Page 1

MICA (P) 088/08/2011

A Singapore American School community service publication

October 2011

Volume 14, Issue 1-11/12


In This Issue: A Focus on Service Learning Page 7

Page 9

Page 17

Worldwide Water Crisis

A Buddy and A Book

Passion for Service

One Singapore, One Day Michael Ferguson Grade 1 Teacher


he first grade classes of Mr. Ferguson, Mrs. Quick, and Mrs. Tan actively solved a real-life problem—a skill they learned in the classroom. Participating in the service-learning project One Singapore, One Day, first grade students partnered with students from the neighborhood Fuchun Primary School located near Singapore American School. By designing activities that incorporated the desired learning outcomes of the SAS grade one curriculum, these partnerships have enhanced cross-cultural

understanding, provided an opportunity to form new friendships across cultures, and enabled students to appreciate diversity while acknowledging commonalities. During the 2010-11 school year, these partnerships met monthly with students visiting each other at both campuses. Inspired by the book One World, One Day, students from the schools partnered to share and discover how their days were similar and different with the initial activity One Singapore, One Day. Other sessions Continued on page 8

Editor’s Note


So Many Stories to Tell

Regular Features

Tamara Black Assoc. Dir. of Communications

When I arrived at Singapore American School last year, I was inspired by the many ways we tell our stories. I made it a priority to meet people, ask questions, and learn more about how we communicate. I discovered that through our publications, members of the school community share how their lives are transformed by their experiences at SAS. I also learned that our community cares deeply about the education their children receive, and that they want to hear from and engage with others who feel the same way. When I realized the large volume of information that we share each day, I made it a priority to find ways to make our communications more effective and efficient. So, last year we redesigned our weekly email newsletter, the SAS eNews, to provide the information parents would need for the coming week. Our user data shows that readership and engagement continue to increase. In the advancement office we also produce SAS Journeys, which is our print alumni magazine, Crossroads, and the SAS website. We enhanced the layout in Journeys to allow our stories to stand out even more. Similarly, we’ve updated Crossroads—formerly known as NewsFlash —with a refined design and a name that better reflects who we are and what we do. At SAS, we are truly at the crossroads of where an American education meets an international perspective. Our biggest undertaking has been the redesign of the SAS website. We evaluated all content, looked at every photo, reworked the site architecture, tested with focus groups, and relied upon the support and assistance of many. We launched the new website on October 1, and we believe we’ve created a site that is pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate, and comfortable to read. Look for additional site features to be released during the rest of the year such as portals that will allow you to log in and enjoy a more personalized experience. At SAS we’ve been sharing our stories for more than 55 years. Our hope is that our updated publications and new designs will help us tell those stories as never before.


From the Superintendent’s Office


PTA President’s Message


Booster Club News

Highlights 16

Global Giving


Dr. Jane’s Visit to Singapore

25 Coming Home to Singapore 26

A Play to be Remembered


30 Years of IASAS


The Scoop on Summer Works

Crossroads is published bi-monthly during the academic year by the communications office of Singapore American School. It is distributed free of charge to the parents, faculty members, and organizations served by the school. We welcome input from the community associated with Singapore American School. Editor: Tamara Black, Associate Director of Communications Layout Design: Alfi Dino Photography: Karen Cortezano

Contacts General Inquiries and Comments Crossroads Submissions Tamara Black, Deadline for Crossroads submissions is the first of the month prior to the proposed month of publication.

Singapore American School 40 Woodlands Street 41, Singapore 738547 Tel: 6360-6303 Singapore American School CPE Registration Number: 196400340R Registration Period: 22 June 2011 to 21 June 2017 Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Crossroads is printed on 100% recycled paper.



From the Superintendent’s Office

Matters of the Heart Brent Mutsch, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools


t SAS, we daily strive to be true to our vision by creating learning opportunities that encourage both emotional and intellectual vitality. When asked what is meant by these terms, I find myself describing the intersection of matters of the heart, which reflect emotional vitality, and matters of the head, which represent intellectual vitality.

Beginning in Primary School and Intermediate School, SAS students engage in experiences that enable them to see a direct relationship between their actions (i.e., fundraising) and the impact their outreach has on the lives of others. As students grow older and reach Middle School and High School, they are increasingly responsible for the design, development, and implementation of service learning projects. Taking a service project from an idea to successful implementation gives students a level of ownership, commitment, and dedication to their work on behalf of others, which ultimately contributes to success and the feeling of satisfaction that accompanies true service learning. In addition to having support from our parent community for the development of both emotional and intellectual vitality, the SAS staff has consistently demonstrated an amazing level of commitment and dedication to creating experiences which serve as models of service for students. Our staff demonstrate their own personal commitment to life choices that reflect an abiding dedication to helping others. Faculty and staff alike spend considerable time outside of the school day—including during school vacations, high school interim trips, and service trips to Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa and Thailand—providing guidance, counsel and support to school-wide service projects.

The SAS community raised S$125,000 during the 2010-11 school year for the Japan earthquake relief fund. Students from the high school and SAS staff presented a symbolic check to the Japanese embassy.

We deeply value the development of emotional and intellectual vitality.

We deeply value the development of emotional and intellectual vitality. We nurture in our students the development of a disposition toward service as reflected in their voluntary actions to making a positive difference in the lives of others while also developing the capacity to use their minds well. If as a school we develop the intellectual capacity of our students without also contributing to the development of a vision for how to help others, we’ve fallen short of our responsibilities. In partnership with parents, we create experiences that will encourage both emotional and intellectual vitality to thrive and flourish.

Yes, the opportunities to develop intellectual vitality are of considerable breadth and depth at SAS. But so too are the opportunities to develop emotional vitality as matters of the heart. What could be a better combination for students who continue to shape who they are and who they will become?      



Connecting Community for Every Child

The SAS Annual Fund Michael K. Kingan Chief Advancement Officer


ingapore is one of the great crossroads of diversity. By virtue of people and place, our students gain a valuable global perspective through their Singapore experiences. By connecting our children with the community around us, we’re helping every child to reach his or her potential as a young leader and global citizen.

Singapore American School today is the result of the unparalleled generosity of our donors and volunteers. Our Woodlands campus was funded with a gift made in the 1960s to last in perpetuity. Today, hundreds of volunteers through organizations such as the SAS Foundation, PTA and Booster Club raise S$1,000,000 or more annually.

The SAS Annual Fund provides resources for our teachers to go beyond the classroom—to provide our students with learning opportunities that illustrate in real life how to solve problems, assess complexity, and make caring, thoughtful decisions.

This year, we are pleased to launch the 2011-12 SAS Annual Fund—the sum of all gifts made to SAS. Our goal is to build on our current fund-raising efforts and to reach more SAS community members, including alumni.

The SAS Annual Fund provides financial support for academic, extracurricular, and athletic programs that complement classroom learning. Hands-on, experiential opportunities bring to life the skills, lessons, and values that are so important to our children’s development. In short, gifts from private fund-raising advance our public purpose, educating our children and connecting them to the community around us. In this way, every child gains a new and broader perspective on the world.



We need your help. Please join us with your support. If you would like to volunteer your time or make a gift to support the SAS Annual Fund, contact us. We’ll connect you to the SAS community. Make a gift to the SAS Annual Fund at Thank you. Michael K. Kingan Advancement Office, +65 6360 6303

Elementary World Language Program Mark R. Boyer Asst. Supt. for Learning


fter two years of study and review among SAS staff, parents, students, and the Board, the decision was made last spring to support a fiveday a week choice of language in Chinese or Spanish for grades K–5 in 2012–13. As SAS continues to benchmark with other leading schools in the world, we noted that the learning of a second language is increasingly becoming a core educational experience in preparing international students for success in the twenty-first century. We currently have students transferring from the U.S. with developed levels of language proficiency in Chinese and Spanish, as well as students transferring in from countries where it is expected that students speak more than one language. Further underpinning the decision to support a five-day a week elementary world language program is an understanding that: nn Developing a functional level of language proficiency in another language begins to define what is meant in the SAS mission of “an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective.” nn Students are most receptive to learning a language in the early years.

Mandarin Chinese has been the exclusive language offered in elementary school for the past 14 years. The review process reaffirmed the importance of Mandarin Chinese for the future of SAS students, particularly for those who may live and/or work in Asia. At the same time, we recognize that approximately a quarter of our students transition out of SAS on any given year with many of them returning to the United States. For students who may be at SAS short-term or who may live and/or work predominately in the United States, Spanish may be a good practical choice of language. Mandarin Chinese is now the fastest growing language in the United States, and Spanish is second. Other than English, the predominant language spoken in the U.S. is Spanish. A number of developments are already underway in preparation for this exciting opportunity for students, and there will be communication with our parent community (largely through the divisions) to assist in making a selection of Chinese or Spanish for your elementary child in 2012–13. For now, an important date to place on your schedule is a Parent Forum to better inform you about the elementary world language program and areas for your consideration in making the decision between Chinese or Spanish.      

K-5 Parent Forums If you are the parent of a child who will be in K-5 in 2012–13, we encourage you to attend one of the parent forums that will be held at the times listed below. Forums will be held in the elementary theater, and they will start and end on time. nn November 1, 9:30–10:30am nn November 1, 1:30–2:30pm nn November 2, 9:30–10:30am nn November 2, 7:00–8:00pm nn November 3, 9:30–10:30am nn November 3, 1:30–2:30pm

If you talk to a man in a language he

nn Deeply learning a language provides a doorway into understanding a culture and different perspectives.

understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela



Service Learning

At The Threshold

Roopa Dewan, SAS Service Learning Volunteer Coordinator and Retired Teacher

The Plan In 2009–10, after a year of meetings, service learning representatives from the four SAS divisions created a vision for service learning and a template for a three-year pilot plan for implementation. The group identified 2010–11 as the development year when teachers and areas of curriculum structure would be identified and a service learning volunteer coordinator would begin to build community partnerships. Eight standards for quality service learning were adapted from the National Youth Leadership Council: meaningful service, reflection, diversity, youth voice, partnerships, progress monitoring, link to curriculum, duration and intensity.


silent revolution is taking place—not only in politics, society, and education, but also in our school community. What is it? An approach to curriculum that combines experiential learning, character-building, problem solving and innovation with service in authentic, local contexts is gathering force and being distilled under the name of service learning. The catalysts for this change are Mark Boyer, assistant superintendent for learning, and an enthusiastic group of teacher pioneers in kindergarten through grade 8. They are infusing meaning and relevance to the curriculum while motivating students to be part of the larger Singaporean community. Within the high school, there are more than 45 established service clubs that are largely student-driven and focused on various global issues. What is service learning? What is service learning and how is it different from community service, volunteerism, and charitable donations? The singular difference is that service learning integrates into the curriculum so that students learn through engagement in service of people, the community and/or the environment. Students maintain regular and frequent contact with the recipient that is sustained over a sufficient duration of time to develop deep understanding of issues and to produce meaningful results. Service learning emphasizes an experiential approach to curriculum development and dissemination. It encourages students to engage with the community while providing authentic and meaningful contexts for expression and reflection. Community service often entails brief encounters to offer some kind of needed support for others, volunteerism is individually determined, and charitable donations involve fundraising for various causes. There is no hierarchy in any of these activities because all are essential in making a difference.



The Vision The vision of service learning at SAS is to redefine school as a real-life learning laboratory where the curriculum serves as a dynamic source of student inquiry and empowerment to creatively and critically address social and environmental issues in the school, community and world. Through continuous development of knowledge, skills and understandings for authentic and sustainable service, students will experience service as a purposeful and responsible way of life. The vision was aligned and closely linked to the SAS Desired Student Learning Outcomes of exemplary character with ability to work independently and collaboratively, critical and creative thinkers, engaged and responsible citizens, and effective communicators. This was also aligned and closely linked to the SAS Core Values of compassion, honesty, fairness, responsibility and respect. The initiation and implementation of service learning will be teacher-initiated and will grow organically from 2011 to 2014. The goal is for service learning to emerge as a cornerstone of education at SAS. 2010-11: The Pilot Year During the 2010–11 school year, projects were piloted in curricular areas of interest identified by volunteer teachers from kindergarten through eighth grade. The first semester was spent identifying curricular areas and partnerships in the community, and setting up the logistics. The second semester focused on implementation of the projects. You will read about the individual project reports in this issue of Crossroads. Needless to say, the enthusiasm and areas of inquiry and action on the part of teachers and students will shape the direction of service learning at SAS. Service learning is not an add-on to the curriculum. Instead, the intent is to develop deep understanding within areas of curriculum where experiential learning is essential. An example might be a study of poverty in a social studies unit. It is one thing to study poverty, but it is entirely a different matter to understand it by being Continued on page 7

Service Learning

Worldwide Water Crisis


uring the 2010–11 school year, the sixth graders of SAS were introduced to a new science service project. The purpose of this grand project was simply to make a difference in helping end the water crisis. For a month, students learned about the ongoing worldwide water crisis, about others making a difference, and about the lives of those who don’t have access to clean water. With inspiration, bright minds, and ideas, the students dove head-first into their projects. After three months of work, students presented their projects to their classmates and then enjoyed a number of fascinating speakers from the community: Jack Sim from the World Toilet Organization, Chris Wilson from Social Capital Venture, and Bhavani Prakash from It was so successful that many students enjoyed this project and learned the importance of service in a community. Many now know that even an individual like themselves can make their mark on a better world and environment. Finally, last but not least, we’d like to thank the sixth grade teachers of A and B sides, Mrs. Sandy Hill and Mr.

Elaine P. Grade 7 Student

Phillip Meehan, for organizing this long-term project. This project was an excellent opportunity for students to reach out to the public community to raise awareness and the results were astonishingly impressive.

Hope’s Project

I did a runathon to raise funds and a blog to spread awareness. The money that I raised is going to West Timor and Bali. In my blog, I included water facts and updates on my project. I raised $644, ran 80 kilometers, and got 500 views on my blog.

Shona and Megha’s Project

We went to three second grade classes and spoke about saving water. We also made a video and book about conserving water. I learned a lot from this project like how many people were suffering from lack of water and I learned that even the slightest donation can save a life. I was really happy with the results because we got the chance to talk to three younger classes, and the video and the book turned out really well. And the final thing I learned from this project—and probably the most important—is that anyone can make a difference!

Statistics from Sixth Grade Projects Money raised: $24,682 Posts: 3,099 Views: 4,138 Websites created: 35 Videos made: 36 Facebook likes: 135 Wells built: 30

At the Threshold continued from page 6

directly involved in understanding the issues around poverty and attempting to provide supportive actions. In this respect, students become better informed and active citizens in the world through increased project-based learning that makes a positive difference for others. Young people desire to be engaged and to contribute. Cognitive development of the individual relies not only on physical and mental interactions with the environment, but also on social interactions that help children gain a respect for tolerance and diversity, and to explore divergent ways of thinking and being. Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, writes about the new conceptual age that uses the left brain qualities of sequential analytical thought and the right brain qualities


of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning. He advises cultivating a new approach to life—one that prizes both high concept and high touch. High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. High touch involves the ability to empathise with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning. Service learning is best suited to harnessing and fostering this approach. Let us harness the idealism of youth and channel it into positive academic, social, and civic engagement.



Service Learning One Singapore, One Day continued from cover

included sharing favorite celebrations (Let’s Celebrate) and games (Let’s Play). The culmination of this project was a celebration at SAS where partners reflected on the information they had shared with each other by completing a Venn diagram identifying and comparing their similarities and differences. These activities enhanced the relevance of the curriculum as students interacted directly with various cultural groups within Singapore represented by the students of Fuchun Primary School. Additional first grade classes are planning to participate in this project for 2011-12. Teachers are excited about integrating and enhancing a variety of curricular areas and specialist classes as this project continues to develop. Service learning enables the building of social capital at a young age resulting in children who grow up to value and appreciate diversity, thereby fostering international friendship and harmony. Through the project One Singapore, One Day, first graders at Singapore American School have connected with other children from various ethnicities, had conversations about interests, celebrated festivals, and played games. This is just the start on the journey to enhance cross-cultural understanding. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” At Singapore American School, this change begins in first grade.

Interviewing FDWs Kurt Johnson Grade 7 Social Studies Teacher


o help students better understand and appreciate the economic diversity in our community, the seventh grade service learning project centered upon foreign domestic workers (FDWs) living and working in Singapore. To prepare for this project, students in social studies classes examined Singapore’s history, and specifically the chronology of events below: nn 1965: Singapore achieves independence from Malaysia. nn Singapore’s government promotes rapid industrialization. nn Because of this industrialization, women in Singapore increasingly join the workforce to meet the high demand for jobs. nn With Singaporean women working outside the home, the demand for domestic help spurs a government initiative—the Foreign Maid Scheme—that encourages several thousand women from lesser-developed Asian countries to become live-in domestic workers in Singapore.



nn There are now about 200,000 FDWs in Singapore, helping the country to continue high levels of economic productivity. Once the above background was provided, students had the option of either interviewing an FDW or researching the economic and social significance of migrant labor to a particular country. Using a provided assignment template, the final product was predominantly a biographical account of a particular FDW’s story. These were then posted on bulletin boards in the Middle School to celebrate the contributions the FDWs make to our community. Student responses to this experience were unanimously positive, as getting to know an FDW was both meaningful and insightful. Many students also indicated that the interviewed FDWs felt likewise about the significance of the project. Ultimately, seventh grade service learning will look to actively support the migrant population in Singapore, specifically FDWs, by partnering with local organizations such as H.O.M.E. (Humanitarian Organization of Migrant Economics) and TWC2 (Transient Workers Count Too).

A Buddy and a Book

Service Learning

Grade 3 Students and Maggie Mutsch, Grade 3 Teacher

This is it! All of that practicing was finally going to pay off. The bus, full of smiling third graders, pulled up with a screech in front of the school. Chattering like squirrels we poured out. Slowly up the magical staircase toward the library we walked, thoughts buzzing in our heads of how would today go? We all held folders full of exciting books, happy poems, and fun games to share with our buddies. We turned the corner and there they were, waiting for us, ready to go—our buddies. After days of practice we were still shaking with excitement and nervousness at the same time. “Okay,” we said to ourselves, “It’s time!” Making a difference is something we all love doing. How did we do that? As part of Mrs. Mutsch’s and Mrs. Dodge’s third grade classes, we took turns every other Friday for ten weeks preparing books, poems, and games to inspire young readers. This all came about as part of our service learning curriculum at Singapore American School. We owe a big thank you to the National Library Board of Singapore for allowing us to be a part of their spectacular


collaboration with the People’s Association and five selfhelp groups. Their goal is to promote a love of reading and cultivate good reading habits among all young Singaporeans. Through their help and the help of Dr. Roopa Dewan, K-8 volunteer service learning coordinator and former SAS teacher, and Louise Perdana, director of curriculum, we connected with twenty-five young readers from Innova Primary School right in our neighborhood. Each week a performance was planned by a small group to introduce our book or author. When the performers called out, “Now go read with your buddies!” we would all find a good spot to read. Each week, as we prepared, we had to make decisions on what we thought was best to help our buddies grow as readers. Sometimes we chose easier or harder books, asked our buddies to retell the story, gave our buddies some choices, or helped our buddies with unknown words by chunking or breaking the words up for them. When it was time to go, saying goodbye was always difficult. As we left, we heard happy voices echoing down the hall.



Service Learning

Our Own Great Ocean Rescue Grade 4 Students and Kathryn Cullen, Grade 4 Teacher


n social studies we’d been involved in The Great Ocean Rescue, a simulation identifying and solving problems in the ocean. We’d researched organizations that were trying to help solve the problems, but kept wondering what about us? What could WE do about all these problems in the ocean? We are fourth graders, after all! Well, it turns out there’s quite a bit we can do. The brainstorming began. We started our service learning unit by identifying problems in the ocean that bugged us the most. We asked questions about them and looked for answers by researching on the internet. Next, we created possible action plans with reasons why we thought we should do something about these problems. Some suggested projects were: to raise endangered fish and release them into the ocean, eat the least endangered fish, or pick up trash on a beach so it didn’t end up in the ocean to harm or even kill animals. By a majority vote, we decided to pick up trash on a beach, and this started our own great ocean rescue. To start, we split into six committees. The How, Where, When, Transportation, Parents, and Materials Needed committees brainstormed suggestions based on their research and brought their best ideas back to the whole class. For example, the How committee wrestled with rules we would need while off campus and wrote a behavior contract; Where checked different parks’ websites to see who needed us the most; When planned possible dates checking the SAS school calendar for potential conflicts; Transportation investigated MRT and bus routes; Materials Needed listed gloves and tongs; and the Parent Committee wrote a permission slip. The students planned everything and loved doing it. Again by a majority vote, we decided to go to Sembawang Park to pick up trash on Monday, May 9, 2011.



Twenty-two students and six adults went to the coast side park at 8:15 a.m. on that sunny, hot morning. We earch carried some plastic gloves, tongs, and two reused grocery bags. We established the boundaries, synchronized our watches, and started picking up trash. We found bottles, straws, styrofoam, shoes, food packaging, pieces of glass, and even a huge, torn, plastic tarp right on the shore. We estimate we filled 50-60 groceries bags with human litter. We left Sembawang Park sweaty, hot and very proud. After we got back to school that steamy afternoon, I asked my students what was the highlight of their day. This is what they said: nn Not giving up even though it was hot nn Having fun with friends while helping the environment nn Seeing fisherman catch fish nn Finding odd and interesting things nn Being able to do something really fun without teacher instructions nn Having everybody around you if you needed help nn Picking up the trash itself nn Us being in charge What stood out for me on this journey through service learning was how enthusiastic and engaged my students were during the entire process. The students of i219 were 150% involved and always willing and eager to figure out a way to solve any problem that arose. This action project full of purpose was student driven and showed all of us just how capable fourth graders are.

Service Learning

Planting the Seed Robyn Schwarz Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten is the perfect time to introduce service learning. The world seems small when you are a kindergartener. Learning about the needs of others is an important lesson in developing the capacity to understand and help others. Our service learning project focused on assisting the people at the Adventist Rehabilitation Center (ARC) at Marsiling. They are frequently elderly and in need of rehabilitation, and the need for attention and support is very important. Our project benefited both our students and the clients at the ARC. The ten SAS kindergarten classes would visit the center a minimum of once per quarter providing hands-on, practical activities to assist in the rehabilitation of each client. ARC provides rehabilitation programs for stroke victims of all ages. SAS has been involved with the ARC through community service since 1999, and the association has strengthened over the years. The kindergarten students participated in experiences that were age and developmentally appropriate, and that were also beneficial to the clients at ARC. We connected curriculum goals to meet these local community needs. Curriculum integration included RLA, math, social studies with links to family and celebrations, and Chinese through songs and language. Arts and crafts were incorporated as well as music, drama, and movement. Students also deepened their understanding and practices related to the SAS Core Values of respect, responsibility, compassion, honesty and fairness. Our Goals for Students nn Experience success at all levels of ability nn Integrate learning outcomes, social growth, and personal abilities to meet needs at ARC


nn Gain a deeper understanding of people with different needs and disabilities Initially some hesitation existed for the children in working with the people at the ARC. However, with pre-learning experiences, one of which was sharing the story “First one foot, then the other” by Tomi De Palo, the children gained an understanding of the effects of a stroke and what was needed to help the individuals with rehabilitation programs. Many benefits existed for both the children and the people they were assisting with physical disabilities. Our commitment to the ARC has enabled the children to appreciate the needs of others and to realize they can help. Watching their interactions has provided me with some of my most rewarding experiences as a teacher. We can all make a difference, and it is a privilege to be part of it.

            Upcoming SACAC Workshops 2011   Helping Young Children Positive Discipline for with Their Worries Teenagers Date: Time: Cost:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:30 – 11:30am $80 SACAC member / $95 non-member

SACAC Counselling offers psychological and counselling for a broad range of issues including adjustment, anxiety, depression, child/adolescent issues, parenting and relationship issues.

Date: Time: Cost:

Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:00 – 9:00pm $80 SACAC member / $95 non-member

Raising Happy and Optimistic Children Date: Time: Cost:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:30 – 11:30am $80 SACAC member / $95 non-member

For more information or to register for a workshop contact SACAC Counselling 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 Tel: 6733 9249 - E-mail: - Web:




Service Learning

Building Bridges to High School Christopher Strance Grade 8 Social Studies Teacher


e are very excited to continue with amazing options from which eighth graders may select for their servicelearning projects. As in years past, students can select from several international experiences, to stay right here in Woodlands or Singapore to serve the local community, or to design a project of their own that reflects a personal interest, culture or passion. Whether your child is inspired by serving the needs of people, the environment, or as an animal rights advocate, choices are aplenty, and expectations are high.


Students will be expected to follow a research-based process throughout their service learning experience, and frequently reflect upon each stage of that process. The process encompasses five stages: investigation and research, planning and preparations, action, reflection and looking ahead. Students will have the opportunity to track the progress of their projects on a website that they will design in social studies class. This helps guide students through the steps of their service learning experience while creating an electronic portfolio that showcases their growth and


accomplishments throughout the school year. It represents a living document of their learning. Finally, students will present their accomplishments at the end of the school year during their service learning celebration. The eighth grade service program is a wonderful opportunity for these future young adults to flex their independence and to develop a stronger sense of identity and empathy. For more information, check out the Grade 8 Service Learning website at: Grade8ServiceOptions.

Service Learning

Second Graders Give from the Heart Sarah Farris and Pearl Morris Grade 2 Teachers


econd grade students learned that they CAN make a difference in their community. With 100% participation by all second grade teachers and students, this service learning project was a yearlong project incorporating all areas of the curriculum and culminating in a fund-raising walk-a-thon to support Food from the Heart, a locally-based organization. Food from the Heart (FFTH) is an organization that helps families in Singapore who lack the resources to meet their food and nutritional needs. Our goal was to incorporate a FFTH service learning activity into the curriculum each month. Among various activities, students learned about healthy food and what families need in order to meet their basic needs. In February 2011, we gave gifts from the heart. FFTH identified 26 needy families, and we decided to prepare heart baskets filled with food. We discussed needs versus wants, what types of foods Singaporeans eat, and compared food prices. Next, students went on a field trip to a local grocery store. Each second grader was given five dollars. Equipped with this money, students worked on math skills such as making change, estimating, adding, and comparing numbers to purchase foods for their baskets. Students put together the baskets and wrote letters to each of the families. The second grade team delivered the heart baskets to Seng Kang Primary School and made meaningful connections with the families.


Preparations for our annual walk-a-thon were next. We discussed why we were fund-raising, how to write a persuasive letter for prospective sponsors, and how to calculate monies raised. Our walk-a-thon was a fantastic success and we raised a total of S$47,000. All of the donated money goes straight to Food from the Heart. Here’s how the money will be distributed: nn A monthly food hamper will be distributed to 50 needy families from Seng Kang Primary School. The food hamper is valued at S$55 and includes food staples to help families eat healthily for a month. nn 25 of these 50 families from Seng Kang Primary School received a “heart” food basket from our Grade 2 students in February. nn A monthly food hamper will be distributed to 25 needy families from Evergreen Primary School. Evergreen Primary School is located in the Woodlands neighborhood. nn Our goal was to raise enough money to sponsor 50 families, but we found that we can sponsor and support 75 families! This year, second grade students proved that they can make a difference in their community. One student commented, “We did this to help you and you helped us. We all felt really good inside because we were doing a good deed.”    SINGAPORE AMERICAN SCHOOL    Crossroads


Milestone for Aiding China


iding China celebrates a milestone as it obtains its first-ever corporate sponsorship; not from one company, but from four: Lenovo, Intel, PLDS, and Seagate. The sponsorships awarded $50,000 to Aiding China along with 25 PCs and 18 laptops, joining the effort to help students and schools in underprivileged regions of China. Aiding China was formed in response to the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, where four million people were displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands killed—many of them school children. We helped a rural school in Sichuan, San Lang Primary School, to rebuild, and we made two service trips in 2008 and 2009 to help the school. Members reflected that it was an amazing experience to provide a sense of hope by helping a school directly and interacting with students hands-on. What began as five students wanting to make a difference has now grown to 62 students. Cup-o-noodles are signature fundraising dishes sold by Aiding China volunteers during lunch to raise money. The corporate sponsorships of $50,000 equate to selling 25,000 cupo-noodles, or having the entire SAS high school student body eat cupo-noodles for lunch for 21 grueling days. So, thanks to our corporate sponsors, we very much appreciate your help!


Immediately following the end of the second semester, Mrs. Ellen White and Mrs. Hilda Huang led a group of 25 students to Meizhou, China to deliver the donation proceeds and to teach English to several classes through games and activities at a handicapped and orphanage school, a communal farming school, and a local primary school. Meizhou is one of the poorer regions in China, with a GDP of 12,000RMB or about S$200 per capita per month. A portion of the corporate sponsorships will go toward getting school desks, chairs, and supplies for the students and will also pay for the boarding and schooling of disabled and orphaned children. However, such a feat comes with a great deal of work. The process that gave Aiding China such success can be broken down into five steps. First, start early. In October 2010, contact with the prospective companies was made and we inquired if they were willing to support our cause. A set of Powerpoint slides and documents was developed that clearly outlined the objectives, track record, accomplishments, current project in the works, and how sponsorships will translate into the types of aid that are most needed. Second, meet with the potential corporate sponsors. Mr. Gerry Smith, senior vice president of Lenovo, was instrumental in promoting Aiding China to other potential companies. This was a great fit as Lenovo is a Chinese company. Joint discussions


Kevin Wang Grade 11 Student

with him greatly illustrated how sponsorships could be used. Third, you must have patience. After submitting the proposal we waited, but we were also standing by, answering further inquiries from the prospective sponsors. After three months, we were notified that we had secured sponsorship. Fourth, follow through with materials. Having a guaranteed corporate sponsorship, it was imperative to carefully plan out logistics, donation allocation, and recognition of the sponsors. A conference call ensued with the corporate sponsors, in which sponsor Mr. Roy Tomlinson and club vice president Kevin Wang took part, as we finalized all the arrangements. The fifth step, and the most important and rewarding, is implementation. Upon reflection, it was an honor and privilege to have the mentorship of the sponsors, the dedication of the club members, and the support of the corporate sponsors to help reach a new milestone for Aiding China. Propelling everyone toward a common goal culmiinated in helping more children in need than in any previous year. To start with a single meeting, and subsequently be able to fully carry out a service goal may seem far-fetched. However, with drive and motivation, the rewarding feeling of helping others feels like scaling a summit and standing on top of the world.

SAS Donates Computers to Philippines Trevor Sturgeon HS Counseling


ast school year, Singapore American School donated 150 computers, monitors and keyboards to Stairway Foundation, Inc. and to public schools to help promote the rights of children in the Philippines and to provide a valuable resource for their learning. Located in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro (southwest of the national capital Manila), Stairway Foundation has been working for more than 20 years to promote and protect the rights of children in the Philippines and neighboring Asian countries. Through their residential program, they provide educational services, health care, and shelter for street children who are referred by partner organizations in Manila. Their community assistance program provides educational scholarships to local students and extends help to the indigenous people of Mangyans. Through their advocacy program they reach out to individuals, groups, and organizations to promote children’s rights. Their training team conducts sessions on child rights and child sexual abuse prevention for social services organizations and agencies nationwide and internationally. This year, they started their “Break the Silence” campaign which assists organizations in becoming resource centers for the prevention of child sexual abuse and develops them into a national network of organizations actively working for such a worthwhile cause. The SAS donation of computers provides the technological resources to Stairway and also to partner organizations from government and private sectors. Based on need, Stairway has shared SAS-donated computers with the Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Desks and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Selected schools, local social welfare offices, and local health offices in Mindoro also benefitted. Stairway’s

partner universities in Manila received their share.

their respective communities have been enriched.

The SAS computer contribution benefited three fifth-class municipalities—Del Carmen, Surigao Del Norte, and Sagada and Besao in the Mountain Province. Forty-five computers were shipped to Del Carmen on Siargao Island. Under the leadership of its dynamic and competent Mayor Alfredo M. Coro III, Del Carmen offers quality education to residents from the primary level to the tertiary level. In line with this goal, Del Carmen, in partnership with Synergeia Foundation, Inc., recently launched an educational reform initiative to improve and develop basic education. According to Mayor Coro, the computers from SAS helped jumpstart this educational initiative as Del Carmen used them to “leverage the start of the collaboration/synergy with Synergeia on education reform.” The computers will be instrumental in ensuring the success of the educational initiative. Fifteen computers from SAS will find homes in the new public libraries of Sagada and Besao. The computers will be a welcome and very useful resource for expanding the horizons of students in these areas.

This donation of computers was not without its bureaucratic challenges and was made possible only due to the collaboration of several partners. Stairway Foundation was instrumental, and much credit goes to Mina Herrera, a lawyer in the Philippines, and Mr. Tong Santos from Equiglobal Logistics Corporation, for unraveling many of the legal procedures and processes for the importation of donations into the Philippines. The SAS High School Stairway Foundation Club contributed the necessary funds for the packing of the computers, while Santa Logistics Pte. Ltd. provided us with a discounted, at-cost charge for the packing. Duane Melsom was instrumental in getting this project going by meeting with Lars Jorgensen, Stairway Foundation Director, during the group’s visit to SAS last October.

The municipalities of Del Carmen, Sagada and Besao are all very grateful for the contribution of computers and have extended an open invitation to SAS students, faculty and staff to visit and appreciate how


The SAS partnership with Stairway began following an Interim Semester trip to the organization two years ago. Out of this experience grew a club by the same name in the High School that works in promoting and raising funds to help Stairway advance its cause. Singapore American School looks forward to our continued partnership with Stairway Foundation and schools in the Philippines. A small effort on our behalf can change the lives of many.



Global Giving Ron Starker MS Librarian


n 1996 a new club called Hands Across Asia was founded by SAS high school student Marissa Robertson. Marissa’s idea was to take educational materials that are discarded by SAS and donate them to students in less fortunate countries. After Marissa graduated, Hands Across Asia merged with the Global Giving Club, a group established by high school English teacher Roopa Dewan that had a similar mission. The present club is sponsored by high school teachers Mark Guggisberg and Erik Torjesen, and the club presidents are Hannah Guggisberg and Taylor Baildon. Over the past fifteen years, the Global Giving Club has sent an average of 150 boxes of donated items each year to schools in India, Afghanistan, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa and Singapore. Last year SAS removed more than 3,500 video tapes from our Television Distribution Center (TDC). The older videos were replaced with the Safari Montage Video system which contains more than 5,000 online videos that are updated each year. Our discarded videotapes were sent to Brent Schools in the Philippines, where students and administrators took the tapes to the City of Binan. According to Fr. Benjamin Jance, the registrar and chaplain at Brent International School Manila, “There are 40,000 students in 27 elementary schools and seven public high schools in the district. The city government together with the Binan public school officials and the



PTA worked hard to obtain and setup VHS players and TV monitors in the schools to accompany the donation of video tapes by the Singapore American School.” They also created a new library in Binan as a central distribution point for the schools. This year the Global Giving Club shipped more than 150 boxes of books and school supplies to schools in Tanzania. Transporting items is costly and obtaining cheap or free transport is a key feature in creating a successful donation program. The Global Giving Club paid for the shipping costs by raising funds at the SAS International Food Festival. Below is one of the emails that Global Giving received after the Tanzania shipment. “On behalf of the school board, the pupils, the parents and the Mlimba community as a whole including our neighboring schools, we thank you very much for the assistance and kindness in providing these much needed and expensive books for our community. We do not have the words to fully express our appreciation. The only thing I can promise you is that we will make good use of the items. We shall strive to keep them in good condition for a long time to be used by our community. As our school is located in a small town in an isolated area, we have decided to build a library so that our neighboring schools both secondary and primary can have the opportunity to use the books. I would also like to use this opportunity to ask you to extend our appreciation to all who by one way or another spent their time and money to make sure we receive the books. To you these are used books but to us these are New Books.” Thank you, Pacific Mtwango, Papango School Director

Passion for Service


uring 2010–11, three SAS students caught the passion for service and directly impacted the lives of hundreds of children in Bihar, India. In the spring of 2011, Sangitha Aiyer, then in first grade, dedicated her birthday to helping disadvantaged children enjoy the gift of books. Along with her bowling party invitation came the request to forego personal gifts in lieu of a donation to FreeSchools World Literacy Mobile Library fund. As a result, Sangitha donated nearly $600 to FreeSchools. Sangitha’s generosity and desire to help the less fortunate purchased the

Geri Johnson Director of ECC

first 500 story books written in Hindi for the FreeSchools Mobile Library. Hayley Sparrow and Mitali Mathur, then eighth grade students, adopted FreeSchools World Literacy-USA for their yearlong school service project. Through their creative and dedicated efforts, they donated nearly $3,000 to FreeSchools World Literacy-USA. FreeSchools World Literacy, a registered charity with the mission of ending the cycle of poverty and ignorance by empowering women and children with a free education, operates 85 schools in India, Thailand and Bangladesh. FreeSchools-USA concentrates on the 50 programs in the slums and villages of Bihar, India. Hayley and Mitali researched issues of illiteracy and the cycle of poverty that keeps people vulnerable to hunger, ill heath, poor nutrition, depression, violence, discrimination, and human trafficking. They became familiar with the statistics on poverty and illiteracy and the impact that education has on changing this cycle. During the eight month service project, Mitali and Hayley created

numerous opportunities to articulate these issues and the benefits of education on the young lives of the FreeSchool students. At their fundraising events, they spoke to groups of all ages and sizes, from individuals to an audience of 150. Presently, the Bihari FreeSchool students learn to read from words and sentences written on a blackboard or hand-copied into their notebooks and from pre-primer readers. Few, if any, of the 2,000 or more students have ever held a book or beheld the wonders in a book. The efforts of Hayley and Mitali resulted in sponsoring an entire school for a year, providing scholarships for two girls to a residential standard school and purchasing 300 books for the mobile library. Sangitha, Hayley and Mitali helped to create an opportunity for learning for girls and boys in a society where poverty and ignorance seemed to be their destiny. In the process, these SAS students experienced the satisfaction of making a difference in this world. Their lives have equally, though differently, been altered.

Running to Remember Lisette Roy-Filice Grade 6 Resource Teacher


n the sunny Friday morning of April 8, one thousand middle school students and faculty came together to run in memory of a friend, colleague, and former teacher. Mrs. Gerri Hickman was a foods and nutrition teacher in the SAS Middle School for eight years, four of which were spent battling breast cancer. In April 2005, Mrs. Hickman lost her battle with cancer and since that time the middle school has come together each year to honor her memory and raise awareness for the fight against cancer. As in years past, Mr. Joe Hickman

and his son JR attended the run to pay tribute to his wife’s memory and act as the official starter. Mr. Hickman reminded all students and faculty to tell their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends to see their doctors yearly for early screening checks. Prior to this message, Mr. Cuthbert led all students in a dynamic warm-up; students in pink tops and aprons lined up by grade level and waited for the official start signal. Our eighth graders led the way around the two kilometer course and were cheered on and joined by faculty and parents. In homebase classes each student completed an “I’m running for…” poster as a visual reminder that virtually every one of us has been


touched by cancer. Many students noted that they were “running for a cure” to help us remember that continued awareness is needed. In the week after the run, cooking students baked and sold apple pockets to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation. Together with a donation from Mr. Hickman, the SAS Middle School donated $850.



Dr. Jane’s Visit to Singapore


r. Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist and humanitarian, arrived in Singapore with unbounded enthusiasm to partake in five days of Singapore activity. Focused on raising public consciousness in nature conservation, especially with the youth, the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS) generated goal-oriented activities for Dr. Jane’s most recent visit to the island. The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global non-profit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. In Singapore, we aim to inspire and enable the country’s next generation of environmental leaders through youth education and development, primate conservation, and thought leadership. Dr. Jane arrived for the screening of her new film, Jane’s Journey, which chronicles her personal evolution to become an iconic activistand environmentalist. That same evening, Dr. Jane was guest of honor at a gala dinner that members of the SAVE club Roots & Shoots (R&S) supported by purchasing tables and attending. The following morning Dr. Jane attended the Green Living Carnival @ North West, an event attended by more than 600 participants, and then she spoke at the Forest Fiesta. She also participated in a private discussion with Nanyang Technology University Center for Leadership & Cultural Intelligence and met with Singapore policy makers to share sustainable development initiatives and policies from around the world. The NUS Law Faculty hosted her to speak with over twenty researchers from a variety of local institutions. Furthermore, Dr. Jane spoke at the Singapore International Foundation Forum. This year marks Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots 20th Anniversary. In celebration, Dr. Jane was invited to the Wallace Environmental Learning Lab (WELL) in Dairy Farm Nature Park to meet with nearly one hundred Roots & Shoots students. Dr. Jane spoke on the topic “Brain of a Scientist, Heart of a Poet.” SAS alumna Kerry Remson spoke on behalf of all SAS SAVE, ECO and R&S students island-wide on her personal journey as a young environmentalist. We planted a nutmeg tree with Dr. Jane and shared a Roots & Shoots birthday cake together. At Singapore American School, we nurture youth leaders through the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots program, a global JGI initiative that allows young people create positive change for people, animals and the environment. In Singapore, there are more than 650 participants in schools and various organizations. The R&S groups work to identify and address community, ecological and environmental issues. For example, at SAS the high school Students Against Violation of the Environment (SAVE) and middle school ECO Roots & Shoots clubs have created Pulau Ubin’s Sensory Trail for the blind and conduct monthly walks. Activities such



Martha Began HS Science Teacher

as the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS), campus recycling, compost making, and crown-of-thorns cleanup dives in Tioman, Malaysia are also facilitated by R&S student volunteers. In the future, JGIS plans to develop and implement service learning curriculum in schools, offer workshops to help R&S groups manage projects, create annual forums to nurture environmental literacy, and provide Young Environmental Leader Grants to send youth leaders overseas. Long-tail macaques have been a regular sight at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir; it’s important to conserve them and eliminate human-primate conflicts. JGIS has been working with National Parks to educate people about macaques. In addition, as part of JGIS’ efforts, researchers received grants from the Primates Research Initiative. How does JGIS pay for all of this? The answer: generous grants, donations and fundraising. During Dr. Jane’s visit to Singapore, JGIS arranged for Dr. Jane to talk to the younger generation involved in the UBS Wealth Management Program. Now into its ninth year in Asia, the program is exclusively tailored for young, upcoming entrepreneurs undergoing their university education or just starting on a career path. Topics such as leadership, personal development skills and philanthropy are included in the program. In talking to this group, Dr. Jane helped secure future funding for JGIS.

Girl Scouts in Papua New Guinea Lael Stanczak Member, USA Girl Scouts Overseas Singapore Gold Award Committee


school year is a finite and discrete period of time, August to June at Singapore American School. But for two high school students their education will last long beyond those nine months. A combination of determination, drive, and serendipity led Emma O’Connell and Elizabeth Creech down a long path that provided them with an educational experience beyond any classroom boundaries. Their service project, which culminated in the girls earning the Gold Award (which is the highest earned honor in Girl Scouts) illustrates perfectly how often education is a two way street. A high school service club called Growing A Future Organization (GAFO) started last fall at SAS with the mission of helping an underfunded school by creating a lasting relationship and bond between that school and the student members of the club. Emma and Elizabeth—along with fellow GAFO officers Maya Kale and Tamsin Howard, student club members, and faculty club sponsor Jason Adkison—went to work swiftly moving the club into the big leagues. “We started [GAFO at SAS] because we wanted to offer something different,” offers Elizabeth. “We wanted a club that looked at the long term difference we could make.” Listening to the girls talk about their experiences in Papua New Guinea and their journey to the Gold Award it becomes overwhelmingly clear how much Emma and Elizabeth benefitted and learned from their experiences. The journey to St. Paul’s was arduous both in the physical toll of flying 10 hours, staying in a humble missionary home and riding for hours in the back of a flat bed truck with only a tarp for cover from the rain, and also from the demanding mental challenges as well. The girls faced a steep learning curve of starting and organizing a service

club, fund-raising, learning all about international shipping logistics, and working part-time to pay for airfare while juggling the demands of their junior school year. Through Emma’s third-culture contacts, the girls were put in touch with Todd Luedtke, headmaster of St. Paul’s Secondary School in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. After many email conversations and careful consideration, St. Paul’s was chosen as the focus of GAFO. Elizabeth was “so excited that our club would be working with a school in a country that most kids have not been to and is so rich with a unique culture. No other club at [SAS] works with Papua New Guinea. We then knew we couldn’t help the school unless we knew firsthand what they needed so we decided to visit the school.” Emma and Elizabeth’s October 2010 trip to Papua New Guinea cemented their resolve. Going beyond the traditional supplies drive, the girls identified their own personal contributions to bring back to Papua New Guinea in June. Emma chose to facilitate the creation of a friendship wall where “students at St. Paul’s will have the opportunity to express their hidden artistic talents.” Inspired by a single student leading songs of worship for the whole school with a guitar missing a string, Elizabeth found that the “students had the talent, the passion, and the drive to make a music program successful if they were given the resources. I wanted to help make their dream a reality so they could share their passion for music with others.” Through great fundraisers, including hosting a flag football tournament, the club raised an amazing $11,400 throughout the year. Cards decorated with artwork from St. Paul’s students were sold, donated used textbooks from all grade levels benefited not only St. Paul’s but other area schools as well, and the girls and GAFO managed to procure rehabbed computers. Elizabeth collected and cleaned musical instruments donated through her Gold Award project


music program along with supplies to maintain the instruments and music books for the first three levels of instruction. Emma wrangled art supplies, money for locally-sourced supplies, and planning advice to ensure all of her project time in Papua New Guinea was spent with the students creating their friendship wall mural as her Gold Award project. All of the work—the fundraising, the organizing, the planning and coordination of volunteers in two countries, and the daunting logistics of sending a fully loaded container across the equator—was fully realized once Emma and Elizabeth arrived in Papua New Guinea. So excited about these girls arriving from Singapore to work with their school, Mr. Luedtke and Governor Peter Ipatas of Enga Province arranged a cultural convention called a ‘sing sing’ that drew families and villagers from far and wide. More than a few participants donned native dress for the first time in their lives. The students of St. Paul’s school and many of those in Enga province gained much from this first cultural exchange. However, this club, project, trip, and overall journey provided an amazing opportunity for a lifetime of memories for Emma and Elizabeth. At USA Girl Scouts, we congratulate Emma and Elizabeth on successfully earning their Gold Awards and applaud Maya and Tamsin on shepherding GAFO through a wildly successful first year as a club. It has been a wonderful learning experience for me to work with Emma and Elizabeth on their Gold Award process and one that I will cherish. Through the blind faith of youth and that infinite passion and optimism that I witnessed in meeting with Emma and Elizabeth, my mind stretched to new dimensions and it is my fervent hope that it never tries to revert to its original shape again. For more information about Girl Scouts in Singapore visit



Corbin Earns Rank of Eagle Scout Matthew Rowe Grade 8 Student

others. He also really enjoys being outdoors, and being in Scouts has helped him to appreciate this. One of the greatest challenges was earning some of the ranks and having friends move away from Singapore. He feels that Scouting builds character and would definitely recommend it to others. Scouting has made a huge difference in his life and has helped shaped him into the person he is today. He feels that by earning the rank of Eagle, he has accomplished something special. This rank is considered a great honor because the Eagle Scout rank is earned by only 5% of all boys who join Boy Scouts.


ingapore Boy Scout Troop 07 is proud to help shape young men into future leaders. At the March 15, 2011 Court of Honor, Corbin Weber was recognized for having achieved the greatest rank in scouting, Eagle Scout. Corbin Weber moved to Singapore when he was nine years old and joined Cub Scouts in 2004. Corbin graduated from Singapore American School last year and is now attending college in the US. Corbin says that some of the highlights of being a Scout have been making friends, going on great campouts, learning many new things and helping

Studio Art


hen we, the high school studio art classes, were first informed that we were to be working with a Pre-K class to make tissue paper insects, we were excited. So much so that we squealed with joy like our Pre-K counterparts. When we first met them, the majority of the Pre-K students were too shy to reply when we asked questions. Of course, there were a few serious exceptions to that. After less than half an hour the entire room was filled with laughter and smiles. Some people were singing and others were eying the brownies and cookies in store for us later. We all joined in for a very loud rendition of “Head, Thorax, Abdomen,


Corbin’s Eagle Scout project involved helping a school in Kao Yao Noi, an island in Phuket, Thailand. He helped plan the project by organizing scouts, parents and local residents to carry out several projects that improved the school. These types of community service projects are part of what a Scout does. Talking with Corbin and sharing his experiences has encouraged me to continue on with Scouting and I look forward to earning the rank of Eagle. Boy Scout Troop 07 congratulates Corbin on earning his Eagle Scout and wishes him the best as he moves on to college and the new adventures that are ahead.

By Emily Hall and Isabelle Smith Grade 9 Students

Abdomen.” Every child created a piece of art that they were proud of and couldn’t stop talking about. We had made new friends! Following that class many of our Pre-K buddies began approaching us in the hallways to talk to us, or asking Ms. Harvey where we were. It was adorable. We had another chance to hang out with our Pre-K buddies when their parents came to the opening of their insect exhibition. We were all excited to see each other again (as well as to eat Ms. Harvey’s worldfamous cheesecake brownies). We had one Pre-K student, Finn, and his big buddy, Willow, cut the ribbon and open the gallery. It was great to


see the Pre-K students so excited to explain to their parents all about their insects. All of the parents were proud of their children and wanted pictures of their kids and their big buddies. Overall it was a super-duper fun experience and we hope that the art class continues this tradition. Additional artwork on the back cover.

Perceptual Motor and Chinese Language Kris Ang, Ying Chu, Patrick Goh and Shuna Sun Primary School Chinese Language Teachers


n 2005, the Early Childhood Center (ECC) of Singapore American School started a unique program on Fridays. Perceptual Motor (PM) and Chinese were integrated once a week, and the 25 minutes class was co-taught by a PM teacher and a Chinese teacher. Although initially skeptical, the teachers from different trainings started this co-teaching program with the expectation to succeed. As time went by, the outcome was 3- and 4-year-olds singing Chinese songs in the hallway, excited parents telling the teachers that their children counted 1, 2, 3 in Chinese before jumping into the pool, and young children running to their Chinese teachers and hugging them dearly. Most early childhood professionals and parents are nowadays fully aware of the cognitive benefits of movement. Music, rhymes, plays, and movement facilitate language acquisition. Children like to act out fairy tales, tap into the rhythms of language by clapping, stamping, stepping and moving, all of which research has shown to increase a child’s comprehension and help recall the order of events. As Rae Pica says, movement is young children’s preferred mode of learning. Many theories have developed on the impact of movement on second language acquisition. Research shows connections between children’s synaptic development, movements, and second language acquisition. Applying more sensory experience in learning can make the second language more meaningful and relevant to young children. Besides, it is simply fun! When the class is fun, the children will pay more attention and the learning becomes more enjoyable. Even when a second language is used during instructions, the children do not realize they are acquiring the language. When all the children do the same movements and say the same words together at the same time, they feel safe and have a sense of belonging, which in turn builds their interest and motivation in their language acquisition. These positive

SAS Library Resources Wondering how to check out materials from the SAS libraries? Here is some useful information that will help you. The 2011–12 Singapore American School Library Handbook is available exclusively online and can be accessed from the library

elements facilitate the teacher and student relationship. It was amazing that the Chinese teachers also become dear ones at ECC. Among the theories and approaches in second language acquisition, TPR (Total Physical Response) stands out. In the 1970s, Dr James Asher developed TPR, which linked physical movement with second language acquisition. The integration of PM and Chinese at ECC echo this approach and they share similar philosophies, theories and techniques. This creative integration program at ECC was proposed by Ms. Geri Johnson, SAS deputy principal. Seeing the results of ECC children’s rapid Chinese acquisition, many parents have been asking whether this can be implemented in Primary School. The good news is that SAS has decided to implement this program with kindergarten students beginning in the second quarter this year as a pilot and exploratory program. If the integration of PM and Chinese in kindergarten is successful, there is the possibility that it will become part of the kindergarten Chinese curriculum next year. The PM and Chinese teachers in Primary School embrace this program and have started preparing with the full support from David Hoss, Primary School principal, and Dr. Susan Zhang, SAS director of Chinese language. Geoff Rodocker, the pioneer teacher of the integration program at ECC, opened his door and shared his precious knowledge and experience of this program. The PM and Chinese teachers have had regular meetings to co-plan and to observe Mr. Rodocker’s classes. They are confident and ready to implement the program with kindergarteners. The integration of PM and Chinese language at the ECC has been extremely successful. The program allows more opportunities for students to interact with Chinese teachers, reinforces their vocabularies, enhances Chinese language comprehension and retention, and helps students acquire Chinese in a natural way. When Chinese language is integrated in a PM class, the second language acquisition becomes more fun and an indispensable part of the children’s lives.

webpages in each division. You can locate contact numbers, library policies, services, periodical holdings, database information, eResources, and PTA visiting author information. In addition, printed bookmarks with valuable information on how to access our electronic resources are available in each library. These documents have everything you’ll need to navigate through all of the SAS libraries. Check us out on the SAS website.


Singapore Am

erican School Library Handboo k 2011-2012



Primary School

High School Middle School



Language, History and Culture in China Vivian Lin MS Chinese Teacher


nlike most students who go straight home to visit family and friends over their summer holiday, the students who attend the historical and cultural trip to Beijing and Xian are offered a unique opportunity to enhance and apply their Chinese language skills in a Chinese-speaking world. The ten-day journey opens a new world of language, history, and cultural learning experiences. A typical day begins with classes at the Gu Cheng Secondary School in Beijing. In the afternoon the students visit important cultural and historical sites, taste authentic Chinese food, and watch traditional Chinese performances. The trip ends in Xian, an ancient city with thousands of years of rich Chinese history. As a Chinese language teacher, it is the highlight of my year to witness students who are taking risks by speaking to local people and practicing their Chinese in real life situations. Most of them mentioned this was one of the most unforgettable school trips that they have ever had.

charade-like situations, but overall it definitely helped enhance our conversational skills. In Singapore, only a select few among us can practice Chinese at home, so we jumped at the opportunity to apply the language in a real-life situation. At the school, our knowledge of Chinese culture was also put to the test. Some students attended geography and math classes, while others saw the beauty of music and art expressed in Chinese. We also managed to learn about the interesting activities local students perform during physical education as we were presented with the challenge of tossing a baton-like figure between two sticks. During the break time, the local students excitedly took us to the basketball court to challenge us in an intense game, and after running around for a while, they showed us a few computer games that they often play. In fact, several of us managed to bond with our Chinese counterparts in these activities, and I can now confidently say that I have a few friends in Beijing. Even though we live miles apart and commonly

Notes from SAS Students At the Forbidden City I started saying nihao to everyone who walked by. After about 50 people walked by and hadn’t responded, someone finally started to talk to me. I asked her questions and she replied. Slowly a group started to come and watch. When we were done everyone wanted to take pictures. It was fun but hard talking to them in Chinese. Samantha M. (Grade 7) Today, we visited a local Beijing school and had the opportunity to experience a normal day in the life of a Chinese teenager. Not only were all of the classes held in Chinese, but the local students’ English vocabulary was quite limited; consequently, we had to converse solely in Mandarin. This made for some interesting,



speak different languages, we could connect with them on a personal level, as the student beside me read my mind when he said, “I don’t like math class. I want to eat lunch! How about you?” Overall, in my opinion, the most rewarding experience of our school lesson was improving our ability to converse in Mandarin, and I am certain that when I return to Singapore, I will continue to practice whenever the chance arises. With every day that passes, our Chinese speaking, reading, and listening skills are improving exponentially, as we are constantly exposed to the language and culture of China. Getting the chance to see and study inside a proper Chinese school was a unique experience, as this is something that few foreigners have the privilege to do. Conversing with the locals, visiting the sites, and eating some great Chinese food have helped us further enhance our understanding of this culturally rich country, and we are all looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures.” Rohan Bharvani (Grade 11)

Parenting Isn’t Rocket Science Jeff Devens, Ph.D. HS Psychologist


he science of understanding rocketry is often attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. In his book Principia, Newton stated three important scientific principles that govern the motion of objects: objects at rest will stay at rest, and objects in motion will stay in motion; force is equal to mass times acceleration; and for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Using mathematical formulas as well as thousands of calculations, engineers, mathematicians, and scientists make highly accurate predictions of what is needed to successfully send rockets into the far reaches of space. When it comes to raising children, however, the outcomes are less certain. Rockets, unlike children, are inanimate objects. They don’t possess free will, aren’t influenced by the moods or attitudes of others, nor are they swayed off course by biology, past experiences, or socioeconomic conditions. In short, there are a myriad of trajectories kids’ lives can take as they accelerate towards adulthood.

While there may not be a specific set of laws that govern parenting, there are general principles that add considerable influence when it comes to predictive outcomes, and arguably, none is more important than parental consistency. Webster defines consistency in a number of ways, but perhaps the most salient definition for our discussion is: showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom. A classic study undertaken in the 1950s by psychologist Stanton Samenow and psychiatrist Sameul Yochelson demonstrated the importance of consistency in determining behavioral outcomes. With research spanning 17 years, involving thousands of hours of clinical work, they found that criminal behavior was primarily attributed to individuals consistently making wrong moral choices. In a subsequent book they concluded that the answer to crime is a “conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle.” In 1987, Harvard professors came to similar conclusions in the book Crime and Human Nature, noting the primary cause of crime is a lack of consistent

Millionaire Teacher


Whether our children are two, twelve, or twenty-two, they are in the process of reflecting and acting upon what we have consistently taught them. It’s our constancy then that produces predictability and stability in our children’s lives, and this contributes significantly to their character development. This begs the question, what are we consistently teaching and modeling ? This too is a question academic institutions must address. At SAS we feel so strongly about character and its development in young people’s lives that we have adopted a set of core values that we consistently strive to uphold, impart, and live by. Even with a high level of predictability and precision, space exploration is still a risky proposition. Being consistent isn’t about being perfect, but it does mean we are principled and passionate about raising kids who know who they are, like who they are, and find satisfaction in being who they are. Constancy… it’s the fuel that drives this process. Andrew Hallam HS English Teacher

urton Malkiel, the Chemical Bank Chairman’s Professor of Economics at Princeton University, has probably sold more personal finance books than anyone in history. The legendary economist stands as a global financial icon, while I (an English teacher who has just published his very first finance book) stand so far from the mountain of financial greats that I’d need binoculars just to bring its apex into focus. I practically choked on my broccoli when he reviewed my book and suggested that, “The newbie investor will not find a better guide than Millionaire Teacher.”

the credit. Dozens of teachers read chapter drafts, providing suggestions to ensure that the book was easily understood.

Fortunately, I had plenty of help putting the book together and many of the teachers at Singapore American School deserve some of

One of my earliest inspirations was a mechanic I met while I was still in college. Despite his middle class salary, he was a millionaire. Today

I’ve always felt that personal finance should be taught as a core course (like English) from K-12. After all, it’s a discipline that every one of us has to manage (or will have to manage) on a daily basis for the rest of our lives. Every time we get paid; every time we save for a vacation; every time we pay taxes; every time we buy something we want; and every time we invest for our future, we need to employ the rules of money.


moral training among young people during the morally-formative years.

at 64, he’s a deca-millionaire. And he chuckles because personal money management isn’t seriously taught in schools. Writing Millionaire Teacher, I suppose, was my attempt to fill part of that void. In the second semester of 2011–12, I’ll teach personal finance in the high school. If a mechanic and a school teacher (who paid 100% of his college expenses) can become millionaires at a relatively young age, just imagine what the average SAS student can accomplish. And by carefully selecting some noble global causes, they can use their future wealth to empower others.



Realising a Prickly Dream Malavika Singh The Straits Times

Veteran of the stage and screen Lim Kay Tong, upcoming Equus lead Ethan Chia and actor Michael Lee are lending their star power to a low-budget indie film by a first-timer. The three are part of the cast of the first feature film by David Hevey, a 44-year-old film teacher at the Singapore American School. The project is a labour of love for Hevey, who took five years just to write the script, during which he was diagnosed with cancer. The fledgling film-maker—who battled melanoma successfully—completed the monthlong shoot on July 22 and is now at the editing stage. He is forging ahead despite not having a distributor yet.

Getting the likes of Lim on board—the star acted in Hollywood earlier in his career and is was recently seen in the local TV show The Pupil—was a coup for Hevey. But it turns out that it was no hard-sell. Lim, 57, was completely taken aback when he first read Hevey’s script: “I thought: I could get involved in a project like this.” He adds that he was “pleasantly surprised” to read a local story told by an expat, and his character Charlie’s love for cricket echoed his own affection for the sport as a child. Meeting Hevey in person was just a formality. “In my mind, I had already decided I would do it... the script sold me,” Lee says. Lee, 58, who was nominated for best performance in a short film for the Singapore Short Film Awards this year for Wake, plays a rival durian seller named Lim. Young talent Chia, 20, who will play the lead role in Toy Factory’s upcoming production of Equus from Aug 25 to Sept 3 at the Drama Centre, is Ricky, a loan shark who is after Lim for the money he borrowed to settle a gambling debt. Chia previously worked with Hevey on Phone Wars, a short fictional film that the latter made last June for YouTube, together with Singaporean-American Ryan Chan, 18, who is also the director of photography for Durian King. Hevey, who studied literature for his undergraduate degree at Drew University and received a masters in Education at George Mason University, both in the United States, says that Durian King was inspired in part by a mid-life crisis.

Director and film teacher David Hevey (center) on making Durian King, which stars Lim Kay Tong (far left) and Aidan Swift (right)

“As much as I love teaching, I’m always teaching the things that I want to do and I wanted to create something that was my own,” he says. He chose to have one character struggle with cancer. But in a cruel twist, the father of three, aged seven, five and two, was then diagnosed with melanoma. In 2008, while undergoing surgery in the United States and facing the prospect of his own mortality, Hevey thought: “I have to do something important in my life so my kids will remember me.” However, the surgery went well and Hevey managed to get back on his feet. The script was almost done but he pushed to get the story polished and shown to Singaporebased literary agent Fran Lebowitz, who was instrumental in getting the ball rolling. She showed the script to 62-year-old Australian producer Malcolm Young, who then introduced it to Lim. Hevey and Young hope to complete the film by next year. What happens then? Hevey says: “We have a premiere in Singapore, tons of people come, friends, family, expats, locals... it goes to film festivals... we get some success... an international distributor picks us up and then it’s a hit.” “That would be in an ideal world. The truth is, we have a long way to go before it’s seen in theatres, but one can always dream.”

As much as I love teaching, I’m always teaching the things that I want to do

and I wanted to create something that was my own.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Reprinted with permission



The film is called Durian King, and Hevey and his cast are unfazed that there is a local hit TV sitcom of the same name. Their effort tells the story of an unlikely friendship between local durian seller Charlie Sim and young expat boy Jonathan Seymore, played by newcomer Aidan Swift, 12. Forced to work together to resolve a dispute, they overcome cultural differences to forge a deep friendship.

Coming Home to Singapore Anthony Hunter Grade 4 Teacher

home - 1 : one’s place of residence : domicile : house; 2: the social unit formed by a family living together; 3: a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment; also : the focus of one’s domestic attention.


wice a year I go home. Both times it’s a warm, necessary, and wonderful migration. As an international educator, each May my desire to reconnect with friends and family in Canada reaches an almost intolerable level. As the school year ends—a time and experience that can only be defined as bittersweet—I am rewarded by time with my loved ones abroad. The sweet includes our June–July break of course, plus all of the rewards from connecting with that year’s group of students, as well as everything we have accomplished collectively and as individuals. The bitter becomes having to release those bonds we formed during the school year and saying good-bye.

along when it’s needed. We celebrate successes together and we console each other through challenges and loss. We push one another to make this such a spectacular school and to always become better educators. Hopefully you, too, are feeling happy to be home. So let this be a warm welcome to all of our new colleagues and SAS families. You’ll find your way around, you will meet amazing people, you’ll travel this amazing pocket of the world, and not only will you make it, you’ll thrive. Also, let it be a big cheers, and I hope to see you soon, to my fellow second-year colleagues. Let’s make our second year twice as successful, if not twice as smooth, than our first. And perhaps it can be a rekindling flashback for those of you who have been here longer. Go find a new favorite spot, restaurant, or neighborhood on the island and remember those early years when it was all new, fresh, and invigorating. Welcome home everyone.

Also as an international educator—just as for many of our students and the SAS families—the definition of home can often be blurred. As I’ve learned, our own personal definition can be multi-dimensional. Not only is it okay to have more than one home, it’s a good thing. While leaving Canada in early August was difficult, coming back to Singapore as a savvy second-year teacher and resident certainly made it easier. On the airplane I recalled those fast and furious days at the recruiting fair when somebody told us that one of the benefits of choosing SAS was that “it’s easy.” At the time this statement was as much a deterrent as it was a benefit, but after living here for a year, setting up a home, and getting to know the ins and outs of Singapore, I get it. Above the comforts of having your personal living space, getting to and from school easily, knowing your favorite neighborhoods, etc., is the social home that we return to in Singapore. Walking into SAS for the first time is daunting. As beautiful a campus as it is, and regardless of how many smiles and introductions you receive, there is no way around it. After a year in this community, the tables have turned. Seeing colleagues in the hallways and knowing who they are is comforting. Having past students and their families visit you is special. Meeting up with friends at your favorite spot is warming. Being able to meet our new professional colleagues—and show them around—is refreshing! At first, the sheer size and numbers of the school can make it seem like an institution. Although we say it all the time—in meetings, to new families, to people we know abroad, and to each other—it really is the people of the SAS community that are the glue. We bind the extraordinary scope of this school and pull one another




A Play to be Remembered Alexandra B. Grade 5 Student


atching a Shakespearean play from the average fifth grader’s point of view would be quite uninteresting, but when put on by eight determined students who had nothing but their scripts, it’s a show not to be missed. The G.A.T.E RLA production of Romeo and Juliet, a classic love story written by William Shakespeare, took place on May 20, 2011, near the hectic end of the year. We only had a couple weeks of preparation, so we quickly set to choosing parts, memorizing lines (this went better and easier than expected), and transforming the fifth grade group room into an Elizabethan scene. In the end, all of us were content with our given parts. As Juliet, I immediately knew that I had a lot of lines and Old English words to learn, as did most of my other classmates. The experience of taking part in a play, let alone one from the 1600s, was new to many of us. It took many nights of intense practicing to become familiar with the story and play, but the results were, as we all agreed, very gratifying. The final rehearsal, the dress rehearsal (that two fifth grade classes attended) went relatively well. Everyone was dreading, and also looking forward to, the next day’s afternoon performance. I was wondering what the audience—two other classes and our excited parents—would think of us. The next day we were too nervous and jumpy to eat or drink anything at all. When 1:00 p.m. came, we



hustled into our homemade Elizabethan outfits and waited impatiently backstage for the audience. I think everyone in the play had the same opinion—the waiting was definitely the worst. While we sat and watched the classes noisily file in, many discouraging and pessimistic thoughts crowded our heads, and we were trembling by the time it started. Yet from the first line I said, everyone else disappeared and saying my pieces just became muscle memory. A few lines had to be prompted by a helpful Mrs. Shaw, but hardly anyone noticed. Overall, the show went amazingly, if I do say so myself. From this event I learned that if you don’t let the pressure and negative ideas get to your head, everything will be fine while doing a play. Also, things are never quite as bad as they seem, as proved throughout the performance. Although most of the Intermediate School now recognizes me as Juliet, which is not an advantage point for me, I have to say I enjoyed it. I found it a creative, unique way to get to know Shakespeare’s ingenious story, as well as his past. After the play, we did a rap—yes, a rap—about Shakespeare’s life. I loved all the parts of it, especially when, in the end, Chloe (our Romeo) and I died spectacularly. It gave me a chance to act and dramatize every line for all I was worth, and I hope that other students my age are able to experience the feeling of nervousness, and then, ultimately, enormous relief. So, fare thee well!

PTA PTA President’s Message Arathi Nilakantan PTA President


hope you and your family have enjoyed settling into the new school year. By now, the PTA has had the opportunity to welcome a number of new and returning families and has enjoyed meeting you at the many PTA Newcomer Welcome Coffees and the General Meeting. The Back to School Nights were well attended, where parents enjoyed meeting teachers and gaining insights into the children’s classroom environments and routines. The monthly division coffees are a great way for parents to engage division administrators and faculty on issues pertaining to each division. Representatives from PTA attend these coffees to meet parents and to provide information about upcoming PTA events. Please do not hesitate to contact your Division Representative whenever you need assistance. Pumpkin Patch & Pumpkin Sales Each year, the PTA sponsors the Pumpkin Patch where the students of ECC and the Primary School will visit the kindergarten group room, which has been decorated into a charming pumpkin patch with bales of hay and hundreds of pumpkins, gourds and corn. The children will

enjoy a story and a treat from the PTA and the best part—they will get to pick their own mini pumpkins or gourds! The PTA’s Annual Pumpkin Sale begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 22. Pumpkins of all sizes, gourds, and decorative corn will be available for purchase at great prices. Proceeds from this event will support the high school service clubs and will be dispersed among the charities they support. The Pumpkin Patch and the Pumpkin Sales are not possible without the generous sponsorship of NOL Group, who purchase pumpkins from the USA and ship them to SAS. We once again thank NOL Group for their kind support. International Food Fest Join us on Saturday, November 5 at the PTA International Food Fest held in the HS and MS gymnasiums from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Enjoy a feast of ethnic cuisines and stop by to view the tantalizing theme baskets in the HS library. This will also be a good opportunity to catch up on holiday shopping at our Vendor Fair. Scholastic Books Students from ECC to middle school recently received order forms for Scholastic Books and will soon be receiving the books they ordered. Our

team of volunteers, led by Aha Kaul and Tammy Charter, spend hours processing orders and delivering the books. This program offers PTA the opportunity to build classroom and division libraries through points awarded by Scholastic Book Publishers. Thank you to everyone who supports this program. A World of Stories: Myths, Legends and Tales This is the theme for this year’s PTA Annual Book Fair to be held from November 21–23 in the Elementary Gym. More than 10,000 books will be available for purchase with titles to please every age. Children from ECC to middle school will visit the Book Fair with their classes, and high school students are encouraged to visit the Book Fair during their breaks. Thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers led by Kim Rowe and Deb Christian. The next couple of months are busy at SAS and we look forward to seeing you at these events. If you would like to help out at any of the PTA events, please contact us at The school year has had a great start, and the PTA looks forward to working with you to shape a positive experience for all of our children. PTA Division Representatives HS

Mika Parekh Jackie Lewis


Sherry Lyons


Monique Hirsch


Tracie Cohen


Maria Ludeke Carolyn Edds

PTA Executive Committee 2011–12: President, Arathi Nilakantan; Treasurer, Paula Hollister; Parliamentarian, Mae Anderson; Secretary, Diane Laurent; Vice President, Becky Moseley









Saturday, Nov. 5th, 2011, 11am to 3pm Middle School & High School Gyms

DELICIOUS! BOTACHAR! OISHII! SARAP! KEKOU! ENAK! MATITSEOYO! Whatever your language, you’ll LOVE Food Fest where you’ll find: Exquisite AROMAS and TASTES from around the world! Exciting THEME BASKET RAFFLE with something for everyone! Enticing VENDOR FAIR to start your holiday shopping!

VOLUNTEERS ARE WELCOME & NEEDED! Please consider joining us as a volunteer at Food Fest. To volunteer and to find out more about the event, please contact Food Fest Chair: Kim Hamby,

THE THEME BASKET RAFFLE While enjoying your food from our international Country Booths. Buy your raffle tickets for only $1 each to try and win a fabulous theme basket. Look out for these great baskets:                

Preschool/Boys: Stuffed Animals Preschool/Girls: Chocolate Pre-K/Boys: Legos Pre-K/Girls: Mexican Fiesta Kindergarten/Boys: All Boy (Superhero/Action Figures) Kindergarten/Girls: All Girl 1st Grade/Boys: Crayola 1st Grade/Girls: Coffee & Tea 2nd Grade/Boys: Family Night 2nd Grade/Girls: Beach Club 3rd Grade/Boys: Sports 3rd Grade/Girls: Spa/Aroma Therapy & Candles 4th Grade/Boys: Go Organic 4th Grade/Girls: “Hat’s off to the Chef” (Baking/Cooking) 5th Grade/Boys: Mad Science 5th Grade/Girls: iPad/iPod (music/technology)




Dry-Fit PE Uniforms “Wow! It’s so light, I can hardly feel it!” exclaimed the excited eighth grader when she donned the trial PE uniform. Her classmates were equally enthusiastic. Due to the hot and humid Singapore climate, a lighter, cooler, dryfit PE uniform makes a lot of sense. For several months now, a committee consisting of Middle School PE teachers, Middle School administrators, and PTA and Booster Booth uniform sales representatives has been working to provide a uniform best-suited for this climate. Much time was spent planning, designing, discussing, sampling and testing new dry-fit PE uniforms. At the beginning of this school year, we moved into the trial phase for the uniforms.

Audrey Forgeron MS PE Teacher

In August, students in three Middle School PE classes—one in each grade level—received one uniform each from their PE teachers. These uniforms were purchased by the Middle School. The students in these pilot classes are road-testing the uniforms and will periodically be asked to provide feedback to their PE teachers relating to the comfort, fit, breathability, drying speed and durability of these uniforms. They will be able to compare the dry-fit with the current uniforms because they will alternate wearing both. We will gather data during the first quarter and then report back on our findings and any plans for the future.

When: Saturday, October 22nd, 9am till 12pm Where: SAS, in the area around the Middle School fountain Come and enjoy in Singapore, the closest you’ll get to a good old American Pumpkin Patch. We’ll have pumpkins, gourds and decorative corn shipped in just for us from the USA. 100% of proceeds go to SAS High School Community Service Clubs

THANK YOU for your generous donation 30 


30 Years of IASAS


he seeds of the IASAS organization were planted long ago with sports exchanges that were arranged between many of the schools. For example, Singapore American School (SAS) and International School Bangkok (ISB) participated in an annual multisport event called the SingaporeBangkok Games that started in 1961. In 1980, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) asked to participate in this event, creating what then became known as the Triangular Games. It was around this time that the idea of such an organization began to flourish. It was at a conference in Hong Kong around 1980 that the idea of IASAS really started. A number of interested individuals began tossing around some ideas of creating a larger, formally organized entity. The Heads of School, High School Principals and Athletic/Activities Directors of ISB, ISKL, SAS, as well as those

Mimi Molchan Athletics & Activities Director

from Jakarta International School (JIS) and International School Manila (ISM), began sharing information along with a desire to begin an international activities and athletics conference. The result, as we all know, was IASAS, the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools, which started in the fall of 1982. Taipei American School (TAS) joined the group in 1986, creating the six-school conference that has thrived ever since. In the early days the conventions included soccer & volleyball (first season), basketball & swimming (second season), softball & track and field (third season), as well as a cultural convention (dance, drama, debate, forensics, music and art) and even a mathematics competition. Over the years various activities have been added to the agenda, and today the wide-ranging IASAS activities include:


nn First Season: Cross-Country, Soccer, Volleyball nn Second Season: Basketball, Rugby/Touch, Swimming, Tennis nn Third Season: Badminton, Softball, Track & Field nn Cultural Convention: Drama, Dance, Forensics and Debate, Music and Art nn Model United Nations nn IASAS Math For everyone involved, students, coaches, administrators, parents and community members, IASAS is one of the most memorable times of any school year. As we rapidly approach the 30th anniversary of the organization, we can only thank those who came before and helped to create such a remarkable organization, and can only hope that it will flourish for many decades to come.



The Taekwondo Kid Melody Tan


our years ago, Alfred Chin walked past a taekwondo school. Intrigued by the Korean martial art, he signed up for classes. Now 15 and a tenth grader, Alfred has worked his way up to the second degree dan (a black belt) in November 2010—a difficult feat for a practitioner of his age and experience. Said Alfred, “Taekwondo is not about violence or uncivilised fighting—it’s very organised, and it’s a way to train the mind and body.” The sport of taekwondo includes poomsae (patterns of movements) and sparring. Having won a gold medal at the JH Kim Interschool Poomsae Competition and a silver medal at the Western Australian Invitational Championship (Poomsae) in 2009, followed by two bronze medals at the Singapore Taekwondo Poomsae National Championship in 2010 and 2011, Alfred feels that his strengths lie in poomsae. However, Alfred is also accomplished in the field of sparring (kyorugi). He is the captain of Induk Taekwondo School’s sparring team, and won gold and bronze medals at the Singapore National Taekwondo Kyorugi Championships in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He took home silver medals at the Western Australian Invitational Championship (Sparring) in 2009, the Chin Khee Shin Competition in March 2010 and the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival Taekwondo Competition in August of this year.



“I started competing in my second year, and it was just ‘attack, attack, attack’ until I got tired. But since then I’ve matured into a smarter fighter who strategises and plans. Anyone can do the moves, but it takes a lot of thinking and experience to do them right and at the right moment.” Alfred is preparing for the next Singapore National Sparring Competition in September 2011 by analyzing YouTube videos of taekwondo professionals in addition to training under his coach, Mr Lee Seung Man, the Korean principal instructor at Induk Taekwondo School. Said Mr Lee, who is a six degree dan master, “Alfred is very self-disciplined and pushes himself hard. Unlike his peers, he doesn’t give up when he wants to do something, even if it’s tough. He doesn’t complain and he has a lot of mental strength and patience. He takes the same attitude towards teaching, which is why I made him an assistant instructor.” In addition to working weekends training children and younger teenagers at Induk, Alfred has also become certified as a sparring referee by the Singapore Taekwondo Federation over the summer. “Before I go to college, I’d like to continue competing in sparring and get the third degree dan, but I’m also looking forward to becoming involved in teaching and refereeing. Taekwondo has definitely changed me—I’ve learned how to endure physical and mental hardship, and it’s made me more resilient and disciplined.”

Golf Wonder Kaho Monica Matsubara Grade 9 Student


aho Monica Matsubara earned third place at one of the biggest junior golf tournaments in the world, the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship. The championship focuses on fair competition and cultural understanding among youth. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, Michelle McGann and Nancy Lopez are players who began their careers in the Optimists. On the opening day, Monica had a rocket start with three under par, which was the best score in the tournament. She had two over on the second day and one over on the third day. Her total score was even par, which was only two shots off the Canadian champion. A golfer from the Philippines got second place by one shot over Monica. Results from the tournament can be found at http://www. Monica is usually practicing golf five days a week, often with her golf coach Chris Marriot. She started playing

golf when she was eight years old, and started playing competitively a year later. She attends some tournaments in Thailand during the school year and plays in the USA from June to the middle of August during the SAS summer vacation. Her dream is to become a player on the LPGA Tour someday. Some interesting things about her other than golf: nn Also likes art and reading nn Favorite singers are Eminem and Bruno Mars nn Currently in ninth grade, tenth year at SAS

Summer Volleyball Camp Kim Criens Athletics & Activities Co-Director


he 2011 edition of the SAS Summer Camp was our best and biggest yet. More than 120 volleyballplaying boys and girls descended upon the SAS gyms in the last week of summer vacation. Campers were coached by SAS Varsity and Junior Varsity Coaches and given four days of instruction and game play. It was a tremendous opportunity for students to meet new friends, get a workout in, and get reacquainted after the summer. We look forward to another great edition next summer. “This camp is great because you spend a week getting rid of the rust that comes from not playing for months and practicing the fundamentals of volleyball. We go through a steady progression from the most basic passing and setting drills to more complex and in-depth blocking and defensive schemes. Along with getting back into the game, camp helps you interact with future teammates and coaches, which is very helpful since the more you play with a group of people the more comfortable you feel around them. Being around your coaches and playing with them before the season begins is one of the most helpful aspects of camp. It’s much easier to take criticisms and work on advanced skills while not in season because, while the pressure is still on to impress, it isn’t tryouts and everyone is just getting the feel for the game once again.” Edward Thome, Grade 12, Fourth year to camp


“Volleyball camp is great because I have fun meeting new friends while learning volleyball skills. It is also great because they put us in real game situations and that helps me learn more about what to do in a game. The coaches there are very kind and helpful and they really helped me improve on my volleyball skills.” Miranda S., Grade 7, Second year to camp



Booster Club Kim Hamby Booster Club President


elcome from the High School Eagles Booster Club. I have the privilege of being the President this year and I’m looking forward to an exciting year of supporting our high school students in all extracurricular areas including athletics, visual and performing arts, cultural and scholastic activities. I have been a part of the Booster Club organization for nine years. Boosters gives me an opportunity to see first hand the talent and accomplishments of our high school student body. Working with the diversity of students in the Art Club, Usher Society, Frisbee Club, Student Councils, service clubs and sports teams, just to name a few, is an amazing experience. It is a great honor to be able to support our students with the wide range of activities and events the Booster Club plans and to be able to work with equally accomplished parents. I have met some of my best friends through this organization. I encourage all high school parents to be involved! Please join us at our next monthly meeting to learn more about our committees and be ready to get going! We love to meet new people and always need help on a committee or event.

Hope to see you on Wednesday, October 12th, 10am in the PTA Office for our monthly Booster club meeting or stop by the Booth and pick up a brochure with a listing of our committees.



Trivia Night


Spend a Day with a Mentor

igh school students will have the opportunity to spend a day with various professionals through the Mentor for a Day program. Opportunities include a day with a photographer, a banker, a dentist, a veterinarian, a lawyer and many, many more. This year the mentorships will be offered through an online auction that opens Thursday 13 October and closes Wednesday19 October with a complete list of mentoring opportunities available on Wednesday 12 October. Please talk with your student and review the list of mentors. Allow your student to select the mentor(s) with whom he/she wants to spend a day. Then get ready to bid and win that opportunity!! All proceeds benefit the High School Boosters programs and projects. Support your Boosters while your child learns about a professional career. Please email questions to



Friday November 18th Time: 8:00pm Venue: Singapore American School Date:



ome enjoy an informal evening of friendly competition including food, drinks, fabulous raffle items and prizes for winners in each category. Get your group organized and get ready for some fun. Please email questions to

SAS Booster Club is proud to announce THE 2011-2012 FIRST QUARTER

HONOR ROLL RECOGNITION LUNCHEON Friday, November 11 11:20 - 12 noon in the Riady Center

(entry by valid ticket only) .

Let’s celebrate these achievements!

Please email any questions to

Booster Club

The SAS Eagles Booster Club proudly supports

The 30th Anniversary Season of IASAS Thursday-Saturday

20-22 October 2011 an All Day Event at the Singapore American School For a complete schedule of events refer to the SAS HS website

The top Varsity soccer, volleyball & cross country teams from

SIX Southeast Asia Schools will Converge on SAS for THREE days of Amazing Athletic Competition in ONE spectacular event

The 30th Anniversary Season of IASAS!

Be there to Enjoy the competition, Cheer for the athletes & Savor the Delicious food and drink. Food on Thursday·Friday·Saturday by the following:

Remember to bring cash for purchasing food!


On Saturday 22 October 9am-4pm in addition to the IASAS meet... Enjoy a unique on-campus shopping opportunity at the Vendor Fair in the SAS HS Foyer




SAS Summer Program 2011 Martha Began Summer Program Coordinator


stablished more than 20 years ago, the summer program at Singapore American School is built on the academic strengths of faculty as well as leadership strengths of more than 50 high school students and alumni assistants. The primary summer program offers modules ranging from early childhood classes for rising kindergarteners to K-4 activities such as dance, drama, swimming, technology, science and problem solving. SAS faculty created K-5 Chinese language and culture, as well as enrichment reading and sports camp modules. By allowing children to participate in a day camp-like environment without the pressure of homework or grades, the primary program boosts selfconfidence, fosters critical thinking, and promotes collaboration in a casual learning environment with multicultural peers and young adult student assistants. The middle school program (MSP) was originally established to emphasize both remedial and enrichment opportunities for multiple levels of mathematics and English reading, writing, and speaking, rounded out with fun electives. It now serves as a rich educational window into subjects of study in middle or high school. This year the MSP added such courses as selfpaced mathematics, English reading and language arts, studies in black and white photography, and French language and culture among others.

For several years, Stanford University’s Educational Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) has provided programs of study at SAS for advanced students in grades 4-6 and 7-9. Stanford-qualified instructors were flown in to teach the selected students. This program has greatly enhanced the quantity, quality and academic importance of the summer program’s curriculum collection.

assisted by Ms. Rose Phan, sponsored mostly middle school-aged SAS students on their first experience with Chinese history and culture. For adventurous SCUBA divers, Mr. Jim Diebley used his PADI Dive Instructor qualifications and experience to lead several middle school students (and a parent) on a weeklong Dive Trip to Manado, Indonesia.

One of the long-term objectives of the summer program is to supplement the school-year education with crucial 21st century skills including critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration and global awareness. For families staying part or all of the summer in Singapore, students can have fun while learning useful skills, knowledge and elevating selfconfidence.

International Students

Off-Campus Programs

This year’s overseas component specialized in European, Chinese and Southeast Asian adventures. The Spanish language immersion course in Barcelona, Spain, sponsored by Mr. Tico Oms and assisted by Ms. Kristin O’Connor, provided SAS high school and middle school students with daily language lessons, participation in either a soccer camp or cultural escapade, and insight into Barcelona’s rich history. In Beijing and Xian, China, Ms. Vivian Lin,

Our MSP sports camp was popular with athletes wanting to improve sports skills coached by our HS Chair of PE, Chuck Shriner, and assisted by top SAS high school and alumni athletes. A new module this year was Chinese language and movement. Next year, there are plans to create streams of study for theater and performing arts, fine arts, technology, English, math, and sports.



In addition to hailing from Singapore, students came from Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States to participate in the SAS summer program. Many came back for the second, third or fourth year in a row.

Summer Program 2012

Our summer program in 2012 will begin Monday, June 11 and run through July 13. Course offerings will be open to the public by the end of February. Registration will open earlier this year on Friday, March 16, 2012. Where else can you find a tried and true program taught by expert SAS teachers and assisted by 60 of the top student leaders, athletes, artists, dancers and peer facilitators in the SAS high school? Nowhere better than our very own SAS. Don’t miss out on the chance to raise your child’s summer enjoyment while learning a thing or two.

Got SASCard? Yes, You Do! Victoria Anne Camelio Facilities & Business Office


e would like to sincerely thank the SAS Parent Community for so graciously cooperating with the many changes and requirements associated with campus security upgrades taking effect this year. As we approach the end of our First Quarter, the Campus Access Application process is largely complete, and new security protocols at the gates, on campus and on the Yeap Transport buses have been fully implemented. Over 10,000 SASCards have now been issued and more than 2,000 vehicles registered. Whew!

The use of an identification card, the new vehicle tracking system, and a campus-wide integrated digital CCTV system which is now in place is represents a vast improvement in our ability to comprehensively manage on-campus security. We are exceedingly grateful for the support of our parent community in this endeavor. We simply could not have made this transition without your active participation!

More Than Just an ID Card!

Now that the 2011–12 school year is in full swing, we want to make sure that all of you proud, card-carrying members of the SAS Community are aware of the benefits associated with the SASCard. In other words, don’t just carry around your shiny new SASCard: Use It! What else can I do with my SASCard, you ask? Well, quite a bit actually! For example: nn Cashless Purchases at all Food & Beverage Outlets Campus-wide nn Cashless Vending Machine Purchases nn Cashless Printing and Copying on Campus nn Booster Booth Purchases nn Book Room Supply Purchases nn Quick Library Checkout nn Online Account Management

Printing & Copying

One of the newest features of the SASCard is called “Folllow Me Printing” which allows faculty, staff and students to print and copy at any machine on campus with a simple tap of their card. Middle and High School students will be provided with a yearly allowance that will remain separate from the cafeteria account for all of their schoolrelated P&C needs. Parents will soon have the ability to use their card for photocopying and printing in campus libraries as well!

Get Smart! Online Account Management

An easily accessible online account management tool allows you to register and manage all of your family’s      

SASCards (including parent cards) under one email address. Once registered, you can access the following information for any given SASCard directly through the online system: nn Purchase activity for up to six months prior, including transaction date, amount and location nn Card balance information and setting low-balance email notifications nn Report a lost card, thereby protecting account funds until the card is located or replaced nn Add funds to an account using Visa or MasterCard

Top Up and Take Advantage!

Now that you have your SASCard, it is easy to add funds and begin using it on campus. As mentioned, online credit card top up is available only through the SASCard Center. Please be aware that there is a $1.00 fee, payable to the service provider World Pay, for online credit card top ups. So if you choose to add funds in this manner, it is more economical to add more funds, less frequently. Remember, SASCard funds remain safe in your or your child’s account, even if the card is misplaced! As an alternative, you may add card funds with cash by visiting any one of the three top up kiosks located around campus. If you prefer to top up using a check, you may do so at the Student Store located in room M103. There are no fees associated with cash top ups.

But Wait, There’s More!

Have you noticed the back of your SASCard? In addition to all of these campus-based features, the SASCard can also serve as a NETS FlashPay Card. A separate NETS account allows cardholders to use their SASCard off campus anywhere in Singapore that accepts NETS FlashPay—on the MRT, LRT, public buses, in many taxis and at more than 8,000 merchants island-wide. The NETS FlashPay account is entirely separate from the on campus account and can be topped up at the iNETS Kiosk in the High School Atrium or at off-campus top up points such as 7-Eleven, Cheers and Bank ATMs. If you want to use the NETS account, however, please remember that those funds are stored directly on the card. Therefore, if the card is lost, the NETS money cannot be recovered. We hope that you will find the SASCard to be much more than just an ID card, providing you and your family with many other conveniences both on and off campus. For more information regarding the SASCard, please visit the SAS website at or contact the SASCard Office at



The Scoop on Summer Works Jamie Alarcon Facilities & Services

Sum·mer Works noun (pl.) at SAS: renovation, acquisition, or maintenance projects, carried out during the school’s summer holidays, which are designed to enhance learning, improve safety and comfort, increase asset value, and promote sustainability There’s a lot you can do with 37 acres, even if you only have ten weeks. The folks in the SAS facilities and services

MS/HS Swimming Pool Before: Underground pump and filtering station difficult to maintain. Pool tiles and infrastructure 15 years old. After: Pump and filtering station moved aboveground for easier maintenance. Redesigned and re-tiled. The Verdict: “Everyone thinks it’s a first-class facility. Thank goodness we had to change the pump room. People say, ‘I can’t believe this is our pool!’ It’s gorgeous.” Mimi Molchan Director of Athletics and Activities

MS Science Laboratories Before: Difficulties maximizing space because of irregular shape. Constantly needing more storage. After: Wall pushed “out”, removing alcoves and instantly creating more space. Improved storage. Redesigned to reflect science curriculum: exposed wiring and HVAC ducting, light shelves, and T5 lights with daylight sensors create opportunities for hands-on learning about engineering, architecture, and climate change. The Verdict: “When I had a student visit on the first day back and the first thing they said was ‘This is awesome, you can see all the stuff that is usually covered up by the ceiling and it’s huge,’ I knew we had something that was positive from both the student and teacher perspective. By pushing out the walls and adding a wall of windows it feels like a completely new room. Plus we only have to light half the room due to the light reflector making for a room that’s much easier on the environment.” Christopher Emerson Grade 6 Science teacher



department spend every summer lovingly repairing, rearranging, and remodeling our campus. That’s the reason why, every August, teachers and students come back to find pleasant surprises at every turn—from subtle changes to big transformations. In terms of manpower, finance, and audience impact, the summer of 2011 was a whopper. And naturally, Crossroads has the inside scoop.

How green is the giant fan in the IS/MS cafeteria? The annual environmental impact of the energy savings can be compared to:

77 metric tons less of carbon dioxide

= 10 tons of CO2

140 fewer passengers flying from LAX to JFK = 10 passengers

171 fewer car trips from LAX to JFK = 10 car trips

IS/MS Cafeteria Before: Noisy. Limited natural lighting. Inefficient use of air-conditioning. Long queues. Cut off from the outdoor area and the SAS forest. After: Completely redesigned to maximize natural light and ventilation, while minimizing noise and shortening queues to purchase food. Great view of the SAS forest from the new al fresco dining areas. The Verdict: “Students, teachers and parents have been sharing a great deal of positive feedback about the cafeteria. The fan system in the cafeteria has provided everyone with a comfortable eating environment. We now have a first-rate cafeteria that is much greener than it ever has been and the design provides students with a relaxing setting to eat.” Marc L’Heureux Intermediate School Deputy Principal

Security Upgrades Before: No physical barriers to pedestrian access. Limited physical barriers to vehicle access. “Analog” traffic controls and security procedures. After: A suite of security upgrades, made possible by a grant from the United States Government. Turnstiles with SASCard access. Universal-Design-compliant swing gates for bicycle, stroller, and wheelchair access. Road blockers at the Rear Gate, identical to those already installed at the Front Gate. Electronic door access, also using the SASCard, for the weight room and other shared spaces. Additional CCTV cameras. Increased automation of traffic controls and security procedures. The Verdict: “SAS remains committed to creating a safe and secure environment in which students, parents, faculty and staff can learn and enjoy the strong sense of community that is distinctive of Singapore American School. The work that occurred during the 2011 summer works program is clear evidence of our continuing commitment to safety and security on the SAS campus.” Dr. Brent Mutsch Superintendent      



Prekindergarten and High School Studio Art Showcase Read more about this collaborative art project on page 20.

Crossroads October 2011  

The October 2011 Issue of Crossroads, a bi-monthly publication of Singapore American School

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