Page 1

MICA (P) 088/08/2011

A Singapore American School community service publication

February 2012

Volume 14, Issue 3-11/12

Page 5

Page 14

Page 15

Teacher Training in Siem Reap

Children’s Literature Conference

All Hands on Deck

It’s a Shoot Out! Laura Schuster IS PE Teacher


he Intermediate School’s Basketball Shoot Out competition offered spectators and participants a great thrill this year. The annual event, which is open to all students in grades 3, 4, and 5, is a timed shooting contest with the goal of accruing the most points possible. To prepare, students practice in PE class, during open gym in the mornings, or anywhere they can muster a ball and hoop. This year the SAS Eagle mascot and the High School varsity boys and girls basketball captains

attended the event and cheered the finalists to their best efforts. Administrators Marian Graham and Marc L’Heureux, along with superintendent Dr. Brent Mutsch, were part of the supportive group of spectators. Classroom teachers, parents and peers came to cheer on their students, children, and friends. Led by the energetic master of ceremonies and PE specialist Colin Arnold, the physical education teachers and instructional assistants counted points, Continued on page 6

Editor’s Note


The Third Place

Regular Features

Tamara Black Assoc. Dir. of Communications


few years ago, I led the communications for an independent school in the United States that was located directly across the street from a Starbucks. We jokingly referred to the coffeehouse as our school annex because no matter the time of day, we were guaranteed to run into someone from school sipping a latte, updating their Facebook status, or perhaps even holding an impromptu parents’ group meeting. The fact that the baristas knew most of us by name helped create an extremely welcoming atmosphere. But this cozy environment did not happen by accident. In Pour Your Heart Into It, Howard Schultz relates how he built the empire that is Starbucks. In the book, Schultz writes about how his original goal of creating a place where people could grab a quick, well-made cup of espresso-to-go turned into creating a place where people wanted to stay. Customers waited in long lines, hung out in the upholstered chairs, and had conversations and meetings. Starbucks turned into a destination where people informally gathered together as something like a small community—a third place. So what is a third place? Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist, posits in his book The Great Good Place that as humans we have an innate need to congregate, to communicate, to come together and interact. He says that we have two places—work and home—where we spend the majority of the time. But we also look for those third places where we fulfill our need to be part of a community. For many of us, Singapore American School is our third place. We come together as a community with the common purpose of creating authentic and exemplary educational experiences for our children, and we connect in so many ways. For example, some of us volunteer with the PTA (page 6) or Boosters (page 12), or attend events such as the upcoming PTA County Fair (page 7) or Star Appeal Dinner (page 8). Others travel to Siem Reap to lead teacher training sessions (page 5) or organize a literature conference (page 14). And what about those who help care for our community cats (page 11)? To all of the families who are new to SAS this semester, we send you a warm welcome. We’re glad you’ve joined our community. And we hope that SAS can become a third place for you, too.


From the Superintendent’s Office


PTA News

12 Booster Club News

Highlights 4

Gong Xi Fa Cai from the Admissions Office


Teacher Training in Siem Reap


Star Appeal 2012




Caring for Community Cats


A Tree of Books


Debut Children’s Literature Conference

Crossroads is published bi-monthly during the academic year by the communications team in the advancement 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.

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

A Community of Learners Brent Mutsch, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools


n 2012, Singapore American School (SAS) reflects on 56 years of serving the community in creating the partnerships, relationships, and opportunities that contribute directly to student learning, growth, and development. Founded initially to educate young people from the American community in Singapore, SAS today enjoys a reputation for creating learning opportunities for a broad mix of students who have come to the Woodlands campus from more than 50 different countries across the globe. This rich mosaic, created by the wonderful and amazing diversity of the students who attend SAS, has served to further enrich and extend the quality of the learning experiences that are daily made available to students. Alumni reflect on their SAS experiences to have been truly transformational as they begin to see both the world and themselves through the broader lens of a global citizen. Although each of us has our own lens through which we filter the SAS experience, we are fortunate to have the unique and special opportunity to daily go about being engaged in learning through the exchange of perspective and insights from others who have come to Singapore by pathways very different from our own. If a community is defined as a group of people who live in the same locality and share common interests, one could argue that SAS is in fact a school created by the confluence of factors that bring families to Singapore. Many of us found our way to Singapore as a result of our own unique and personal journey. We’ve sought out SAS for reasons that are likely as diverse as our

community itself. In some cases, it was as simple as SAS being the American school in Singapore. For others, it was the combination of reputation and program that drew us to engage with SAS for specific purposes. But whatever the reason for selecting SAS, in doing so, our learning community has been enriched by families who place great importance on being well-educated and on being actively engaged in the education of their children. As I reflect upon the qualities that make SAS such an amazing learning environment, I immediately think of the phenomenal diversity represented by our school community. I think about our parents and faculty, and the importance each of these groups—in collaboration with our students—place on learning. Learning represents that process by which we gain knowledge, acquire skills, refine understanding, and deepen insights. SAS is a place where the learning journey begins as early as age three, and culminates at 18 or 19. During these years, SAS seeks to provide students with a broad and diverse set of experiences and opportunities from which to better understand themselves, their interests, and their passions. Whether you’re a student, parent, faculty, or staff member reading this, thank you for your unique contributions to making SAS such a special place to learn and grow. For indeed SAS is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. It’s the combination of factors—fabulous students, caring and committed parents, and dedicated and passionate teachers and staff—that serve to make SAS such a phenomenal community in which to learn and grow.

Middle schoolers come together to learn about and experience art.




From the Admissions Office

Gong Xi Fa Cai


s we finish one year and begin another, the Admissions Office would like to send you happy new year greetings for 2012, the Year of the Dragon. I would also like to remind you of important dates and update you on developments in this office. Families with students attending SAS recently received re-enrollment forms via email. You need to complete the form and pay the re-enrollment fee for each child who will be returning to SAS. Payment can be made by check and sent to our office, or you can pay by credit card on our website at

Ellen White Director of Admissions

school. Your signature on the Advisory Note and the Student Contract ensure compliance with this regulation. You’ll receive more information about these documents before they’re mailed to you. An added task in the Admissions Office has been the data entry for the SAS card that’s needed to access the campus. Please welcome Siti Fauzianah Rohman who works with the SASCard Office and doubles as an admissions assistant.

For students who are not returning to SAS, please go to our website and withdraw at http://

Catherine Mendez continues to monitor the Admissions Office database that feeds information to the divisions. It’s important you keep your contact information current. We also need to know if there are any changes in passport numbers or citizenship. Often we’re told that parents fill out school field trip permission slips with information that’s different than what we were given in the Admissions Office. Please help eliminate this confusion by notifying us of important changes at

In March 2012 you will receive an Advisory Note and a Student Contract for each child attending SAS. This is because the Singapore government has enacted new regulations requiring that all parents acknowledge that they understand the terms and conditions of their child’s enrollment at a private

All of us—Farouk, Ylva, Catherine, Sharmilla, Sue, Siti, and I—are grateful for your support and wish you and your families a very happy new year. We want to thank high school students from the Youth Community Outreach Club for decorating our lobby for the Chinese New Year holidays.

Returning students need to be re-enrolled by March 1, 2012. We need to know how many current students are returning before we can accept new students for Fall Semester 2012.



Teacher Training in Siem Reap Kathleen Higgins ESOL Teacher


he Thanksgiving holiday of November 2011 will be remembered by a group of former and present SAS teachers and their families as a teachertraining success story. Twenty-six teachers and five SAS students began gathering materials and planning lessons months in advance of the weekend trip to work with teachers at the Amelio Schools in Siem Reap, Cambodia. For many of these teachers, this was their fourth or fifth teacher training workshop, and the one that stood out as the culmination of continued presence in Cambodia that began with Kaye Bach’s initial work six years ago. Sarah Farris and Jenny Redlin led the SAS group as they focused on the theme cooperation. SAS teachers were unanimously amazed and proud of the engagement and commitment of Amelio teachers. This success was likely due to the relationships established in previous years. Lessons focusing on math were seamlessly continued by Amelio teachers, who worked together to discuss and write lessons tailored for their own classrooms, some ranging in size from 30 to 50 students. They taught these lessons the following day adding their own ideas with enthusiasm and vigor. SAS teachers watched as students happily followed their teachers’ examples by working successfully in groups creating math games and working on math problems. Shabari Karumbaya authored an emotionally charged fictional book on the impact of a disaster at the Arnah School. It was made into a big book and translated into Khmer for teachers to share with their classes. The book was also shared with the community on closing day, as more than 1,000 carefully packed hygiene kits were distributed to the Amelio School community. Kate Bucknall’s team of teachers and students worked


closely with mothers and babies at the newly formed preschool. This proved to be an extraordinary experience for all as the SAS team was placed in the fragile position of demonstrating ways for mothers to cuddle and hug their children. These mothers, a great many of whom were orphaned due to the cruelty of the Pol Pot regime of the 70s, never had the luxury of being hugged themselves as children, and were not aware of this simple but powerful bonding experience that exists in human relationships. On an administrative level, George Bach and Ron Starker worked with mentor teachers, principals, and deputy principals from the CFC group of schools. This workshop coincides and supports the changes SAS teachers have established over the past several years. The focus of this workshop, according to George Bach, was establishing the difference between leadership and management. By making leadership the goal, an important skill supporting change, the result is team-building with sound relationships. Bach and Starker introduced praise as a primary means of change, and participants learned that when they set expectations, it was up to them as leaders to follow up with praise as expectations were met. They also revisited the S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis problem-solving protocol used globally by many organizations. This was followed by in-depth and practical discussions about management and leadership. The final administrative session ended with principals writing their first-ever thank you cards to their teachers. The entire weekend, from the pre-school sessions to the teacher-training and the leadership workshop, was rewarding, satisfying, and delightful for everyone involved.




Beginning Anew Diane Laurent PTA Secretary

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gutes Neues Jahr! Feliz Ano Nuevo! Happy New Year! Everywhere I have lived they may say it differently, but the message is the same: “It’s time to begin anew! Good luck!” I hope that the Year of the Dragon is off to a good start for all of you and that you are looking forward to the second half of the school year. We welcomed 80 new families to the SAS community last month. If you were among the newcomers, we hope that you were able to join us on January 20 at our midyear Newcomer Coffee at the Riady Performing Arts Center to learn more about SAS and our active PTA. If you were unable to attend the coffee, please stop by the PTA Sales shop during sales hours to pick up a PTA Welcome Packet. The PTA is here to assist in any way the transition to the SAS community. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about school life at SAS and we will do our best to help. Our contact information is listed in the PTA section of the SAS website. Even though our family is in our ninth year at SAS, I can still vividly recall the daunting feelings I experienced in the first few weeks as a newcomer. Fortunately, there were many PTA activities that I became involved in, starting as a classroom party volunteer in my son’s pre-k class, which helped me to quickly develop a network of friends that eased our settling in to the SAS community. Over the years, I have rotated through PTA roles as a

head room parent, theme basket coordinator for Food Fest, and my current role as PTA secretary in which I have responsibility for the PTA communications. I have enjoyed working with other enthusiastic volunteers who come together and enjoy each other’s company while at the same time raising funds in support of school programs. I encourage our newcomers to consider becoming a PTA volunteer; it’s fun and a great way to meet other parents! Whether you want to volunteer a little or a lot, your time is greatly appreciated. In January, Garima Lalwani, Hanis Hussey, and their dedicated team worked extremely hard to put on a fabulous Gala Dinner and Dance at the Singapore Marriott Hotel. It was an enchanting evening filled with great friends, food, and music. I want to thank all of the Gala Dinner and Dance volunteers who put so much time and effort into delivering a successful dinner and auction. County Fair on February 25 is an event not to be missed! For those new to SAS, the County Fair is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the PTA. Students, faculty, and parents join together in turning the school into a carnival of fun. Rides, games, foods of all types, vendors, and much more are provided by the PTA and its volunteers. Browse through over 10,000 books at the Used Book Sale, spend time watching some of the great entertainment provided by members of our community, and try your luck at the game booths! Please consider lending a hand at the County Fair. To volunteer, please email County Fair Chair Jodie Stone at This year has gotten off to a terrific start. The PTA looks forward to working with you to further develop the sense of community within SAS and to help shape a positive school experience for all of our children.

It’s a Shoot Out! continued from front cover

awarded certificates, and were proud to see the skills and sportsmanship displayed by all contestants. Scores and numbers of overall participants continue to improve. TheHigh School varsity basketball captains proved to be great role models and supporters by offering encouragement to the competitors and jumping down the occasional stuck ball. The PE department was delighted with the overall exuberance and cross division support throughout our large school. It is further proof of an even larger commitment to the spirit of the school wide community. Imagine, all this before the 8:00 a.m. morning bell! A big thanks to all involved. Stay tuned for the next IS PE event, the Awesome Ape Traverse Wall Climb, that will be held February 14-17.



IS Shoot Out Finalists Grade 3 Boys 1st: Mark L., 22 points 2nd: Alex L., 16 points 3rd: Benjamin M., 15 points

Grade 4 Girls 1st: Lucy K., 13 points 2nd: Apsara M., 12 points 3rd: Kayla K., 11 points

Grade 3 Girls 1st: Erica R., 14 points 2nd: Julia L., 10 points 3rd: Kara H., 8 points

Grade 5 Boys 1st: Justin B., 33 points 2nd: Cade S., 28 points 3rd: Andrew L., 19 points

Grade 4 Boys 1st: Reid T., 32 points 2nd: Christian H., 31 points 3rd: George B., 11 points

Grade 5 Girls 1st (Tie): Ally A., 24 points 1st (Tie): Archana V., 24 points Runner Up: Breann B., 18 points


SEE YOU AT THE COUNTY FAIR! February 25, 2012 10:45am – 4:00pm Come with family and friends and enjoy a day full of fun, food, games and more… This year COUNTY FAIR offers a very exciting range of events: Wear your limited edition Harley Davidson County Fair 2012 T-shirt! Pick yours up at the PTA sales office. Sales start January 16, 2012 OR can be purchased on the day of the County Fair. Limited sizes available! INDOOR & OUTDOOR GAMES: Back by popular demand, we have two H2O Walkers!!! Lots of fun and excitement for kids of all ages, and adults too, with indoor and outdoor games, as well as activities like Ring Toss, Bungee Trampoline, Gladiator, Kickball, Kiddie Train, Face Painting, Dunking Tanks, Bouncy Castle, etc… USED BOOKS: Great Value!!! Bargain Prices!!! There will be more than 17,000 titles to choose from at the Auxiliary Gym. Do come and explore the wide range of books in various genres. Come early for the best selection. SILENT AUCTION: We are hoping for record donations from the SAS community! Come to the HS Library and participate in the Silent Auction by bidding for lovely art and craft projects created by the kids. You can also bid on the generous service items donated by the SAS Faculty, Staff and SAS Parents. FOOD: High School Gym will feature delicious foods from the High School Clubs. A lot of restaurants, old favorites and some new restaurants offering mouth watering, lip smacking good food!!! Quench your thirst with ice blended drinks, smoothies, juices and sodas all over the fairgrounds!! A totally awesome Gastronomic treat!! Fresh Popcorn, Popsicles, Ice Creams and Cotton Candy available on the fairgrounds! BAKE SALE: Enjoy a wide variety of home baked goodies at the fair – yum, yum chocolaty brownies, muffins, cookies and many other sweet treats. We will have a Bake-Off Contest, stay tuned for more info. Many prizes to be won!! INDOOR & OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT: County Fair Entertainment begins at 10:45am with the opening ceremony. Be entertained by the many talents of the staff and student community of SAS. Enjoy music at the beautiful Memory Gardens. Come and be enthralled by the dazzling talent of the students from all the divisions of SAS at the HS/MS Auditorium. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Volunteering opportunities are available in the following committees: Coupon Sales, Games, Used Books, Silent Auction, Bake Sale, T-shirt Sales, Food & Drinks and Entertainment. Please contact the County Fair Chair, Jodie Stone ( or 8218.4286) for further information.






AppeAl 2012 Connecting Community For Every Child

Please join us for an evening of celebration in support of Singapore American School. This yearly event is the signature recognition and fundraising gala of the SAS Foundation. Proceeds of the evening benefit the SAS Annual Fund, which provides essential support for: • Academic enrichment • Extracurricular and experiential activities • Performing and visual arts • Athletic uniforms, equipment, and programs • Community service and service learning • Student financial aid • Visiting authors, artists, and world leaders • Technology initiatives • Travel for cultural, performing arts, and athletic events • The SAS endowment Saturday, April 14, 2012 7:00 p.m. Goodwood Park Hotel, Windsor Ballroom For more information or to purchase your seat or table, please contact the Singapore American School Advancement Office at +65 6360 6334 or

Put Star Appeal 2012 On Your Dance Card The Star Appeal Dinner is an annual celebration of all that is wonderful about SAS. The event, which will take place on April 14, is an evening for parents and faculty that showcases the talents of our students and honors the spirit of giving. Star Appeal is the primary fundraiser for the SAS Annual Fund, which is a vital part of the SAS Foundation. In the words of Superintendent Brent Mutsch, “The SAS Foundation makes a difference today AND tomorrow. It expands, extends, and enhances the learning opportunities of students today, and it ensures the financial future of the school.” Throughout the year, members of the SAS community organize and host activities that engage our families and also raise funds to support the students and programs at SAS. Altogether, our community raised more than $750,000 in 2010-11. This year, we hope to raise more than $1 million. Look around. Virtually everywhere on campus you see the benefit of giving. Philanthropy at SAS has a long history, beginning with the first gifts in the 1950s that led to the development of our wonderful campus in Woodlands. Today’s SAS experience is the result of the generosity of our predecessors. There are many ways to give to SAS. The PTA holds community-building and fundraising events throughout the year. The Booster Club raises funds to support high school athletics and activities. And there’s the Star Appeal Dinner, which is the major fundraiser for the SAS Annual Fund. Star Appeal 2012 is hosted by the Goodwood Park Hotel, and the costs are underwritten by the Khoo Teck Puat Foundation so that your gift has maximum benefit in supporting SAS. A dedicated group of parents, students, and teachers volunteer their time and talents to ensure a fun evening for all. Please join us at Star Appeal 2012. We’ll show you how your gifts make a difference and we’ll have a good time together. Thank you for your continued support and for all that you do for SAS.

Singapore IPC Registration No. 200813073R

United States Federal ID No. 13-6266797

Foundations Jeff Devens, Ph.D. HS Psychologist


his is where it all begins… I knew we weren’t going to like hearing the rest of the news.

My wife and I had just completed our first year working overseas at the International School of Beijing. With monies saved we planned on purchasing a lake cabin in North Dakota, arguably the best state in the Union, but Jerry had other thoughts. Jerry, by trade a cement worker with experience laying home foundations for well over 30 years, pulled the basement carpet back to reveal several jagged cracks in the concrete that ran from one side of the floor to the other. Scratching his head and sounding apologetic he noted, “The house looks nice from upstairs, but it’s down here that matters most. What happens with the foundation will ultimately reveal itself up there,” pointing to the ceiling above. He was right. The kitchen floor already had a strange slant, one that I had overlooked as cosmetic until Jerry confirmed otherwise. It mattered not what the bedroom, kitchen, or bathrooms looked like if the foundation of the home wasn’t secure, stable, and solid. “It’s from here,” he said, “that the rest of the house would be built.” Jerry’s pearls of wisdom, spoken some 15 years ago, still ring true in my ears as I sit across from families in crisis. Listening to stories of hurt, heartache, and pain, I often wonder what these families have built their lives upon. When the proverbial winds howl, rain falls, and the storms of life occur—and they will— foundations provide stability and security. Foundations also serve the purpose of preserving and protecting. From the moment of your child’s arrival, you are laying foundational stones upon which your children’s life and learning will be built. What are those stones? Before I write any further I want to be very clear on this point: Do not leave this up to academia! I write the preceding


words respectfully and humbly as psychologist, educator, and parent. While it is indeed true that schools offer a common set of guiding principles, sometimes termed values or character qualities, how these principles manifest varies markedly. In school settings much of the implementation of these principles is left to individual teachers. In most cases, your children will be fortunate to work with wonderful educators. Yet when it comes to questions regarding foundations I can assure you teachers, too, struggle with the implementation of what this means, even in their own lives. Laying foundations is hard but necessary work if parents are to raise healthy, responsible, independent kids. George Barna, pollster and author of more than 40 books regarding American culture, notes that in the past 20 years the ignoring or deemphasizing of foundations has produced five outcomes in American culture: ●● The absence of a shared vision of the future; ●● Confusion regarding appropriate values for decision-making; ●● The elimination of a sense of the common good; ●● The deterioration of respectful dialogue and the fruitful exchange of competing ideas; ●● And, the abandonment of moral character and personal decency. In many respects what is happening in America is a microcosm of what is taking place internationally. When parents abdicate their responsibility this does not mean their child’s foundation won’t be laid; it will. The question is, what will go into it. The solution is not as simplistic as spending time with your kids, but it is the starting point. Study after study supports the role parents play, for the good, in shaping and molding a young person’s life. To this end, foundations are built in the day-to-day. For example, in our


home one of our foundation stones is modeling to our son and daughter what realistic healthy love, in the form of marriage, looks like—warts and all. For the record, our kids are 6 and 2. Foundations are laid early! Sadly, the word love has been so bastardized by the media and culture that it is viewed primarily as emotional or sexual, yet it entails so much more. Our children won’t understand the differences unless our marriage models otherwise. Our love for one another then becomes the template by which we help them understand what respect, responsibility, compassion, honesty, fairness, communication (including conflict), forgiveness, passion, and so many other wonderful attributes that are derived from marriage look like. If we fail to cultivate, or violate, this most important of relationships, the cost will be a marring or distortion of love. The outworking of our marriage then provides for them a framework of what to look for in a potential mate 70 years from now when they are allowed to marry. (Ok, maybe 40 years from now.) Contrast this type of love with the media’s version, namely that of a teenage girl and a 104-yearold vampire, and you begin to understand just what parents are up against when it comes to competing worldviews. Author Charles Swindoll notes, “Love is like a river that flows between the banks of discernment and truth.” If love leaves its banks it has the potential to be highly destructive. Helping our children understand these boundaries is foundational to their healthy growth and development. Love is but one of the many foundational stones. The rallying point as a school and community regarding foundations comes in the form of a common voice and shared vision, namely in the core values or cornerstones. While we (school / community) will do our best to model these traits, ultimately how they work themselves out will be taught in the home. Foundations. You bet they matter.

Caring for Community Cats Jamie Alarcon Facilities & Services


rom the ancient Egyptian deity Bastet to the complete and utter feline domination of the internet, there’s no denying that many people are absolutely enthralled by cats. SAS students and staff are not immune to their charms. Even though the campus is a pet-free zone, cats have been known to wander in and claim the school for their own. While the cats are helping keep our rodent population in check, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The cats were having babies, and the increased population was leaving more surprises along the corridors than we would like. For these situations, spaying and neutering has been the solution of choice. About a year and a half ago, Vanessa Hardinge, EASA director, took a cat that had taken up residence in the Primary/Intermediate School

to the vet to be spayed. Last winter break, Maggie Chow and Henry Seow of the Facilities and Services Office worked with the Cat Welfare Society to “fix” another two cats.

rate of about 13,000, or about 36 cats rounded up and killed per day. In 2010, the population and annual culling rate have decreased to 60,000 and 5,100 respectively.

After spaying or neutering, Vanessa explains, cats become tamed or less aggressive. “They keep other cats away from their territory and they do not make as much noise as before,” she says.

Sterilization is widely considered to be humane, even by religions such as Buddhism and Islam. Besides the reduction of aggressive behaviors associated with mating (e.g., caterwauling, fighting, and spraying urine), it also reduces the cats’ risk of contracting some diseases including certain feline cancers, infections, and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

“If we evict them, this will only invite new cats to fill the void,” Henry says. “If the existing cats are sterilized, we can at least manage their numbers.” According to the Cat Welfare Society, fewer stray cats are being killed in Singapore since sterilization was introduced as a national program in 1998. Before 1998, the estimated stray cat population was 150,000 with an annual culling

Based on current experience, housekeeping resources are coping with the cat population. New strays will be sterilized if the population remains manageable; otherwise, they will be recommended for relocation or adoption.

A Tree of Books John Johnson HS Library Media Specialist


s in the past three years, the High School library built a book tree during the holiday season made up of seldomused reference books as a festive greeting to library patrons. High School students were invited to guess the number of books in the tree; some books were hidden inside. Winners received gift vouchers from Kinokunuiya Bookstore. Third prize went to Ellitot Tan who guessed 870. Sharma Nihaarika and Vicente Valenzuela each guessed 876 to tie for second. Nancy Li was the first prize winner with a guess of 888, just five off the actual total of 883. Congratulations to all! We hope to build another tree and hold another contest in December 2012.




Booster Club Michelle Goulding Booster Club Secretary

Serving as Secretary of the Booster Club this year has been a pleasure. I have volunteered on the executive board of the Eagles Booster Club for four of our five years here at SAS. While the duties include recording the minutes of our monthly meetings and distributing communication, there is the ongoing opportunity to work together with all those who give of their time in support of students and enrichment of their experience at SAS. Most of our community at SAS has a strong sense of the Booster Club’s presence through the Booth located in the High School, which is visible and staffed with parent volunteers. However, there is a multitude of ways that school spirit and community involvement are fostered through activities and events throughout the year. Perhaps the tantalizing aroma of the barbeque has drawn you to the grill during the pep rally or Homecoming games as our Barbeque and Concessions Committee prepared the burgers and hotdogs. Have you enjoyed snacks and refreshments during the visual and performing arts receptions where parents and students can share in the celebration of their accomplishments?

Trivia Night


oosters SAS-sy Social’s very first Trivia Night was held on Friday, November 18 in the newly renovated Middle School cafeteria. The evening was hosted by one of our very own teachers, Mr. Mark Clemens, who did a wonderful job of organizing all the questions and categories that ranged from sports, video games, nuclear politics, the 1980s, dictators, and finally, music. Prizes were award for the best dressed table, which this year was “The Nerds” who attended the event in costume and with all their school paraphernalia: books, globe, satchels, pigtails, and glasses! The winning trivia table also won a prize generously donated by Rob Locket of Benchmark Wines who also provided the wine for the evening. Dinner was served by Mr. Hoe, and Brewerkz generously donated the beer. Also, lovely raffle items were donated from a variety of sponsors, all of which made for an exciting evening of trivia and a successful fundraising effort on behalf of the SAS Booster Club. We hope to continue the tradition next year!



Our Booster Honor Roll Luncheon Committee works diligently with a team of parent volunteers to recognize the academic achievement of students in the High School by providing a special luncheon and donated home baked desserts three times per school year. Working closely with the Athletics Department, the Sports Team Coordinator serves to assist team parents in providing information and support to the teams as per the coaches’ wishes. Coolers brimming with Gatorade and oranges were pre-ordered, organized, and distributed to visiting teams during the first season 30th anniversary of IASAS. This provided a means to further interact with visiting parents and provide hospitality during this well-attended event. Through the activities I have highlighted, as well as countless others, the community comes together, becomes acquainted with one another, and serves the students in the High School at SAS. The Booster Club seeks to build a stronger school spirit and provide support for the endeavors of the high school student body and a rewarding experience for all involved. On behalf of the Booster Club, I welcome you to attend our monthly Booster Club meetings (scheduled as per the SAS school calendar) so you can learn about what events are planned and how you can engage in this volunteer opportunity and support the efforts.

Booster Club

Booster Club

SAS Booster Club Fall 2011

Now Get Ready for Spring 2012 Booster Club Activities!

January ۰ Fashion Show ۰ 2nd Season Pep Rally BBQ February ۰ 2nd Qtr Honor Roll Luncheon ۰ Spirit items on sale at County Fair Booth March ۰ Japanese Food & Western Dessert Bake Sale ۰ Hosting Concert Receptions April ۰ Hosting Drama, Art & Dance Receptions ۰ 3rd Season Pep Rally BBQ ۰ IASAS Softball BBQs, ۰ Hosting 3rd Qtr Honor Roll Luncheon ۰ Chinese Food & Western Dessert Bake Sale May ۰ Boosters Home Tour ۰ Hosting Art & Concert Receptions ۰ Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon ۰ Free Popcorn Day June ۰ Senior Luncheon ۰ Last Day Sales at the Intermediate School

The year is half over, but there is plenty to look forward to. Support the Booster Club activities or volunteer to help. We’d love to hear from you!




Debut Children’s Literature Conference Nancy Johnson Grade 8 RLA Teacher


hat do you get when you bring together a Caldecott Medal recipient, a Boston Globe Horn Book award winner for nonfiction, a two-time Pura Belpré Medal winner, and a Parents’ Choice Silver Award winner? You get an exciting debut conference on children’s bookwriting and illustration on the SAS campus. The weekend of February 17-19 brings two awardwinning authors—Candace Fleming and Pam Muñoz Ryan—and two acclaimed illustrators—Harry Bliss and Eric Rohmann—to our campus for the firstever literature conference geared toward adults who are interested in learning more about the inspiration and process of writing and illustrating literature for children and teens. The conference opens with a reception on Friday afternoon, February 17, and continues with speaker sessions and book signings on Saturday, February 18. Optional half-day writing and art workshops occur Sunday, February 19.

Is this conference for you? It is if you’d like to revel in how and why top notch literature for children and teens works, if you’re eager to learn more about the process and the craft of writing and illustration, and if you’re interested in the allure and magic of picture books and novels. Still not sure if this is an event for you? It is if you would enjoy a glimpse into the minds and talents of folks who choose to write and illustrate for children and teens, and if you enjoy inspiration for yourself as well as for the young people in your life. Conference fees (including reception, continental breakfast, and lunch) are $125. Optional workshops on Sunday, February 19 cost an additional $50. Reduced rates are available for SAS teachers. The registration deadline is February 12. After that date, please send an email to Nancy Johnson at to ascertain if there are spaces available. For more information and online registration go to

Featured Children’s Literature Conference Speakers Harry Bliss Readers of The New Yorker will be familiar with Bliss’s work through magazine covers he has illustrated. His first children’s book, A Fine, Fine School by Newbery-award winning author Sharon Creech, was a New York Times bestseller. Bliss recently wrote and illustrated Bailey. Bliss also illustrated Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, a #1 New York Times bestseller. His first solo book, Luke on the Loose, is a graphic novel for emerging readers. He holds degrees in illustration from The University of the Arts and Syracuse University, and lives in South Burlington, Vermont.


Candace Fleming Acclaimed author of numerous books for children and young adults, Candace Fleming’s books span the genres, from awardwinning biographies such as Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart to Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt. This versatile and acclaimed author of over twenty books has garnered numerous awards including the 2009 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Nonfiction for The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary and numerous state awards for the beloved Boxes for Katje. Fleming currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois.


Eric Rohmann Recipient of the prestigious Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit and a Caldecott Honor for Time Flies, Eric Rohmann’s picture books hold broad appeal. Well-respected as an artist, author, and teacher, Rohmann’s most recent book, Bone Dog, garnered starred reviews, as have earlier books, including A Kitten Tale and The Cindereyed Cats. He has taught drawing, painting, and printmaking and served as a speaker at conferences around the world. Rohmann holds degrees in fine arts from Arizona State University and Illinois State University and lives in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

Pam Muñoz Ryan Author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, Pam Muñoz Ryan has garnered accolades including the Pura Belpré Medal for The Dreamer and for Esperanza Rising. She has also written awardwinning picture books, including When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson illustrated by Brian Selznick. Her newest picture book is Tony Baloney. In 2010 she was honored with the Virginia Hamilton Award for Multicultural Literature and is two-time recipient of the Willa Cather Literary Award for Writing. Muñoz Ryan lives in North San Diego County, California.

All Hands On Deck for Eagle Ceremony Liam S. Grade 8 Student and BSA Troop 07, Singapore


ver the past few years the aircraft carrier USS George Washington has docked in Singapore many times. During its October visit it provided an exceptional venue for an Eagle Ceremony held in its hangar. The special event took place aboard the USS George Washington while the carrier was in port at Changi Naval Base. The Eagle Ceremony honored Scout Oscar Adelman. The tribute bestowed the highest rank in scouting, Eagle Scout, to Oscar, a sophomore at Singapore American School. Oscar joined Troop 07 almost two years ago when his family moved to Singapore. While he had always hoped to achieve Eagle Scout, he had never dreamed that the ceremony might take place on a U.S. aircraft carrier accompanied by 14 sailors, officers, and scoutmasters onboard who had also achieved the award, forming the Eagle’s Nest to welcome their newest member. “Having my Eagle Court of Honor on the USS George Washington was a privilege not only because of the awesome setting, but also because it allowed me to be around so many fellow Eagle Scouts, who were members of the ship’s crew,” he said after the ceremony. Oscar started Scouting with Troop 18 in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004 when he was nine years old. He said that from the beginning he had hoped to make a contribution to society. He added that his Eagle project, in which he supported the refurbishment of a village school in southern Thailand, helped him play an active role in benefiting people in need. “I learned that my hard work could make a big difference in the lives of others,” he said. Although Troop 07 has held more than 50 Eagle Ceremonies over the years, this was unique. Uniformed sailors welcomed the Scouts as they

walked the gangplank to the hangar of the USS George Washington. Two F-18 fighter jets flanked the stage and seats. Behind the stage hung two-story-tall American and Singapore flags. The color guard for the ceremony was comprised of one Scout and five sailors, all of whom were Eagle Scouts themselves.

recent flooding in Thailand. The group was invited to ride to the flight deck on a giant elevator platform that usually moves aircraft. Our guide, a friendly and knowledgeable Navy officer, explained that the elevator could lift two F-18s the nearly three stories from the hangar to the flight deck in a blistering nine seconds.

Shortly after the ceremony, the Scouts and their families received a guided tour of the carrier. It was hard to tell who was more excited, the Scouts or their fathers! The GW, as the USS George Washington is nicknamed, is a Nimitz Class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is the largest naval vessel in the world. Of course its main purpose is military, but it is used also for humanitarian relief, such as after the tsunami in Japan and the

Once on the flight deck, the troop got up close and personal with the aircraft onboard, even touching the F-18s, helicopters, and cargo planes that lined the deck. Then the visitors headed up to the bridge to see how the ship’s commander, Captain David A. Lausman, and his staff control the ship. In honor of his achievements, our guide invited Oscar, the newest Eagle Scout from Troop 07, to sit in the captain’s chair. Now he truly was atop the Eagle’s Nest!




Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

Crossroads February 2012  
Crossroads February 2012  

Crossroads is published bi-monthly during the academic year by the communications office of Singapore American School. It is distributed fre...