, tears. This school has always inhabited an intimate and passionate atmosphere, and one in which has certainly built the young student I am today ...

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... Without the presence of these incredible teachers, I doubt whether I would have reached the level of academia now, being vastly engrossed in books of literature and philosophy and knowing that my time at ISW has ignited this philosophic passion. I hope that ISW will continue to nurture its unique atmosphere of teaching which will continue to churn out inspiring individuals of tomorrow. ... I am no longer a student of shared opinion, but an individual who partakes in individual thinking.



Pascale Robitaille

Where do you live right now and what are your plans for the future? I am currently living in Halls of Residence provided by the University of Leicester. My plans for the future are to finish my degree in 3 years with a BA English and History, or otherwise finish it in 4 years with a year abroad.

Where do you live right now and what are your plans for the future? Right now, I am back home in Canada. I took a year off. At the moment I work full-time and I enrolled myself in a school to take additional classes to be prepared for the nursing program I will start in September. My plan for the future is to become a nurse and work in a hospital around the area of Gatineau (that’s the name of my town), where we are in a huge need for nurses.

It’s been six monts since you graduated. How does it feel when you think back to your time at ISW? I feel myself frequently reflecting upon my prior academia of ISW in attempt to parallel my current study at university as a means to fully comprehend the brevity of stepping into a far larger place of study. A certain nostalgia also is apparent upon reflection, as coming from such humble roots to then be lost in an array of so many individuals like myself, but a certain pride is bore from this. What do you miss most? Although I have seminar tutors for all my English and History Modules which only has 15 students max as opposed to hundreds in lectures, I was very fond of the intimate and challenging interaction at ISW in terms of classes which greatly benefitted me.   Looking back on your overall experience at ISW, pick three words to describe how ISW has influenced you and who you’ve become today. Freedom, Individual, Ambitious

It’s been six monts since you graduated. How does it feel when you think back to your time at ISW? When I think back to my time in Switzerland or more precisely ISW, the first thing that comes to my head is lots of homework and projects (Huge piles of things to do, projects that go on for 6 months and the uncountable hours of volunteering). What do you miss most? I miss my best friend the most. I was really close to her for a long time and being far away from her is really hard but I really hope to see her soon. Looking back on your overall experience at ISW, pick three words to describe how ISW has influenced you and who you’ve become today. My ISW experience changed me into an organized, self-thinker and helped me develop a lot of leadership skills (especially being the president of GIN ).

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Global Citizen by Lisa Stevens


hen Socrates said “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world,” was he disowning his home country and being unpatriotic, or was he trying to say that he felt something beyond his national identity? The idea of being a citizen of the world, or global citizen, is obviously not a new one considering that Socrates’ dates are 469-399BC. So what does it mean to be a citizen of the world or global citizen, and how does it relate to ISW? A citizen is “a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection (distinguished from alien)” ( A citizen should be loyal, and follow the laws of the ‘government’ of his/her state or nation. That’s easy if you’re a citizen of one country. Historically it was the norm to stay in one country all one’s life and emigrating was seen as a “big deal”. Whilst there will always be people who live in one country for their entire life, nowadays with easier travel, better communication, and globalization, there are a large number of people who will live in a number of countries during their lifetime, often moving every few years, and who therefore may be citizens of various states or nations. When Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in his 4th inaugural address in 1945, “We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community,” he was speaking in the aftermath of the Second World War and reflecting on a changing world. “We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men, not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.” That is not to say that he was rejecting his American identity or allegiances; rather he was looking to a future that required a broader perspective. How might we define a global citizen?

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A search on Yahoo questions comes up with a variety of answers. ‘Infogoddess’ suggests, “A global citizen is one who takes into consideration the world as a whole rather than just the immediate world in which one functions”. ‘Dixie’ adds, “The term global citizen means a person who does not believe they are a citizen of one nation, but a member of mankind. A global citizen understands that the world is interconnected and that every action of an individual or society affects a wider environment.” ‘NPhoenix’ makes things more concrete “It means considering the impact on the world as a whole for every decision that you make rather than considering yourself a member of one artificially created state.” Oxfam (1997) sees a Global Citizen as someone who: • is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen; • respects and values diversity; • has an understanding of how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically and environmentally; • is outraged by social injustice; • participates in and contributes to the community at a range of levels from local to global; • is willing to act to make the world a more sustainable place; • takes responsibility for their actions. ( what_and_why/what/) So, global citizens see themselves as citizens of the world and are mindful of how their actions affect others. They feel responsible and accountable, show empathy and believe that individuals can make a difference. Being a global citizen is not about protest but about awareness and action consistent with a broad understanding of humanity, the planet and the impact of our decisions on both” (Univetica). And as Ron Israel says, “Those of us who see ourselves as global citizens are not abandoning other identities such as allegiances to our countries, ethnicities and political beliefs. These traditional identities

give meaning to our lives and will continue to help shape who we are. However, as a result of living in a globalized world, we under stand that we have an added layer of responsibility; we are also responsible for being a member of a worldwide community of people who share the same global identity that we have.” (What Does it Mean to be a Global Citizen? Ronald C. Israel, Kosmos, Spring-Summer 2012 ticles/whatdoes-it-mean-to-be-a-global-citizen) One respondent to the question, ‘What is a global citizen?’ replied “An expatriate (sic) who feels he owes no allegiance to any country, nor any culture” (‘ElizabethP’). Could this also be true? Another respondent, ‘Barry’, refers to Barack Obama as an example of a global citizen “It’s sort of like being a part of everywhere. Well, use our President as an example of a global citizen. He was born in Kenya, lived in Hawaii a little, spent a lot of time in Indonesia, and then Pakistan, before going back to Hawaii. Then he lived a little in the continental United States,

and now he spends a lot of time in Europe and the Middle East, and a bit of time in Central and South America...He knows other cultures from first-hand experience.” As part of an international school, we come into contact with people from innumerable nations with a plethora of life experiences. Our school is a ‘global community’ in itself! In an article published in the Financial Times entitled Third culture kids, the title refers to children educated at international schools who “are just a little different. Often from families of serial expatriates, sometimes educated at international schools in a scattering of different countries...these children are quite worldly, in a good way. They think outside of the box more.. have a broader world view”. This is partly due to their exposure to other nationalities, countries and experiences, but could also be attributed to the ethos and curriculum of the schools themselves. “The aim of all IB programmes are to develop

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Photo by Jacqueline Heinzelman

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internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world” (IB Learner Profile). Learners strive to be Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced and Reflective, and to demonstrate appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance, following a curriculum, within a community of learners, that is connected to life and is of global significance, irrespective of their background. Those attributes and attitudes, it could be argued, are exactly the ones that are demonstrated by someone who is a ‘global citizen’ or ‘citizen of the world’.

BIBLIOGRAPHY What is a Global Citizen? Are You One? by Zachary Shahan 31.08.09

Definition of Global citizenship

What is Global Citizenship? and_why/what/

What Does It Mean To Be a Global Citizen? by Ronald C. Israel, Kosmos, Spring-Summer 2012

Yahoo Answers Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 4th inaugural address

So, being a Global Citizen isn’t about being well travelled. It isn’t about being a vociferous activist. It’s about an attitude and outlook that, whilst not abandoning one’s heritage and experience, looks beyond the personal and provincial to appreciate a wider global perspective; it’s about empathy, responsibility and awareness of one’s role as a member of mankind. As @Knolinfos commented on Twitter, “There are no borders anymore. Barriers are only in our brains”.

Third Culture Kids by David Turner, May 20th 2009, citizen (screenshot)

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says Trine from Norway.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Lisa Stevens The saying goes, ”Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget” and for a group of (mostly former) ISW mums, this is particularly true. They call themselves the BFFs - Best Friends Forever - and have formed a particularly strong bond that has survived comings and goings, moves and changes to be as strong and important a link now with them spread across the globe as it was when it first began at the school gate, “catching up with someone who understands”. (Sally, England)

“When we came to Switzerland, I didn’t know what to expect. What I was focusing on was the children, wondering if they would find new friends, how they would like school etc. I didn’t think of me, and about me making friends. But I did, and am so happy for that,”

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And, as Patricia (the Netherlands) shared, “Friends are what you need when you come to a new country”. This is especially true when you have children at school and a partner at work. They’re occupied for large parts of the day; what do you do with your time? Drop off and pick up times become important times and as Mona (Norway) says, “Short discussions before and after school end up being coffee after drop off and before pick up”. Such friendships are important for discussing your lives, your challenges and your experiences or, as Mona mentions, “the ‘science’ of Swiss garbage handling,” which has baffled and amused many a family! However, what makes this group different and ensures that, despite now being spread across the globe, they still meet up twice a year, and continue to share a common bond? Judith, a mum from the Netherlands, explains: “When we moved to Switzerland, we enrolled the kids in an international school in Zürich but were unhappy with the school so we decided to change to ISW. Three other families had changed before us, and others would change afterwards. This was the best decision we made living in Switzerland, not only for the children who were now in a school with the best teachers I have ever experienced, but also for myself. I met some extraordinary women. Switching schools is how we became close friends I think, going through this change together. We were already friends before but this is what bonded us from the beginning.” Mary (Switzerland) shares a similar experience of moving from another school “Being not completely happy with the school, we decided to follow the G-L family as well as the W family to ISW. What a great decision!” Nancy (Canada) pinpoints the “friendly community atmosphere that gave the families a great opportunity to feel at home away from home as being key to everyone’s happiness - happy children sharing “projects, activities and memorable field trips with enthusiastic and passionate teachers,” with the school providing a focus for fun times which “will always bring a smile when we think back to our time in Switzerland,” according to Sally (England). “I cherish very special friendships with amazing

women I met through school...We chatted over coffee, exchanged travel tips or information on life in Zürich. Some organized various activities, one kept us in shape, one baked lolly cake, some started a gardening club, some took German lessons together, some did Yoga, two of us went to history of art classes. We met once a month for a very serious book club. Our families met at the pool during the summer breaks, shared meals and celebrated holidays together and became familiar with different cultures. And we organized Mums-only weekends to visit friends who had moved...or just for fun.” (Nancy)

“We feel very lucky to have made so many unforgettable friends and cherish great memories of our years in Zürich.” –Nancy “I love my BFFs and can’t wait to open a bottle of Prosecco with them.” –Judith “We are all so different and that’s what makes it great. We share great memories and I am looking forward to all the things we are going to do in the future.” –Patricia “This kind of friendship never disappears.” –Mary

Life moves apace and families move on. What happens then? For the BFFs, moving was not the end but a new beginning. As Nancy shared, “when we said ‘we’ll keep in touch,’ it was more than words”.

“They will always be a big part of my life.” –Trine “We will stay BEST FRIENDS FOREVER wherever we are in the world.” –Mona

“Before I came to Switzerland I had never heard of Facebook, let alone used it. Now five years later it is the medium I use to keep in contact with all the friends I made at ISW,” says Patricia. Skype and email are also ways the group mention that they use to stay in touch and continue to interact. They meet up twice a year and use Facebook to plan the events: “it’s part of the prefun of seeing each other again!” They’ve gathered in Stockholm, Barcelona, London, Canada, Zürich and in November they’ll be meeting in Boston, MA. Some final thoughts from the group:

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Thank you for 10 Amazing Years!


. CH-8404 Winterthur . Switzerland Tel +41 (0)52 269 59 00 . Fax +41 (0)52 269 59 02 . Zum Park 5


Horizon Anniversary Issue  

The International School Winterthur is an exceptional, non-profit day school offering a comprehensive education program, serving the greater...

Horizon Anniversary Issue  

The International School Winterthur is an exceptional, non-profit day school offering a comprehensive education program, serving the greater...