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CAP TURI N G M OM E NTS THROUG H P HOTOG RAP HY: AC CL AIM ED PHO TO G RAPHER S C O TT A. WO O DWARD TAL K S L IF E-CHAN G IN G M O M EN TS , IN S PIRATIO N , AN D G IVIN G BACK THRO U G H S O AR


On the cover We partnered with photographer and Nikon ambassador Scott A. Woodward to capture the beauty of our rainforest and highlight the rainwater harvesting Catalyst project designed by Micaela Tam (Class of 2016). In order to “create” rain, we had someone just off screen with a hose “watering” the set to create the perfect blend of rain and sun! Read more about the acclaimed Scott A. Woodward as he shares his life-changing moments, behind-the-scenes commentary on some of his iconic photographs, and giving back to the SAS community, on page 11.

Online sas.edu.sg/publications

Editorial team Kyle Aldous Kinjal Shah Vanessa Spier

Design team Haziq Hairoman Amos Ong

Communications interns Sandhya Bala, Class of 2017 Clara Fong, Class of 2017

Contact communications@sas.edu.sg

Connect

© 2017 Singapore American School All rights reserved.


Correction: The article “The Student Has Become the Teacher� in our December issue misidentified the author. SAS senior and communications intern Sandhya Bala wrote the piece. Our apologies!

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CONTENTS 01

What About Me?

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Interim Semester 2017

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Captivating Classrooms: Makerspace

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Scoreboard

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Then and Now: Student Council

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Alumni: A Culinary Journey Leads Home

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Five Minutes with Lisa Hogan

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Alumni: From Student to Peacemaker

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Word on the Street

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Alumni: Dedicated to the Craft

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Talk like TEDx

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Name that Teacher

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Making Beautiful Music Together: AMIS

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Notable Mentions

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Advanced Topic

Featured 37

Todd Parred!


By D r. C H I P K I M B A L L Superintendent

WHAT AB

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone c Singapore American School has some phenomenal students. Period. If you read our Perspectives blog or Journeys magazine on a regular basis, you are probably blown away by some of our students’ achievements. I certainly am. But there is a lingering thought that may run through a parent’s or student’s mind when we talk about our programs and changes ahead: what about me? What if my child isn’t one of the academic, athletic, or service standouts? What if my child hasn’t hit their stride or is a late bloomer? What if my child struggles? As the school continues to change and evolve, will my child be left behind? What about me?!

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These are fair questions, and ones that our school leadership, faculty, and staff are deeply committed to answering. For me, these questions are more than a theoretical construct. This is deeply personal. I was one of those kids that was left behind. As an adolescent I was a kid that felt like I didn’t fit. While I was fully capable of doing well in school, there was a lack of connection for me. I was often isolated and lonely, and had developed a serious absentee problem as a result. My grades had tanked, I was unengaged, and while bright, I was seriously at risk. In fact, I barely graduated from high school.


BOUT ME?

could give another person; he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

A number of factors changed my focus and my life, most notably the eventual investment by people around me that believed in me, expected the best I had, and who profoundly influenced me. Even when I questioned my own abilities, they never gave up on me. They knew when to push hard, and when to encourage with great care and comfort. They cared. We see this frequently in educational research. When students run into academic challenges, one thing that can get them over those challenges—regardless of their particular academic or personal skillset—is relationships.

When kids feel that their teachers believe in them and care about them, then even when there is a substantive struggle, they will step up to the plate and give it a try. And when that happens, even when they run into bumps along the way, they will usually experience success. And while that success is different for every kid, the trajectory is often the same – moving forward in their development and maturity. One of the three strategic anchors at SAS is extraordinary care. SAS does this exceptionally well. I honestly believe that if I were attending SAS today, while I may not have been academically successful with every challenge, I am sure that I would have experienced success at SAS, and it would have changed the trajectory of my life.

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WHAT AB SAS also has a strategic anchor of excellence. And with this anchor comes high expectations, contributing to much of our success. We are proud of our students and school, and will continue to strive towards outstanding outcomes, encouraging students to reach their full potential. But we will not do this at the expense of care, but rather with extraordinary care. This is the secret sauce of SAS.

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This is where I’m most proud of our team. Much of the programmatic work that we are doing is based upon a foundation of deep relationships with students. Our team is fully committed to making sure every student has a place, every student feels connected, is challenged, is cared for, and that the potential of every student is identified. We know that without this, even the most innovative programs will not make the intended impact.

At SAS we celebrate the diversity of our students. We know that in order for all kids to experience success, we must know them well and give them room to fully explore who they are, and what they are capable of.

We’ve seen tremendous results already in our high school advisory program, which has given us another way to reach students that might be struggling and need to feel connected.

So how do we ensure that every child is well served? Every single one? Every is hard in a community of 4,000 learners within a diverse student population.

Our Catalyst projects and Quest program are engaging students in powerful ways by allowing kids to apply their learning in projects that they find personally meaningful. We are seeing more

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BOUT ME? choice and personalized interest-based projects throughout the school in every grade level, and our students are more and more excited to jump into areas of learning they can choose.

After-school activities are another foundational way to connect with kids and build relationships that will see them through many of their adolescent challenges. With nearly 100 activities or clubs in every division, I love that there is an activity for every kid at SAS. And the teachers that lead those make great connections. While learning readiness is dependent on knowledge, understanding, and skills, we must remember that readiness is also influenced by a student’s previous experiences, learning successes—or failures—outlook, cultural norms, social skills, and learning style. By truly knowing our students well, we can better

reach kids where they are and in a way they can understand.

In the last five years, we’ve come a long way in building systems to know our students well and provide learning experiences that truly engage them. When I think about myself as a teenager at the Singapore American School of today—or even more so, the SAS of 2020—I believe my path would have been different. I am hopeful that when nearly any student or parent asks “What about me?” that we can confidently find the courses, the activities, and most importantly, the teacher relationships that connect with them to help them realize success.

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Middle School

Inside the middle school library you will find a tale of two sides. There is a quiet side and then there is the side where Mr. James McMullen and Mr. Shahrin Aripin are designing, creating, building, and making a little noise. The middle school makerspace has become a haven for students to come and learn how to fashion cigar box guitars, build bamboo bikes, paint figurines, and basically create anything they can think of!

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Makerspace


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Need to replace a button on a shirt? Print it. Want to make a little present for mom? Print it. Want a ring, earrings, or some other accessory? Print it. Need a frisbee for the squishy courts? Well, you get the idea.

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Not only can you come build your own guitar, but Mr. McMullen and Mr. Aripin are both skilled musicians themselves and they can show you how to put your new creation to good use.

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No makerspace is complete without a shelf that has all of the little odds and ends you just might need. Tape, scissors, gorilla glue, paper, old scrap metal, wood chips, markers, and more are all just waiting to be used.

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Wacom is an everyday name in design firms around the world. Grab a stylus and start sketching before you begin construction.

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Then 1965

Senior class officers from 1965, Jim Baker, Joubert Kristofferson, and Eric Lapp stand in front of the original school plaque. Student council was part of the school from 1956, with the first year’s leadership noted as “one of benevolence and good organization.” Student council handled all schedules and funds related to student activities, planned a senior week, organized dances and social events, and even threw surprise birthday parties for the head of school. Creating a warm and friendly student atmosphere was their wider goal.

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Now 2017

Last year, the high school division adopted a house structure to make the school feel smaller and create inter-grade connections. Student council adapted their structure to reflect the three new houses. Now, each house has one president and vice president and six representatives (with at least one from each grade). Student council’s mission remains to promote school spirit, support student activities, foster community, and facilitate communication among students and between students, faculty, and administration. They plan the high school’s Amazing Race, Elimination Week, Survivor, and Decathlon, in addition to pep rallies, house meetings, student forums, spirit events, principal meetings, and more.

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Feeling inspired to replicate a Mr. Hoe classic at home? Find the full recipe at www.sas.edu.sg/recipe.

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By S A N D H YA B A L A A N D C L A R A F O N G Communications Interns

Second grade teacher Lisa Hogan has been working at SAS since 2009 when she began as a substitute teacher. At one point all five of her children were attending SAS and she had kids in every division. Learn more about Lisa and her story below! What is your favorite restaurant in Singapore? Din Tai Fung.

What is your ideal vacation? Anywhere with my family.

Where is home for you? Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What is the best gift you have received? My husband gave me a mother’s ring for my 40th birthday. It has all five of my children’s names and birthstones. I wear it everyday.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? Time manipulation – being able to control time, slow it down, rewind, and replay. Not to go to the future, but controlling time to reflect and remember. Why did you want to be a teacher? To encourage and inspire a love of learning in children. What is one piece of advice that you give all elementary school students? Be in the moment…see…think and wonder. What is the most exciting part of the school year for you? Every day is a gift! What motivates you? My family, students, nature, seeing growth. What is the best part about your job? Spending my day learning alongside our remarkable students. If your life was a movie, who would play you? Judy Garland – “There is no place like home.” Where were you before Singapore? Shanghai, China.

What do you weekends usually look like? Family time, sleep, grocery shopping, preparing for the school week ahead, more sleep, walking the puppies, and maybe a trip to Din Tai Fung! What is one goal you have yet to achieve this school year? To leave the classroom before dark. Who is your role model? My mother who taught me the power of words, the importance of kindness, and value of our attention. Tell us about your experiences working in the United States and how they compare to Singapore. Teaching in Colorado, Texas, and Pennsylvania were remarkable opportunities rich with a variety of students, curriculum, and professional growth. But SAS offers an experience like no other. Our cultural diversity with curriculum from the United States, paired with a genuine appreciation and respect for the global perspectives of our staff and students is singular. We are all learners. We are future focused and our future is filled with infinite possibilities.

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A ccl a i m e d P h oto g ra ph e r

S C OT T A . W O O D WA R D Ta l k s L i fe - C h ang ing M o m e n t s, I n sp ira t io n, a nd G i v i n g B a ck Throug h S OA R

By VANESSA SPIER Director of Strategic Communications “You never know if you never go.” Those favorite motivational words uttered by Scott A. Woodward’s father would echo throughout his life’s journey. Thankfully, life rewards the curious, and Woodward’s courageous decision to live an adventure that many only dare to dream has brought both professional success and personal satisfaction.

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As part of Nikon’s series, I Am Eyes of Nikon, Woodward and Mike Rogers (Class of 2000) set out to teach viewers about which NIKKOR lens is right for them through a series of short films with integrated photography. This shot was from one of seven locations across Mongolia and for it, Woodward spent the day with a camel herder on the dunes. Woodward noted, “It was this crazy cacophony of sand, pounding hooves, flying camel hair…it was pretty electric. They came careening past me, within just a couple of feet of my camera.”

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In the second year of the SAS SOAR campaign, photo subjects transcended beyond student stories to include some of the passionate, dedicated educators that make it all possible. From singing as a young girl to soaring as a solo opera performer on stage at Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore, Kristin Symes continues to live her dream while inspiring the next generation of singers. As the middle school choir director, Symes is the embodiment of one of her favorite roles, Miss Wordsworth a comical teacher passionate about her students and bursting with energy. The shot set out to show how teachers like Symes are encouraged to develop their own passions, so that they can inspire students with the techniques and skills necessary to live their own dreams. The best part? The photography crew and communications team was treated to hearing Symes sing opera in Chinese as the shoot commenced.

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Woodward’s roommate at Queen’s University in Canada (coincidentally now an SAS parent) had grown up in Hong Kong and opened Woodward’s eyes to a whole world beyond his small town upbringing. He recounts, “When I was a kid, I went to the aquarium, and when he was a kid he went scuba diving in the Philippines. He was a rock star to me and he really piqued my curiosity about the rest of the world.” Shortly after his first year, Woodward borrowed money from his father to buy a ticket to Hong Kong, “turning up the volume” on life. “I still remember the feeling, the frenetic energy, the excitement, the smells, the sounds, the colors. That was the moment that changed the course of my life.”

SCOTT’S TIPS FOR IPHONE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Be a tourist in your own city. Singapore is as fascinating to someone who lives in Melbourne as Melbourne is to someone who lives in Singapore. There are fascinating places and characters and stories in every place. Shoot often and practice where you are.

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When Oliver Stone came to lecture at the Singapore campus of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Woodward was called upon to photograph him exclusively for The Rake magazine. Set at a private villa in the beautiful Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, in one of their Rolls-Royce Phantom limousines, Woodward had a couple of hours to capture the essence of the three-time Oscar winner and four-time Golden Globe winner.

Woodward’s father is an accomplished amateur photographer and taught his son the basics of picture making, but Woodward cites the trip to Hong Kong as the point when photography became his voice.

that if that was my answer, what the heck was I doing with my life?”

After university, he returned to Asia for a year of travel – with his camera. During his travels, he was offered a job with Coca-Cola in Singapore. Moving across the globe, he spent several years with the company before joining American Express. Throughout those years, photography was a passion, albeit a somewhat secret one. Shortly after turning 29, a series of events would change the trajectory of Woodward’s career path.

For the second year of the SAS SOAR campaign, Woodward and the SAS team set out to tell the story of how students like Bianca Antonio leverage their interests to differentiate themselves over and above academic excellence. For Bianca Antonio, the combination of advanced mathematics and progressive art was the perfect equation for a beautiful future, and her portfolio, passion, and purpose earned her acceptance to Brown University as a structural engineering major. Woodward created a situational portrait in the art studio with one of Bianca’s projects, which, as a 3D sculpture called Nike, itself soared.

At a company Chinese New Year dinner, a table game asked each dinner guest what they would do that would bring them joy if they no longer needed to work for money. Woodward says he declared for the first time that he would travel around the world and take pictures. He notes, “That answer surprised even me. I had never said that out loud. And I remember coming home that night and laying in bed thinking to myself

Fast-forward one year. While celebrating his 30th birthday, he received a call from a distraught colleague who had been caught in the Asian tsunami. The events of that fateful day combined with a new milestone in his life confronted him with a realization. If ever there was a time to take a chance in life, this was it. He decided then to quit his job, and he’s never looked back. Woodward recalls, “I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew how to build a brand – I had learned that from two of the best companies in the world. I took that knowledge and applied it to build another brand: my own. It was a powerful thing because I got to think about what my brand would stand for.”

SCOTT’S TIPS FOR IPHONE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Remain true to yourself and photograph what inspires you. If you are passionate about a certain type of photography, go for it. Whether it is food or people or landscapes, it doesn’t matter.

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The owner of Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse presented Woodward one of his most interesting briefs: to create photos of wild animals from the menu alongside beautiful female models, shot within the confines of the restaurant. Woodward partnered with Andrea Claire (see next page) to conceptualize ideas they could execute. With all the animals digitally illustrated and composited in postproduction, Woodward said this was the most challenging creative assignment he’s ever undertaken. 17 JOURNEYS

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A few years in, Woodward was already experiencing success, but he continued to stay open to new adventures that would come his way. At an SAS homecoming alumni basketball game with wife and SAS teacher Stacey Jensen, alumni Matt and Vicki Rogers (Class of 1995) introduced him to Matt’s brother, Mike (Class of 2000), a documentary filmmaker who was setting up a production company in Singapore. The two hit it off and soon Woodward was on his way to Bhutan to make still photography to promote Mike’s documentary, Shooting for Democracy. Woodward counts that first trip to Bhutan as the most amazing photographic experience of his life, and National Geographic Magazine might agree. Woodward’s photo of novice monks running down a hill would go on to be chosen as a double page spread in National Geographic December 2008. That spontaneous moment captured in a single frame has been reprinted dozens of times in publications around the world and remains Woodward’s most favorite picture ever taken.

world. With work featuring regularly in international publications such as Condé Nast Traveller, GEO, GQ Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and VOGUE, and international advertising campaigns for global brands that include Adidas, Bacardi, Google, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, and Nestle, Woodward stays busy. Living in Singapore offers him all the inspiration he needs. Woodward says, “I’m still moved by the dynamism and vibrancy of Asia and of our back yard. It is so diverse; it has Technicolor India, minimalist Japan, ancient Cambodia, rugged Tibet, enigmatic North Korea, and on and on and on…undoubtedly, living here and working here and shooting here has shaped my visual aesthetic and influenced my photographic style.”

Woodward’s commercial success and private creative collaborations continue to make a mark in the photography

SOAR Hair Stylist and Make Up Artist

ANDREA CLAIRE 19 JOURNEYS

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With some serious support from the SAS facilities team, a Genie lift hoisted Woodward high in the sky for the first shot of the first SOAR campaign. He sought to photograph a quad copter built by SAS students from a unique angle, but there was just one problem: instead of hovering gently under the Woodward’s camera, the quad copter zipped towards an athletics field teeming with elementary-school students blissfully unaware and enjoying Play Day. When it crash-landed and some wondered if the photo shoot could be salvaged, the students circled around unfazed, getting right to work to fix it. Just as important as programs that enable students to design and test prototypes, they learn how to meet deadlines, work under pressure, work as a team, and never give up. Student learning was on full display in the best ways that day, and in the end, Woodward was able to capture a stunning shot of the quad copter and robotics students. The SOAR campaign was officially born.

Andrea Claire is not only a 27-year veteran beauty expert with extensive print, runway, and on-air makeover experience, she is also an SAS parent. Her talent and hard work have presented her with opportunities to work in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Singapore, Thailand, and Toronto. Andrea has years of experience both on-camera and behind the scenes in television. She has also co-starred on seven seasons of the makeover shows Canada’s Stylin’ Gypsies and So Chic and has led teams for Canadian Idol where she was featured on-air as the Idols’ hairstylist. She has also been seen on Asia’s Next Top Model [cycle one], Cash Cab Asia [celebrity episode] and Glam Up! YAHOO! [Asia].

Claire also has vast advertising and editorial portfolios, which include campaigns for Lancôme, L’Oreal, P & G, Revlon, and Unilever and spreads in Bazaar, Cosmo, Elle, Fashion, GLOW, L’Officiel, and more. Woodward and Claire met in 2008 on the set of a fashion shoot for Wedding and Travel magazine in Thailand and have collaborated for nearly a decade. Woodward says emphatically, “She is the most talented hair and make up stylist I’ve ever worked with, bar none. She’s visionary and extremely talented and we work well together.” See more of her work at aclairebeauty.com. 20


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A passion for capturing the life of the region eventually landed Woodward his own television series on The History Channel. In Around the World with Voyager, Woodward sailed the region on a 187-foot luxury yacht, stopping along ports of early 20th century traders. Woodward learned about celebrated local icons and their lives, while documenting their personal journeys through definitive portraits at each of five milestone locations.

Woodward says, “My philosophy is that if SAS calls, I always answer. This is an institution that has been very good to my wife and me, and being part of this community means that you give back. I believe in that.”

Woodward often cites the magic of capturing real stories, and that is where the creative partnership with Singapore American School began. For years, Woodward supported the school in a variety of ways. He and wife Stacey, then an SAS middle school RLA teacher, launched the first READ posters that inspired students by showing what teachers loved to read. He has delivered talks to photography classes and yearbooks students, judged the Interim Semester photography contest, delivered the keynote at Model United Nations, hosted mentor sessions with communications interns, and even called upon SAS students to collaborate in coding part of his new website.

SAS began identifying students who had unique stories to tell or were able to pursue their passions and achieve levels of excellence. The team wanted to visually show how SAS students are able to soar, in perspectives and styles that were unexpected and fresh. Woodward brought creativity and quality not typically seen in independent school photography and helped to update the school’s visual brand identity to complement other forward-looking strategic work.

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When the communications team approached Woodward about photographing the school’s first formal brand and advertising campaign, themed ‘SOAR’, he jumped on board.


Woodward and Mike Rogers (Class of 2000) were on assignment for Nikon on a trek along the Druk path in Bhutan’s Himalayan Mountains. With 10 local guides and 25 packhorses, they climbed to Jimi Langtso Lake at 3,880 meters, which, when they arrived to the campsite that night, had no snow. They awoke the next morning to 18 inches of snow and were forced to turn around. While the guides packed up, the sun came out to allow Woodward to make this photograph – one of 5,000 he shot on the trip.

SCOTT’S TIPS FOR IPHONE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Work hard to develop a personal style, a photographic style, or something that you can be known for visually. Practice makes perfect. And digital photography is free!

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As part of the series, I Am Eyes of Nikon, Woodward set out to shoot short vignettes, each one highlighting a different NIKKOR lens. The lens for this shot was the 70-200mm, and Woodward thought motorcross was a perfect way to show it off. A motorcycle enthusiast himself, Woodward was impressed with the skill and athleticism his subjects showed in the dunes and noted how the rooster tails of sand shot up by bikes was the perfect way to show speed. This was part of the same project as the camel herders in Mongolia.

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Woodward says, “The best stories are the real stories. And SAS offers us 5,000 real stories. One of the exciting things about working with the school is that I feel we’ve grown together during this project. I love that we’ve come up with these ideas together, that SAS has given me so much creative freedom and a lot of trust in the images we’ve made…the evolution has been exciting. I’m very proud of the work that we’ve made. It’s authentic and it’s wonderful.” To see more of Woodward’s work, visit scottawoodward.com.

SCOTT’S FAVORITE AND ONLY PHOTO EDITING APP: SNAPSEED “I don’t look to over-process. My philosophy is that an app can make a good photo great, but it can’t make a bad photo good. My Instagram feed is really about documenting my adventures, and I’m not looking to make it look like something it didn’t. And once you learn how to use your iPhone well, you learn to shoot for how you envision your photograph to look.”

SCOTT’S TIPS FOR IPHONE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Experiment and push yourself outside your comfort level. Shoot high. Shoot low. Shoot without the flash. Shoot into the sun. Get close to your subjects. The more creative you get, the more you learn about what works and what doesn’t and the better your pictures will become.

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Sally J, Sixth Grade Austin N, Eleventh Grade

Having to adapt to living in a new country without my mom and sister, who were in the states for cancer treatment.

Brandon P, Third Grade

Faith J, Seventh Grade

My siblings went bungy jumping and I was too small. I had to sit out.

Having lacrosse be a huge part of my life and then moving to Singapore where it’s been hard to even find a place to practice.

What is the hardest thing

y

ou

Isabella M, Fifth Grade

Getting over my fear of roller coasters.

’v e

n o d ever

Living away from my family because my family doesn’t live with me here.

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By S A N D H YA B A L A AND CLARA FONG Communications Interns

Tyler A, Eighth Grade

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Snorkeling with sharks.

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Climbing an adultsized rock climbing wall.

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Duke D, Fourth Grade

Anika G, Second Grade

Sleeping, I can’t ever sleep.

Pablo N, Third Grade

I still don’t really know how to use chopsticks.

Alisha B, Eighth Grade

Moving to a new country.


# sasedu

Want to see your Instagram photos, Facebook posts, or tweets here in Journeys ? Start using #sasedu in everything you post about the school!

@cuthbertalison Jr. Journalists interviewing the amazing @toddparr today @SAmericanSchool #sasedu @bensummerton

@mr.pceramics Learning taiko drum. #sasedu #drum #japan

@100WomenSG Aidha provides various training programs for foreign domestic workers & lowerincome women. It’s not too late to donate. #100WomenSG #sasedu

@petergcuthbert Rugby season has begun #rugby #rugby7s #sport #coaching #movement #sasedu

@USEmbassyDili Delighted 2 host @SAmericanSchool group at @USEmbassyDili today! Great questions on politics #SASedu! Enjoy #TimorLeste & see u in 2018!

@mrmundensinsta Your 2017 teacher field day tug-of-war champions #sasedu

@sasdigitalmedia Trippy and awesome #twitter #sasmsadt #sasedu

@SAmericanSchool Great session with the Singapore American School! #SASEdu #vandaboxing #vandafamily

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By KYLE ALDOUS Director of Communications

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Improv impacts every moment of every day. The key to success is learning to play by the rules. Check out these tips from improv professionals and elevate your game today.

There are thousands of students around the world enrolled in top MBA programs at Duke, MIT, and Stanford, top medical schools like Mount Sinai or Northwestern, and top law schools like the University of Chicago, all taking the same class. What one class has become an integral part of graduate level work across such a broad spectrum of fields? Here’s a hint. The class looks more like an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? than Grey’s Anatomy or Law and Order. Improv. Why are future lawyers, doctors, and entrepreneurs required to take a comedy class for performers? “Life itself is improvised,” says high school theater teacher Thomas Schulz. Each morning when you wake up you begin a series of interactions that requires you to be able to adjust, adapt, and evolve. It doesn’t matter how well planned your day is, everything can change in

an instant. An accident on the morning commute, an irritated boss, a friend who calls out of the blue, a client who doesn’t show for a meeting. The list goes on and on. Some days feel like one long series of unanticipated events, conversations, and opportunities that require us to adjust along the way. Improv is not strictly a comedic skill meant to entertain. Simply, improv is the ability to adapt to a new and sometimes rapidly changing situation, with poise and control. For the past six years Mr. Schulz has taught high school students the same improvisation techniques that graduate level students are now required to take. Schulz estimates that while maybe 2 percent of SAS students go on to pursue a career in theater, every single improv student can apply what they learn in class for the rest of their lives at home, with friends, and professionally, no matter what field they find themselves in. “Students tell me that not only has it helped them in other classes, especially with presentations, but also in their personal lives with friends,” says Schulz.

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Just in case you don’t have the opportunity to take improv with Schulz in high school or with Ms. Leanne Fulcher in middle school, here are seven ways improv can help you learn to handle the daily twists life presents.

1. CONNECT THE DOTS Improv, like basketball, business, and life, is a team sport. Delivering a funny line isn’t the goal. The goal is to connect with the people you are performing with and the audience you are performing for. The same is true of your interactions each day. Are you truly connecting with those around you? It is the connections that ultimately lead everyone to enjoy the interaction.

2. LISTEN LIKE YOU MEAN IT How many times do you formulate your answer to a question while the question is being asked? The problem with crafting answers or comments while someone else is speaking is that we may often miss what was actually being said and the nuances accompanying the delivery of the message. Stephen R. Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Active listening allows you to fully understand a situation and can help you avoid painful misinterpretations.

3. BE A BUILDER One of the most cited improv tips is to adhere to the “yes, and” principle. The idea is that the only way to really craft a great scene is to say “yes, and,” to your fellow performers. If I begin acting like I’m a baseball player, then you go along with it by talking about playing in the world series. We each build upon the framework laid by the other participants. In your next team meeting, around the dinner table with family, or when faced with unexpected news, look for a way to positively build and contribute.

4. ABIDE BY THE KARAOKE RULE Who are the most fun people to watch sing karaoke? It’s always that guy who goes all out as he belts out “My Heart Will Go On” or the girl who doesn’t know any of the words, but fully commits to basically any 80s rap song. Improv is about fully committing to the moment. Have you ever sat in a meeting where half the room felt unengaged in the moment? Not a lot of good comes from being aloof. Stay committed to the moment and don’t hold back.

5. JUST CHOOSE IT Remember the last time someone asked the group where they should go eat lunch and everyone just kind of stared at each other? In improv, ambivalence and indecision lead you nowhere. Make a choice and move forward!

6. FASTER FAILURE Failing quickly may not sound like a great thing to learn, but when you fail quickly you hopefully are accompanying the fast fail with a rapid recovery. In improv, scenes go dead all the time. You shake it off immediately and seconds later you move onto the next. You will save yourself precious time if you can learn to shake off the fear and stress of failure in every area of life. Instead of spending days stewing over a mistake, you will be able to respond almost immediately with a mindset ready to try again.

7. CHANNEL THE BUTTERFLIES Even the most seasoned performers get butterflies. But they know how to channel nervous energy into memorable performances. You may not be trying to score an Oscar-worthy performance, but you certainly need to channel those butterflies during a budget presentation or a crucial sales pitch. Playing improv games, or “forms” as Schulz refers to them, helps students become comfortable with leading a dialogue and responding to unanticipated events.

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If you’re a high school student then sign up for beginners improv and begin building your improv skills now. If you don’t have the good fortune of being an SAS student between the ages of 15 and 18, then Mr. Schulz has some local Singapore improv classes he recommends. With improv headlining the list of skills graduate programs want their students to develop, you will find that an improv class may be one of the best investments you can make professionally and personally.

RECOMMENDED NON-SAS IMPROV CLASS Haque Centre of Acting and Creativity 22 Dickson Road #02-01 Singapore 209506 admin@hcac.sg +65 9166 2390

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By KYLE ALDOUS Director of Communications

THE BEST TED SP E A KE R S DO T HIN GS A LITTL E DI FFE R E N TLY. CHECK OUT THES E FOU R TE D TA L K TI P S AN D CHAN GE TH E WAY Y OU E N GA GE IN PR ESEN TATION S, SP E E C HE S, A N D EVERYDAY CON VE R SATI ON S.

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“ACCORDING TO MOST STUDIES, PEOPLE’S NUMBER ONE FEAR IS PUBLIC SPEAKING. NUMBER TWO IS DEATH. DEATH IS NUMBER TWO. DOES THAT SOUND RIGHT? THIS MEANS THAT TO THE AVERAGE PERSON, IF YOU GO TO A FUNERAL, YOU’RE BETTER OFF IN THE CASKET THAN DOING THE EULOGY.” – JERRY SEINFELD It’s funny because it’s true, right? While public speaking may not be the most popular pastime, it is certainly one of the most prolific. Every day we are placed in situations where we need to be able to communicate confidently. The size of our audience is irrelevant. Public speaking is less about delivering a formal keynote address to thousands of people and more about the ability to effectively communicate an idea, thought, or message that can lead our audience, however large, to action. At Singapore American School, communication is one of our desired student learning outcomes. We describe communication as the ability to effectively exchange ideas and information through oral, written, digital, and creative expression on an interpersonal and global level. From as young as preschool, where students have the opportunity to do small show and tell moments with their peers, to our twelfth grade students who host formal presentations about longterm projects, our students actively practice their communication skills daily. In 2015-16 Kaelan Cuozzo, a high school senior, brought TED, the world’s most renowned speaking platform, to Singapore American School. TED offers individuals the opportunity to communicate ideas worth sharing. Although everyone may not have the pleasure (or pain) of delivering a TED talk, elements of effective TED talks can be utilized in everyday life to help us become more effective communicators.

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ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE TED TALKS CAN BE UTILIZED IN EVERYDAY LIFE TO HELP US BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS.

pictured: Kaelan Cuozzo, Class of 2015 35 JOURNEYS

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There are thousands of TED talks that have been delivered. Most of them are amazing, insightful, and provide unique perspectives – but some of them move beyond simply interesting talks and really stick with us and move us. What makes these speakers the best of TED? Here are a few ways you can improve your communication today:

1. SAY IT WITH YOUR BODY A human behavior research firm, Science of People, conducted a study where 760 participants were broken into two groups and asked to rate various TED speakers. One group watched the talk with sound, while the other group watched the same talk with no sound. The ratings for speakers were remarkably similar for both groups, demonstrating the value of speaking with more than your mouth. They dug a little deeper and compared the number of hand gestures from the most viewed TED talks to the least viewed talks. The least viewed TED speakers used an average of 272 hand gestures during their talk. The highest viewed speakers used an average of 465 hand gestures, almost double the number! That doesn’t mean you should get up and start waving your hand in every conversation, presentation, or talk, but it is intuitive to realize that we engage with people who are physically engaging.

2. START STRONG There is a lot of research floating around about the need to make a good impression quickly. But we often mistakenly think this applies to first impressions only. This initial impression applies to every single interaction you have throughout the day. When you enter a meeting, you have seconds to set the tone for how the meeting will pan out. Are you late, looking rushed, and wearing a grimace? You’re not doing yourself any favors. The good news is that you have the opportunity to consistently reset throughout the day as you interact with different people. Make the most of those first few moments before a team meeting, at the start of class, or as you walk onstage to deliver a speech.

3. CLARITY BEATS COMPLICATED Have you ever finished a conversation or left a meeting and wondered what just happened? Too often people say more than is necessary and the main idea gets lost in the excess. If you don’t know what you want people to do after you finish speaking, neither will they.

4. COLLECT, CURATE, AND COLLATE An often neglected element of being a strong communicator is making sure you have something worth saying. It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of tips, tricks, and hacks for improving your communication. But no amount of hand gestures, smiling, or vocal exercises will save you from a complete lack of interesting content. Become a repository of great information, find something that interests you and begin collecting, curating, and then collating it into something worth sharing. This applies to every facet of life. In business, you won’t effectively convince a client to buy your product if you haven’t learned about your product, the competition, and the needs of your client. Life is a constant cycle of collecting information, curating the stuff worth keeping, and then collating the information into thoughts worth sharing. These tips may not turn you into the next viral TED speaker, but they can dramatically change the way you communicate at work, with friends, and at home.

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Todd PARRed! By KINJAL SHAH Communications Writer

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From flight attendant to New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of 50 children’s books, Todd Parr knows firsthand what it means to overcome challenges and obstacles and now helps kids around the world find the confidence to do the same.

In the brightly lit halls of Singapore American School’s early learning center, there stood a man wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers, setting up a PowerPoint presentation to be projected on a screen a couple of feet away. A lush green carpet covered the parquet floor, awaiting an audience of four-year olds. He didn’t look like an artist or an author, let alone one who has illustrated and written 50 children’s books. I confess I’d never heard of New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr before he was announced to come to SAS as part of the academic visitors-in-residence program sponsored by SAS’s Parent Teacher Association. However, I had already decided what Todd Parr, author and illustrator, must look like. There’s something to be said about preconceived notions and this one, true to its character, most definitely missed the mark. By miles. But Todd Parr is used to that. He is used to disrupting norms, defying the odds, being different, and being okay with it! As I sit before him, ready to fire away question after question, he displays the same sense of comfort and ease he did at two presentations I attended earlier in the week. At one I saw him engage four-year olds, who hung on to every word he said from start to finish. At another he spoke to adults—parents from the SAS community—who responded in a similar manner as the kindergartners. With Todd Parr, what you see is what you get. For children. For parents. For teachers. For strangers. Online or offline. The Todd Parr brand is consistent. Simple. Honest. Humble. Even when one is hit with stories about underwear and world peace in the same breath. “I am my books,” he says. “Everything I do is consistent with who I am.”

to conform to normal things. However, he was encouraged to do things that made him happy. For years he felt like he didn’t belong. He wasn’t quite like the other kids. Besides, he also had a learning disability, dyslexia. And being in a special class at school did not make things any easier. With vivid clarity, he replays an incident in fourth grade. Parr chose to wear a clip-on tie and purple sunglasses for a class picture. He thought it was pretty cool and his father let him, because it made him happy. But everyone laughed at him. And it wasn’t for the last time. Young Parr, as different as he was in some ways, in others, he was like most kids. Some of the most special moments in his life involve his grandmother reading to him. His favorite books to date are Are You my Mother?, Go, Dog!, Go, and Green Eggs and Ham. She’d read them to him every night. Over and over and over. Like any other kid, he had wild dreams of what he wanted to be when he grew up. And one of them, not so wild, was to become an artist. He drew Snoopy all the time and that’s all he ever wanted to draw. Parr failed second grade. He proved to be a difficult student for many reasons, and was written off by his high school art teacher. Being told he would never succeed as an artist as he couldn’t pay attention nor take instructions was another addition to the list of rejections he had suffered. As he looks back, his eyes glisten, having experienced first-hand the effect of a teacher’s harsh words on a child’s fragile confidence. His books draw from these very experiences, forming the premise of his overall work. Parr speaks passionately about helping kids feel better about who they are. His books remind kids to embrace differences, to be thankful, to love one another, and to be themselves.

Growing up in the US in Rock Springs, Wyoming was not easy. For his parents, Parr never seemed

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Barely scraping through high school, Parr found himself interviewing to be a flight attendant for United Airlines. He loved that job and excelled at it for 15 years. But that was not his calling. With free time on hand, he was drawn back to his lifelong passion for drawing and painting. The best way to display his art was on clothes! So, he started painting everything in sight and creating t-shirts. He even had his grandma make some really cool dinosaur print boxer shorts and all kinds of men’s necktie designs that he could sell to other flight attendants. Some of his original art made it into a couple of famous restaurants in San Francisco and before he knew it, he was creating designs for Macy’s. When he launched some cool Todd Parr stuff, he ran into an editor who asked, “Have you ever thought about writing children’s books?” This was a moment worth recording. Parr recollects how years of rejection had led to a broken confidence and low self-esteem reared its ugly head and self-doubt consumed him. Instead of a college degree, he had a learning disability. But he was desperate and the opportunity had presented itself. So, he put on his blinders, ignored his naysayers, and lived in denial till he published a few books. That was in 1998. Today, the one-time flight attendant has 50 books to his name and sells millions of copies. “Over the years I have been able to go back and say I am lucky. I not only get to write children’s books, but I also get an opportunity to make a difference in the world – helping kids and

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families and teachers with things that are sometimes hard to explain,” Parr modestly says. “I feel that my books are helping kids become stronger, confident people.” A testimony to his life struggle, his books like It’s Okay to Make Mistakes, The Earth Book, The Family Book and many others – all encourage children not to shy away from new things, to experiment, and to dare to explore new paths, to embrace life and themselves, mistakes and all. His own show and a short film later, his family, especially his father who supported him but didn’t quite understand him, realized they had someone truly special for a son. His eyes beam with pride and his voice shakes a little as Parr says that this was a moment he had longed for. It had taken almost 20 years for those who mattered most to be proud of what he had achieved. Both in his writing and his art, Todd Parr is a creator who never grew up. The simplicity of his craft is one that is extremely difficult to achieve, especially for the complex adult mind – almost bare-boned and very childlike. A woman who bought one of his books emailed him to say, “I am surprised to learn you’re an adult, because I felt it was the work of a six-year old.” As he speaks about his childlike but bold, almost Haring-esque style of illustration and his signature sign off, one can sense the deep desire to help children understand and be understood, accept and be accepted, love and be loved, in a way he never was.


ARRED!: WANT TO KNOW P D D O T G IN T GET U’D REALLY O Y S T C A F N is FU atching h

n from w elf. inspiratio ch like Parr hims s w ra d e u m is • H o n, wh niece’s so te is at he wro th k o ever o b vorite cause it n • His fa erwear Book be The Und le laugh. nd ake peop fails to m coTime a . ing at Ta rk d’s o d o w T d o e rr start e it Tac a m P a , n 1 1 d t n a • A own one wanted to ortrait in on a self-p F n a d e ceiv • He re ool. u Are, high sch e Who Yo Different B s d n e mm be Parr reco Okay to • Todd k, and It’s o o B y il nytime The Fam cheese a d n a i n acaro an eat m • He c . re e h and Jerry. and anyw ater Tot, T , te e P : dogs as three • He h

PTA SPONSORED VISITORS-IN-RE

SIDENCE PROGRAM

The Parent Teacher Ass ociation (PTA) is one of the key pillars of the SAS community. The cou ntless volunteer hours committed on the par of hundreds of PTA vol t unteers helps to raise money for investing in community building act ivities across campus thr oughout the year. The PTA donates the bal ance of its money to the school at the end of each year. In 2015-16, the PTA con tributed the remaining funds as a gift to the SAS Foundation. This $200,000 gift was earma rked for the signature academic visitors-in-re sidence program, brin ging renowned author illustrators, artists, act s, ors, and dance profes sionals to campus to wo with students in all thr rk ee divisions. The comprehensive aca demic visitors-in-resid ence program allows students to deeply und erstand the craft and wo rk of professional artists and develop a lifelong appreciation for the arts . Students are able to develop relevant learnin g skills in relation to cre ativity and different modes of communicatio n. These visits result in a greater sense of community that connec ts the head and the hea rt. Authors and illustrator s Todd Parr, Steve Jen kins, and Robin Page participated in SAS’s Fes tival of Reading and wo rked in-residence with children from early lea rning center to grade five, in art rooms, and classrooms helping the in m to explore the art of storytelling and illustra tion.

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Here’s a

MAKING BEAUTIFUL M U S I C TOGETHER By Stephen J Bonnette High School Performing Arts Department Head

SAS student-musicians and faculty have enjoyed an incredible year of music making! Some of our finest and most enriching experiences arise from our involvement with the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) and the international festivals that they sponsor. Earning a place in one of these prestigious honor ensembles has become an integral part of the culture within SAS’s performing arts programs. The opportunity to perform with, and learn from fellow musicians from around the world coupled with the internationalism of the festivals inspires enthusiastic student participation year after year. Originating from different places, with different backgrounds, and from different cultures, the one thing that connects the hundreds of students who come together each year is a shared love for music. Having rehearsed together for only three days, the music they create is truly amazing! It all begins in August of every year when students are given the prescribed audition material. Early October is time for the recording process to begin. Having worked hard to perfect the pieces over several months, the students submit digital files to AMIS in the UK. An audition panel of judges conducts a blind selection process and then announces the results in November. Regardless of the results, students across the globe learn many valuable things. Goal setting, risk taking, problem solving, attention to detail, perseverance, resilience, performance under pressure, and the synthesis of technique and musical expression are few of the many important life lessons gained through participation in AMIS festivals. 41

sneak peak

into some AMIS events with SAS participation!

High School Honor Band and Orchestra

International School of Luxembourg March 16–18, 2017

Talented high school musicians from international schools worldwide audition for the Honor Band and the Honor Orchestra, both of which work together with world-class guest conductors and perform as two unique ensembles as well as a combined Symphony Orchestra. Singapore American School hosted this epic event back in 2015 and it was a great way for SAS to say thank you to the AMIS organization. The Honor Band and Honor Orchestra came together in one instrumental festival for the first time in the history of AMIS. Two hundred of the finest high school band and orchestra students along with their teachers transcended upon us in late March for three days of incredible collaboration and performance of the highest caliber. Most significant was the fact that this was the first pairing of these two ensembles, with the inaugural Symphonic Orchestra performance as the goal. History was made right here on our very own campus! Over the years, hundreds of our studentmusicians have made lifelong memories through participation at these festivals. By playing host, we were able to showcase our amazing community, facilities, and staff. A special shout-out to Paula Silveman (now retired), Paul Koebnick and our middle school music faculty for donating their time and skills to make this event a huge success.


Asian Middle School Honor Orchestra Festival Singapore American School February 9–11, 2017 The 2017 Asian Middle School Honor Orchestra was hosted by Sofia Pelletier at Singapore American School, and conducted by Stephen Venema of Shanghai American School. This was the third AMIS High School Honor Band and Orchestra Festival and the sixth event hosted by SAS so far. According to Nicholas Choi, a participant at the 2015 festival, “The festival presented a great opportunity for us to meet people from 11 different schools and unite through music. The biggest takeaway from being part of this orchestra was learning that a unified whole is better than one.”

Asian Middle School Honor Choir

The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) is dedicated to the promotion of excellence in all areas of music education. “AMIS” sponsors a wide variety of music festivals annually which are especially designed to benefit music educators and their students in international schools. AMIS sponsors a variety of music festivals annually which are especially designed to benefit students in international schools.

AMIS seeks to:

Asian Middle School Honor Choir – American School of Dubai, U.A.E. January 29–31, 2017

The 2017 Honor Mixed Choir Festival was hosted by Emily DeRosier at the American School of Dubai. Strangers from all around the world came together to make music. We will be hard-pressed to find the exact same choir again. Three days of singing for eight hours each day, striving for excellence, making new friends, catching up with old ones was the order of the day. “Joining AMIS and traveling to Dubai was one of life’s favorite seasons,” says student Torsai Kiernan. Past and current SAS faculty who have been featured as guest conductors for AMIS Honor Festivals through the years include Stephen Bonnette (strings), Pat Brown (choral), Darrel Townshend (strings), and Brian White (band). As the executive director of the AMIS program, Keith Montgomery, put it, “If by some reason you couldn’t do the concert tonight… would you have thought that this experience was worth it?” It is a question that really hits home, redefining what AMIS is really about.

1.

Advance the education of school pupils and teachers throughout the world by developing their understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of music.

2.

Advance the education of young people and their teachers in global issues and cultural diversity through the performance and study of music.

3.

Promote high standards of musical performance in school pupils of all ages and abilities throughout the world. 42


INTERIM SEMESTER 2017

ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME LEARNING Since 1973 Singapore American School has sent thousands of high school students around the world to experience once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities. This year 1,194 students participated in 57 courses, spanning over 20 countries around the world to experience eco-adventures, global studies courses, and impactful service opportunities. Check out a few of the amazing trips that students participated in this year!

Global Studies TECHNICAL THEATER LONDON Paul Koebnick, Mimi Molchan Interim was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The entire trip was filled with laughter, entertainment, and cold. The trip made me realize how close I’ve become with everyone else. I learned that theater casts, tech and all, are family, no matter what. This trip impacted me in the best way possible. Tanya Van Den Heuvel, Grade Nine

As we walked along the Thames, saw Big Ben, experienced Trafalgar Square and the houses of Parliament, and immersed ourselves in one of London’s most iconic sites, the Globe Theater – we were truly amazed! For many of us, this was a first-time experience and this was just day one. At the Warner Brothers studio we explored the sets where the Harry Potter series was filmed and caught a glimpse of the immense work that goes into building what the world witnessed on screen. FlyByFoy, the leader in theater flying effects and automation demonstrated the latest in flying innovation. We experienced award winning shows like Les Miserables and Wicked in London’s finest theaters and went backstage at Her Majesty’s Theater to experience the Phantom of the Opera staging. The London Technical Theater Interim Semester experience took us behind the scenes of some of the greatest shows in the world and filled us with ideas and skills to try out here at Singapore American School.

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Global Studies

WILDLIFE, CULTURE, AND CONSERVATION IN SOUTH AFRICA Lance Murgatroyd, Patrick Green

Lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants, and rhinoceros! We looked for the “big five” first-hand as we drove through one of the world’s largest and most spectacular wildlife reserves, Kruger National Park. We were awestruck by the beauty and the vastness of the landscapes and overwhelmed by the magnificent wildlife that walked that part of the land. At the Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Center we experienced first-hand the need for conservation and preservation as we worked hands-on with a variety of animals. We ended our tour in Johannesburg, eager to see the renowned apartheid museum. Moved by the incredible struggle and journey to bring peace and equality to all South Africans, the experience was an eye-opener in many ways. The Wildlife, Culture, and Conservation Interim Semester experience immersed us in breathtaking views, thrilling experiences, and emotionally stirring history.

Overall, my interim trip to South Africa gave me a powerful adventure which I will remember for the rest of my life. The biggest takeaway from my trip, aside from the beautiful photos, would be to take more risks. From eating a cooked caterpillar to flipping upside down on a zipline, the most memorable moments from the trip came from the times that I stepped out of my comfort zone. Will Mundy, Grade 12

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Eco-Adventure

THE NAKASENDO WAY Amy Zuber Meehan, Becky Green Partaking in an ancient Japanese tea ceremony, pulling our own soba noodles, and enjoying traditional folk music while journeying through the heart of one of Japan’s oldest highways, the Nakasendo way was an amazing experience! We laced up our snowshoes and ascended 1,300 meters across 12 snow filled kilometers through the Kaida plateau before resting for the night in a traditional inn atop Kaida Yamaka. All we needed was a soak in a steamy onsen and some rest on tatami mats before tackling the Torii pass as we descended into the picturesque posttown of Narai. The Nakasendo Way Interim Semester experience was the perfect blend of adventure, culture, and excitement as we trekked through one of Japan’s most traveled trade routes.

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Nakasendo Way was by far the best Interim trip I have been on. For many of us, this was our first time hiking in the snow and snowshoeing and, despite the occasional tumbles, they were both really fun! I was exposed to a completely new culture through our soba-making session and demonstration of a traditional tea ceremony. We learned a lot about Japanese traditions and were able to witness them first-hand. All 19 of us bonded over blisters and lack of noodle-cutting skills, and now when we pass each other in the halls, we still stop to share funny moments from our trip. Sandhya Bala, Grade 12


Eco-Adventure

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL John Gaskell, Zach Evans

Outside the comforts of Auckland’s city center, we began an intense nine-day survival experience that tested our minds and bodies. Team building and cooperative activities helped us develop the trust and support necessary to survive the challenges we faced. Each day we learned survival skills like wilderness navigation, fishing, eeling, foraging, fire building, water procurement, and first aid. WIth each passing day, conveniences and tools were taken from our possession and we came to rely on our recently acquired skills. We quickly learned that while safety was top priority, comfort was at the bottom of that list. Our trip culminated in a 30-hour survival challenge that challenged us to take all of our skills and put them to immediate use in the New Zealand outback. The Wilderness Survival Interim Semester experience pushed us outside of our comfort zones and helped us gain valuable life skills.

New Zealand was an unforgettable experience. It showed me what the world was like beyond iPhones and city life. Seeing things like how animals are butchered and how hard cooking is made me appreciate what I have even more. The trip pushed me to work with new people which was a challenge. It was an experience that I would have never had without the Interim Semester program. Alexander Ribeiro, Grade Nine

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Service

GIANT PANDA CONSERVATION PROJECT Lisa Ball, Rich Modica My Interim Semester in China for giant panda conservation turned out to be a wonderful experience. Working with the pandas was unforgettable, and taught me a lot about conservation and the importance of preserving our environment. I only got a taste of the work that the panda keepers do every day, and was inspired by their hard work and dedication to their cause. Sabrina Campedelli, Grade 11

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Seventy pandas reside at the Wolong Reserve and Panda Center located in Dujiangyan, China. Assigned specific pandas to care for, we were instructed to prepare and weigh their food each day, maintain their living environments, and take detailed notes observing their behavior. Between caring for our pandas, we frequently met with conservation experts to learn about the latest trends, needs, and opportunities to serve. Our evenings were filled with traditional Chinese activities – Chinese square dancing, folding dumplings, and mahjong. We explored the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Dujiangyan irrigation system built in 256 BC that continues to provide water to the Sichuan province today. The Giant Panda Conservation Project Interim Semester experience helped us gain a greater appreciation for worldwide conservation efforts and the need to contribute to the local community wherever we live.


Service

TEACHER APPRENTICESHIP Nanette Devens, Cassandra Summerton

Before Interim Semester even began, we met with the teacher we would be shadowing to begin learning about them, their students, and how to best integrate ourselves into the classroom. Although our itinerary looked the same each day we quickly learned how dynamic and rapidly changing each classroom can be. We worked with students at all learning levels, attended faculty meetings where we witnessed thoughtful professional learning communities, and even participated in extracurricular activities. The Teacher Apprenticeship Interim Semester experience helped us gain a greater perspective and appreciation for the time, energy, and dedication it takes to be a teacher.

If I could go back to Interim selection day, I’d choose this Interim again so I could experience all that I have this past week. I was inspired, pushed, made connections with peers the students and my teacher, and I think that’s what Interim is all about. I discovered skills I never really knew I had and I saw myself faced with challenges I never thought could show up in a second grade classroom, but most of all I had fun. Chris Meyer, Grade 12

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TOPIC COURSES PREPARE STUDENTS FOR 21ST CENTURY OPPORTUNITIES Tropical ecology; post-Euclidean geometry; data structures; kinesiology; computational physics; urban studies. Most SAS parents barely know what these subjects are, and certainly didn’t have the chance to study them while still in high school! But at SAS, juniors and seniors can explore such topics through the new advanced topic program. These courses explore subjects not covered elsewhere at SAS and give students more avenues to engage in demanding academic experiences relevant to 21st century university and career opportunities. Resting on the SAS strategic anchors of excellence, extraordinary care, and possibilities, our advanced topic courses have been designed to advance each of our six desired student learning outcomes (DSLOs): character, collaboration, communication, content knowledge, creativity, and critical thinking.

learning option. This year the high school course catalog includes five advanced topic courses, and next year around a dozen will be available. These courses give students a taste of what college will be like, including increased academic independence, interesting and challenging subject matter, and close collaboration with peers, teachers, and specialists.

The semester and year-long courses cover a range of subjects, from performing arts to Chinese history taught in Chinese. They require prerequisites such as good grades in relevant courses, teacher recommendations, submission of a portfolio, or audition. High school principal Dr. Darin Fahrney says that the honors-level courses, while demanding, are The advanced topic course model fulfills not aimed only at highly recommendations arising from our academic students. comprehensive research and development “We want students with varied interests to process. This revealed that high school find a rigorous course that they can dive students benefit when they can take into,” he says. “Our AP courses cover more challenging classes that meet their interests, traditional or general academic subjects, emphasize real world skills, and employ while our advanced topic courses allow project-based learning. Advanced topic kids who see themselves as performers, courses are one of several ways SAS is environmentalists, or poets to explore moving beyond the traditional academic these passions in a structured, projectmodel to meet these recommendations; based setting. Next year we’ll have other innovations include AP Capstone, advanced topic classes for entrepreneurs, Catalyst, Quest, Global Online Academy, computer programmers, data analysts, School Year Abroad, and our independent and city planners.”

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By CARA D’AVANZO Staff Writer

Professional Collaboration: Who, How, Where? How do SAS teachers find and work with university professors when developing advanced topic courses? “Some teachers, through their networks as educators and subject-area experts, have their own contacts,” says Dennis Steigerwald. “Others ask the center of innovation for help, and we use our connections to find appropriate partners. Some teachers work closely with a professor throughout course development, while others do the preparation more independently and then approach a professor or program for feedback and endorsement.

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Advanced topic students are expected to complete a university-quality project such as a research paper, scientific project, or creative work. Like AP grades, advanced topic grades are weighted by 0.5 points. Fahrney emphasizes that advanced topic courses are based on sound research, structure, and accountability. “Each course is reviewed by administrators, counselors, and college representatives,” he explains. “Once a course is implemented, an annual audit ensures continued relevance, rigor, and alignment with our DSLOs.” According to center of innovation director Dennis Steigerwald, “Our advanced topic program stresses depth of knowledge rather than breadth. All courses, which SAS teachers design in collaboration with university professors, incorporate interdisciplinary connections, skills, and competencies useful beyond school, and a significant, self-designed culminating project.” Steigerwald stresses the careful and strategic implementation of the advanced topic program. “We benchmark these courses to offerings in top US independent schools, as well as college courses,” he explains. “The program gives us the chance to hone our curriculum to fit our R&D recommendations, which are transforming education at SAS with benefits for every student.” This year is the first that SAS has offered these classes, and both students and teachers see

much to appreciate in them. Alex Ray, a keen athlete who has played in IASAS volleyball and softball tournaments, signed up for Advanced Topic Kinesiology. With units on anatomy, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and motor behavior, the course sounded interesting and personally relevant to the junior. “Learning about kinesiology will be helpful if I decide to go into anything related to healthcare or wellness,” Alex explains, “but at this point, I’m just interested in the subject and happy there’s a high-level course on it.” Kilani Daane took Advanced Topic Kinesiology last semester, choosing it because she is interested in science and wanted to explore a new field. “I would definitely recommend taking an advanced topic course,” she says, “as it really allows you either to understand in depth a topic that you’re interested in, or to explore a new subject that you’re curious about.” For teachers, an advanced topic course is an exciting way to fill a gap in our current offerings, take advantage of our location and resources, or accommodate interest in a specific discipline. Computer science teacher Julie Goode, who is developing Advanced Topic Data Structures, explains why she took on the challenge: “I stay in touch with about 30 SAS alumni who have majored or are majoring in computer science, and they all complain that there was only one computer science course at SAS [AP Computer Science], which did not give them enough practical experience. This year, we started offering Introduction to Computer

AT COURSES AVAILABLE NOW AND NEXT YEAR CURRENT COURSES

AT Chinese Language: History AT Kinesiology AT Performing Arts AT Tropical Ecology / AP Environmental Science AT Writing Seminar

COURSES AVAILABLE WITHIN THE QUEST PROGRAM

AT English: Research and Composition AT Math: Data Analytics AT Science: Design Thinking

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PROPOSED COURSES FOR 2017-18

AT Computational Physics AT Computer Science Data Structures AT Entrepreneurship AT Finite Math Modelling AT Post-Euclidean Geometry AT Urban Studies AT Seminar AT Research and Catalyst


Michael Clark says that his partnership with Professor Robin Hemley of Yale-NUS came about through “a series of happy coincidences.” Advanced Topic Writing Seminar was already in development when, last year, SAS co-sponsored the American Writers Festival. “Through that event I met Professor Hemley, and we discovered that we have a personal connection through a family friend,” Clark explains. “He generously agreed to collaborate with me on Advanced Topic Writing Seminar, and it’s been fantastic. He has come to SAS to conduct writing workshops and individual conferences with my students. They have gained so much from his guidance, and he says he enjoys their energy and enthusiasm.” Professors who have contributed to our AT program so far are affiliated with institutions such as East China Normal University, Shanghai, University of California Los Angeles, University of South Carolina, University of Texas at Austin, and Yale-NUS.

Science, and we’re thrilled to offer next year’s computer science students the project-based Advanced Topic Data Structures course. Now our kids will have three computer science courses available, and those in the AT class will get tons of experience coding projects. We are super excited about all the doors this will open for them!” Dr. Michael Clark is teaching Advanced Topic Writing Seminar and enjoying an experience very different from teaching regular and AP English courses. “This course is about creativity, because students enter it already knowing the basics of writing,” he explains. “Without the external demands of an AP course, we can focus on the creative process, using the SAS DSLOs as our standards. Fall semester focused on creativity, as students built the community of writers, practicing skills like idea generation and extensive revision while producing a multiple-draft short story. Now we are learning collaboration, working with the Student Press Initiative of Columbia University’s Teachers College to produce an anthology of short stories. It’s inspiring for students to know that people will actually get a chance read their work in print, and they are very enthusiastic about the practical skills they are learning.” High school counselor Lisa Ball also sees many benefits to the advanced topic program, saying “these courses give SAS students who want a college-level challenge a different type of experience from an AP class.” Asked how families can be confident that colleges will understand

what “AT” means on an SAS transcript, she answers, “SAS counselors explained our advanced topic program to every college representative who came to SAS this year; with around 300 such visits annually, these face-to-face meetings are an excellent way to publicize this new option. We’ve also sent out printed information about the advanced topic courses, and we include an explanation in our school profile, which accompanies college applications. We hear from colleges that advanced topic courses, which cover specific and often unusual topics, help differentiate our students during the application process. College admissions officers are impressed by such classes because they show that applicants are motivated and able to tackle high-level academic work.” According to Dr. Fahrney, the advanced topic program is unique among high schools: “I truly feel we’re giving kids something they can’t get anywhere else in the world,” he says. “Where else could they study tropical ecology by working with Singapore Botanical Gardens staff and conducting coral reef restoration work on Tioman? Advanced topic courses allow our students to apply their knowledge to today’s problems and challenges.” SAS is excited to offer high school students more courses that challenge them, give them forward-looking skills and knowledge, and help them distinguish themselves on college applications. “I call this ‘sticky learning,’” says Fahrney, “learning that they will remember and be able to apply, learning that is not just packing in facts but is opening up opportunities.”

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Season Two IASAS Tournament Boys’ Rugby Record: Fifth Girls’ Touch Rugby Record: Fourth For a young team, the girls played very well to put themselves in a position to reach the championship game on the final day of round robin play. It wasn’t meant to be this year, but the girls have taken away some valuable experience that will help in the years to come. They fought together as a team and played to their potential. Boys’ Swimming Record: Silver Our boys began the final event tied for first with defending champions Jakarta Intercultural School and this was the first time in IASAS history the meet was decided by the final relay. The boys came up just short and claimed silver. The boys medley relay team claimed gold as they set a new IASAS record. Girls’ Swimming Record: Gold Our girls claimed gold before the final relay race of the day, and senior Hadley Ackerman, racing in her fourth IASAS championship, picked up two individual golds and a silver as well. Boys’ Basketball Record: 5-2 (Silver) The boys played strong throughout the tournament and met Jakarta Intercultural School in the final. They gave the crowd a wild ride as they overcame a late 11-point deficit and took the game to the last seconds losing on a JIS tip-in. Girls’ Basketball Record: 5-2 (Bronze) The girls played solid throughout the tournament and going 5-2 and playing International School Bangkok in the 3rd and 4th place game. The girls playing with tremendous teamwork and unselfishness overcame a hectic comeback from ISB to claim the bronze medal. Boys’ Tennis Record: Fifth Girls’ Tennis Record: Gold The season culminated with the IASAS exchange where we faced the six time reigning champs, Manila, in the first round and prevailed. From there, we kept on winning. These girls were the only undefeated team in the draw, putting us in a great position for the finals, where we faced the home team and pulled through victorious – with the gold.

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A CULINARY JOURNEY By

Jodi Jonis Staff Writer

Often when you hear about people who have grown up as third culture kids (TCKs) the word restlessness comes up. This idea is that as adults, many TCKs feel a need to upheave their life and move just because things get boring staying in the same place. But nothing seems further from the truth for executive chef Brandon Huisman (Class of 1995). In fact, one might discern from this Bali resident something quite the opposite of restlessness – contentment and a sense of being right where he belongs. He’s lived in Bali with his family for the last 10 years and has no intention of leaving any time soon. Is it a coincidence that he’s settled in Asia after spending 11 years of his youth living in Singapore? Not at all. He says he planned it from the day he left.

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It was in 1995 when Huisman, bound for Texas A&M, was wrapping up a relatively long 11-year tenure at SAS. Here, he felt guided by teachers who helped him find his strengths, he played as many sports with SACAC as he could, and acquired one of his most valued possessions, which he still keeps today – his friendships. Huisman still has his core group of friends from 1984 and thanks to WhatsApp, is in daily contact with them.

As with so much in life, it was necessity that nudged Huisman in the direction of his future career path. In this case, the need was money. If he was going to be able to support his lifestyle in College Station over summer break, he needed a job. Perhaps Bennigan’s is not as glamourous as the Michelin 3 star restaurant in Paris where he would eventually serve his apprenticeship, but it was his first time in a professional kitchen, and he loved it. Enough so that after graduating with his B.B.A. he headed straight to the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Paris where he earned Le Grande Diplome. But his diploma was not the only thing that Huisman left Paris with. He humbly explains, “My wife, Nicole, fell in love with me in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu


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culinary school.” Nicole and Huisman have been on a global culinary journey ever since. It wasn’t long before he finally made good on his plan to return to Asia. This adventurous, epicurean couple moved to the remote country of Bhutan in the Himalaya mountains to join the first international hotel chain ever allowed in the country; he as executive chef, she on pastry. They built the entire culinary program of the new luxury chain from nothing. Literally. Even the production facilities had to be created, including a butchery, vegetable garden, and a charcuterie. When opportunity next knocked and Nicle and Huisman found themselves in Bali, Indonesia, any restlessness that might have been was gone. They are perfectly content after ten years in Bali with their two children, Joseph (8) and Sabrina (6) and low-key weekends around the pool at the Canggu Club (think the American Club, Bali-style). As an added bonus, family and friends are always willing to travel to see them!

SASorite

Fav hers Teac “Without hesitation that would be Kathy Tan, my second grade teacher at the Ulu Pandan campus in 1984. I remember she was the one who recognized my strong math skills and pushed me to an accelerated math class. I felt she had a genuine academic interest in her students.”

e Favorietmories SAS M

Hearing the iconic children’s author, Roald Dahl when he came to our class and read.

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te es Favoris Memori u p m ca

Saturday afternoon football games, playing or watching, at the Ulu Pandan campus. Mr. Gillette sponsored a huge beer tent on one side of the bleachers where the dads hung out and Mr. Ho catered the food. Awesome frito pies!

“Yes, I do enjoy the lifestyle In Indonesia,” Huisman says. “In Bali especially, there isn’t any sort of corporate culture. We don’t do rush hour. It’s a very relaxed carefree, ‘life is good’, mentality.” Being an executive chef has its perks. For one, you get to eat anything you want (like this morning, grilled salmon, egg white scramble with fresh chopped chili and sautéed spinach), and there’s nothing better than opening to positive reviews after painstaking months of planning a particular menu or new restaurant concept. But even in Bali, moving up the corporate ladder has its downside. At the top, the job is more administrative with less time in the kitchen. That’s just not as much fun.

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But…that’s about to change because very exciting times are just around the corner.

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“I’ll be finishing up my sixth year at Anantara Seminyak Resort to open my own restaurant,” Huisman announced. “It’s an American BBQ smokehouse called GoodWood. It is named after the street I grew up on Singapore, Goodwood Hill. It’s in the final stages of construction, although we had a rough and tumble Thanksgiving feast there this past year for some friends and family. It is located in the Canggu area of Bali and set to open this spring.” That’s a big commitment that’s likely to keep the Huismans put for a while. He concedes that one day they’ll likely make the decision to move based on the kids’ education, but for now he sums it up like this: “I’m really excited to get my restaurant going and put 20 years of experience to the test. I hope to expand to a few more outlets and some additional concepts. My wife and kids are happy in Bali. I’ve had opportunities to go back to Singapore, but in the end I’m happy with Bali. Frankly, I’m not sure there is another place in Asia I would rather be.”

e Favorit s e i r Memo

The sporting trips to Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Korea. We always felt we needed to push our boundaries on those trips… that’s what made them so much fun!

SASorite

Fav hers ac Te“Bart Green was another favorite – the energy of that guy! He had such an excitement to teach, sing, and entertain. I’ll never forget Friday Frolics in fourth grade and his version of John Denver’s “Country Road” which he called “Take Me Home, Orchard Road.” I still remember all those songs verbatim. His ‘critter creature’ cookies, essentially chocolate chip cookies that he would bake and hand out for good class work or behavior. I remember those being the best cookies I’ve ever had.”

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Z A C H N E L S O N ’ S J O U R N E Y: F ROM SAS STU DE N T TO MY ANM AR P E ACE M AK E R By KRISTINA DOSS Staff Writer

As Myanmar embraces democratic reforms after decades of civil war and military rule, many challenges remain, including ethnic violence in the border regions.This is particularly apparent in Rakhine State. Located in Western Myanmar, the area recently experienced a rise in clashes between the military of a predominantly Buddhist nation and the Muslim minority. The hottest conflict zones are on lockdown, preventing conflict researchers like Zach Nelson (Class of 2011) from assessing the situation in person. Nevertheless, Nelson—who works for the Center for Diversity and National Harmony (CDNH)—is determined to gather information that will contribute to a solution some day. “I work with one of the very few organizations doing direct reconciliation between Buddhists and Muslims, which is necessary for a sustainable solution to the country,” said Nelson, a CDNH senior program officer based out of the Myanmar capital of Yangon. Nelson’s journey from Singapore American School student to Myanmar peacemaker was not a straight path, but a series of hard earned opportunities that would take him all over the world, from the mainland of the United States to the rolling hills of Rwanda. 59 JOURNEYS

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Zach Nelson in Rwanda

According to Nelson, his interest in conflict first piqued while attending Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university in New Hampshire. While there, Nelson said he became “fascinated” by the study of terrorism and insurgency and dove into research projects to explore those topics further. “I knew I wanted to work in the broad, amorphous realm of conflict, but just didn’t know how I’d get there or what that actually meant,” he said. While college classes stirred his interest in conflict, it was a road trip that he took during the fall term of his junior year through Southeast Asia—a region he knew well having lived in Singapore and studied at SAS since kindergarten—that inspired him to pursue an edgy career in the field versus one that kept him in the safe confines of an office cubicle. “During my time there, I met a colorful cast of characters wrapped up in all sorts of inspiring development, humanitarian, and journalistic work,” said Nelson, who traveled the region by motorcycle and bus. “They were linked by passion, and that inspired me. I knew I wanted to be in the field, working with people who really cared about what they were doing.” Ultimately, a grant allowing him to establish a small social enterprise in Rwanda solidified Nelson’s interest in launching a career in conflict resolution, or peacemaking. Nelson took on the role of facilitator and brought together a group of farmers and small business

owners willing to put in money each week to buy crops in bulk. Thanks to a local government subsidy, they also purchased giant hermetically sealed bags to store the crops in until a more favorable time to sell arose. “It was the first organic is too strong of a word—but green crop sale in the region,” Nelson said. As Nelson’s time in Rwanda came to an end, he made a startling discovery. According to Nelson, the president of the crop-resale business had been released from prison after more than a decade for leading death squads bent on genocide—a shocking revelation not only because of the crimes he had been accused of committing, but because the crop-resale business included people who lost their entire families during those dark times. Nelson may not have gone to Rwanda looking for more lessons in conflict and reconciliation, but that’s exactly what he got. “This schism between the past and present and intermingling of the perpetrators and victims is something I will never be able to understand,” said Nelson. “What people do in times of terror may be impossible to explain. People, and how they change, repent, and grieve collectively, continue to give me faith in humanity and fascinate me to no end. Reconciliation, the intrinsic willingness to move beyond and forgive the past, imbues all interactions in Rwanda.”

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“The title of my memoir would probably read: The Wonders of Excel, Blundering Confusion, and the Occasional Mosquito Bite in the Ayeyarwady Delta.” In August 2015, Nelson went to Myanmar thanks to a postgraduate fellowship program from a nonprofit social service organization affiliated with Princeton University called Princeton in Asia. He spent a year working for what he describes as a funky, awardwinning social enterprise known as Proximity Designs, which designs and delivers affordable, income-boosting irrigation products and financial services that complement the entrepreneurial spirit of Myanmar’s rural families. Nelson is quick to point out that his time at Proximity Designs, and journey as a whole, may seem like something out of a movie or book. But his day-to-day duties, which involved donor reporting, proposal writing, and market research, were far from glamorous. “Working for Proximity was certainly not the cockroach-infested, underfunded, and understaffed (non-governmental organization) stereotype that a thousand Hollywood movies and sensationalist aid-worker memoirs with sexy and dangerous titles like Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures and Blood, Tears, Smiles: Sudan had forged in my mind,” Nelson said. “The title of my memoir would probably read: The Wonders of Excel, Blundering Confusion, and the Occasional Mosquito Bite in the Ayeyarwady Delta.” While gaining experience at Proximity, Nelson kept his eye out for job opportunities and eventually landed one with CDNH, which, despite his humility, does impressive work.

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CDNH is an independent NGO established to enhance social harmonization, peaceful coexistence, and mitigation of violence in Myanmar. CDNH builds on the research capacity and the community networks of many of the researchers and field staff who were involved in the investigation, data collection, and preparation of reports on communal violence that occurred throughout the country. The NGO’s work comes at a crucial time. Myanmar has made huge strides toward democratic reforms, transitioning to a quasi-civilian government from military rule with the first round of elections occurring in November 2010 and the most recent in late 2015, according to a US State Department fact sheet. The country also opened itself economically and embraced international markets. However, the ongoing conflict in Rakhine State and reports of humanitarian abuse has raised concerns among the international community. The situation, Nelson says, is “a dark mark on Myanmar’s development.” CDNH serves as the go-to-resource for foreign embassies and organizations on what is going on in Rakhine State. Nelson, for example, has been working on stakeholder mapping in Rakhine State for groups involved in interfaith dialogue processes. This involves liaising with United Nations agencies, local civil society organizations, international NGOs, and religious hardliners, he said. Now, he is working on a project looking at villages that, because of their ethnic demographics and their proximity to conflict areas, should have revolted but haven’t.


“It’s been humbling and eye opening to be working on a topic that is so central to this country’s development and kind of trying to have some understanding of the complex dynamics that govern it,” he said. Nelson sees himself living and working in Myanmar for the “foreseeable future.” To be sure, the type of work he does is a major draw. But the country itself is also a factor, despite its current challenges. Nelson, in his spare time, enjoys exploring Myanmar and tries to leave Yangon at least once a month. “My favorite trips always involve a motorcycle, cool, forested hills, and no set plan,” said Nelson. “The recently-opened hill station of Thadaungyi—closed for decades because of fighting with the Karen National Union ethnic insurgency— was a supreme highlight.” Ultimately, though, it’s his work helping the people of Myanmar that keeps him there. “I’m really liking what I’m doing for my career,” said Nelson, “I do love being in a country that is just heaving with change and creativity and optimism and energy and it’s just really infectious.”

The life of an expat usually involves moving every couple of years. But Zach Nelson is one of the rare Eagles who got to attend SAS from kindergarten all the way through high school. Below, Nelson shares some of his favorite moments and memories from his alma mater. •

My family was evacuated from Jakarta, Indonesia, in late 1998 and we made the permanent move to Singapore soon thereafter. I attended SAS from 1999-2011 (K-12).

SAS was the bomb! Some of my favorite teachers included Cindy Bai, Martha Began, Ian Coppell, Steve Early, Stacey Jensen, Doug Mabie, Frieda Mallal, Jeff Overlie and Paul Terrile.

One of my favorite moments was at graduation, where all 260-something graduating seniors were asked to stand. The principal (at the time), Dr. Tim Stuart, then asked the graduating class to sit when the grade at which they arrived at SAS was called. By the time he reached sixth grade, two-thirds of the class had sat down. At the end, when he called kindergarten, there were just a handful of us still standing. This included three of my best friends (Alexander Amstrup, Devansh Pasumarty, and Chris Yenko) all of whom I maintain close contact with, and two of whom visited me in Myanmar just a few months ago! It’s rare to maintain such long friendships in such a transient community, but I was a lucky dude!

Oh, I know it’s trite and everyone talks about it, but Mr. Hoe’s lemon chicken was the bomb. Each bite of that greasy, heart-clogging chicken was a transcendental experience.

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Dedicated to SAS ALUMNUS LEAPS FROM BALLET STUDENT TO PRO

By KRISTINA DOSS Staff Writer

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the Craft Colton West starts each day at the barre.

He attends a daily 8:00 a.m. ballet class in Eugene, Oregon, which takes dedicated dancers like him through small movements such as pliés before they launch into bigger and more complicated jumps and turns. Unlike the dance classes he took at Singapore American School, where West graduated in December 2014, this particular dance class isn’t for a grade. Instead, this class is meant to prepare West’s body for a long day of rehearsals and his full-time job as a professional ballet dancer at the Eugene Ballet Company. “Class is usually a way for us to warm ourselves up and see how our bodies are feeling everyday, and then after that we spend the rest of the day until four o’clock rehearsing whatever ballets we are performing,” said West, who is currently working on five ballets for the company. West exudes strength, power, and grace on stage and off. But it’s his hard work and dedication to the craft of ballet that helped him land a job in the competitive field. Getting work in ballet is challenging, West says, thanks—in part—to the prevalence of social media. With just a push of a button, more youth these days are exposed to the world of ballet and inspired to pursue the craft professionally. As an example

of the rising popularity of ballet, just look at the YouTube video of Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin performing to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” which has surpassed 18 million views.

“There is more and more dance in pop culture and that has inspired new and very young and very talented dancers out there right now, and all of us are looking for jobs and to dance,” West said in a Skype interview with Journeys. West’s personal inspiration to pursue ballet, however, didn’t jump off the screen. Instead, his interest in the sport first flared at home in Colorado when he was a child as he watched his two older sisters dance. “I looked up to them and I saw them in ballet class,” West said. He recalls begging his parents to let him give the class a try – a request they declined at first. But after getting kicked out of his second or third taekwondo dojo due to behavioral issues, West says with a smile, his parents finally gave him the green light. “They let me give ballet a shot and I guess it was just a healthy way for me to exert all that energy that I had,” West said. “Once I found ballet, it just clicked.” To go from an aspiring ballet student to a professional dancer is a big leap. It takes years of commitment to daily classes, learning variations, and participating in competitions, he said.

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Attending a big ballet school in the US or Europe helps a dancer’s odds of turning pro, as well – a stepping stone that wasn’t available to West when he and his family moved to the Southeast Asian citystate of Singapore in 2013 from Colorado, where he spent his childhood studying ballet. Nevertheless, West still found a way to overcome the geographical challenge and blaze a trail to Eugene. He studied at L’Academie de Danse Singapore under the direction of Jonathan Guillarme. According to West, working with Guillarme allowed him to compete in the International Concour de Grasse, an elite dance competition in France where West received a Premiere Mention in 2013 and was a Finalist in 2014. He also attended summer intensive programs at premier institutions such as the American Ballet Theater, Ballet Austin, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Paris Opera Ballet School, according to the Eugene Ballet Company website. Singapore American School also helped West reach new heights in dance.

“I think the attitude of being able to go into any situation and know that whether it’s a good experience or a bad experience that there is something to learn from is definitely something I learned from Ms. Van der Linden. I don’t think I would have been a professional dancer and I don’t think I would have grown as much if it wasn’t for her influence.” Now, West is in Eugene – putting these lessons to work and living his dream of professionally dancing ballet. Currently, he is rehearsing for a variety of performances with the Eugene Ballet Company, including the well-known Midsummer Night’s Dream, a contemporary piece called Wandering On, a beautiful ballet choreographed by fellow company members called Surrounding Third, and a spring production of The Snow Queen. There are smaller fundraising performances in the works too. “It’s definitely hectic, but it’s definitely been fun,” said West. No doubt, his dedication to the craft and hard work will carry him through the fast and frenetic pace.

West arrived at SAS technically advanced in the realm of ballet. But the school—thanks to his “He has a fantastic work ethic, where he pays high school dance teacher Tracy Van der Linden— attention to detail, feedback, and he always became West’s stage to learn other dance styles and strives for his personal best and perfection,” choreographic tools so that he could create his own Van der Linden said. dance pieces. He also got opportunities to mentor younger dance students. Mark Tucker, a principal dancer with the Eugene Ballet Company, echoes Van der Linden’s sentiment “I remember the first solo that he choreographed as he recalls the first time he saw West dance. in Dance 3 through to his choreography and According to Tucker, West’s work ethic was performance in our version of The Nutcracker,” said definitely in the spotlight that day. Ms. Van der Linden. “I really enjoyed the pieces he created and I loved watching him teach these pieces “I had just gotten back to Eugene after a summer to his peers and the middle school dancers.” guest job and came to the studio to do a preseason maintenance class,” said Tucker, who has been with According to Van der Linden, he also grew to the company for nine years and has been dancing understand that there was always something to lead roles since 2012. “The first thing that I noticed learn and refine. West recalls this lesson well and about him is that he is an extremely hard worker. credits Ms. Van der Linden for helping him relèvé, He is often the first to the studio and the last to or rise, from student to pro. leave the stage after shows. In these last few months working with him he has never ceased to strive “I definitely learned a lot from her,” West said. for a stronger technical ability.”

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SAS sweatshirt $45

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Eagle gym Bag $45

camelbak bottle $27

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WHY I GIVE How long has your family been part of the Singapore American School community? We started with SAS in the second semester of the 2012-13 school year. Why did you choose SAS? By the time our son was ready to go to school we had visited just about every international school in Singapore. We were seeking the best fit for our son who is deaf. SAS stood out. For starters, Dr. Karen Wong Chin was working in the kindergarten. Having previously taught at Gallaudet University (a private university for the deaf in Washington DC). Dr. Chin helped us to develop a ‘start as you mean to go along’ approach working closely with each of the SAS teaching staff. They were interacting with our son and ensuring that everyone across the grade knew how to use the microphone that ‘beams’ the wearer’s voice direct to his hearing devices. Tell us why you volunteer at SAS? We have three children at the elementary school. I have volunteered each year to be a room parent. I found that once I started as a room parent I got to meet members of the PTA and was inspired to volunteer and support other events. It’s a busy stage of life juggling family and work. However, I think these small indirect contributions matter. It’s the pebble effect. What excites you about the education at SAS? On a personal level, for our family it comes down to the exceptional care offered by teaching staff and SAS administration. This year, in particular, as the curriculum

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A L A N A TRISCOTT

pa rent of Ambrose (k inderga r t en), Or son (second gr a de), a nd Ir ving (t hird gr a de)

By ANNE DUNCAN Associate Director of Advancement

load increases for our son and his ability to access more complex learning intensifies, we have found SAS digging deep to work with us. Why do you choose to support the SAS Foundation? We specifically chose SAS for both the support services it offers and the commitment the school was prepared to make in the management of our son’s hearing devices. SAS continues to work with us to implement protocols for device handling (as each year seems to bring new and better technology) and helping our child help himself to become the best advocate he can be for his hearing impairment. We want to directly contribute to support services funding because these services have made a world of difference to our son and it’s our small way of saying thank you. Why is it important for the community to support SAS? As SAS begins to implement some of the changes highlighted by Dr. Kimball in his recent talks, parent involvement is even more essential. Some of these changes look and feel different to how we learned when we were back at school (oh, so long ago!). If we are disconnected from what is going on in our children’s school and the community which surrounds them, how can we be engaged in their learning? As parents of a child with a disability we came to know a bit about early intervention and parent involvement. However, once our son went off to SAS, the importance of the ‘school-parent’ connection really became clear. We have found this with SAS.


Singapore American School Foundation

Philanthropy Awareness Week N E A R LY S $ 4 M I L L I O N R A I S E D I N T H E 2 0 1 5 - 1 6 S C H O O L Y E A R Philanthropy Awareness Week was organized by the high school Executive Service Council and the SAS advancement office, for high schoolers to learn how gifts from the SAS Foundation impact their education. Students learned about the role of philanthropy in non-profit organizations through an advisory lesson. During breaks and lunch periods that week, many students wrote thank you notes to donors, showing appreciation for the special ways their education has been enhanced by the foundation’s gifts. One of the biggest lessons of the week was that being a philanthropist doesn’t mean giving large sums of money. It means taking the time to learn about a non-profit organization and giving what you can to truly support the organization’s mission and vision. At SAS, parents are invited and encouraged to learn about the SAS Foundation and all gifts are appreciated. It is our community’s participation that makes the difference! Please do consider making your gift online at www.sas.edu.sg/makeagift.

WHO are our donors? Parents AlumnI friends faculty staff students

WHAT

DO THEY GIVE?

WHERE

DO THEY GIVE?

+ Academic programs + Arts and Culture

connections

Time

+ Athletics + Campus Facilities + Clubs & Organizations

expertise

money

WHY

DO THEY GIVE?

Make a difference Help others Appreciation Pay it forward

HOW Much

DO THEY GIVE?

Hundreds of different areas supported Thousands of Hours spent volunteering Millions of dollars donated S P R I N G

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JOURNEYS 72


73 JOURNEYS

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By B R YA N N A E N T W I S T L E G r a d e Te n Vo l u n te e r

We packed into a small room plastered with drawings of mountains and yaks, well-loved paperback books scattered upon the splintering wooden floor. Toddlers ran about while older students stood whispering just outside the doorway, their kiras tossed about by the brisk wind. “Welcome to the R.E.A.D. center,” Pasa, our guide, translated from Dzongkha on behalf of the local directors. The 52-family hamlet of Yangthang lay tucked away in the mountains of western Bhutan. Three years ago SAS students partnered with R.E.A.D. Bhutan, a non-profit organization which builds community centers that provide English lessons, vocational training, and health supplies in rural Bhutan, to build the village’s first library. Months of planning, collecting, and advocating propelled us from the humid hallways of SAS to the chilled climate of the Himalayan foothills. As we arrived in Yangthang with our donations, the Bhutanese students welcomed us with a traditional dance and yak-butter tea. Their English levels ranged from nonexistent to almost fluent, forcing us to adapt the lessons we had planned to fit a wide spectrum of abilities. Language barriers were broken by smiles and laughs, and, by the time the sun set over the valley of Haa, we were giving piggy-back rides and hugs. Our last morning in Yangthang was ridden with tears as we said goodbye to the local students with whom we had grown so close. Facebook accounts were exchanged and promises were made to come back and visit. Before we departed, the families opened up their homes for us to visit and share one last cup of milk tea together. They shared with us their hopes for the community and the extent to which R.E.A.D. could help achieve them. Working alongside the locals, we identified the key needs of the center—a permanent English teacher, board games, audio books, documentaries, wifi—and created an action plan through which to fulfill them. As our bus pulled away from the dusty hamlet of Yangthang, we looked back and saw a village waving goodbye. We were family now, service acting as the glue between us. We had served them, and they had served us in return, opening our eyes to the beautiful, indomitable spirit of the Bhutanese people. We may be back in Singapore, but our hearts are still in Yangthang. 75 JOURNEYS

S P R I N G

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The school of the future is now SUMMER SEMESTER PARTNER COURSES INCLUDE:

Columbia University Business School Stanford University Pre-Collegiate Studies in association with V-Campus

Join one or both!

Register now at www.sas.edu.sg/summersemester

Preschool to Grade 12

Session 1

Session 2

June 5 to June 16 & June 19 to June 30 Jump Start July 24 to August 4 S P R I N G

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JOURNEYS 76


Was it this person that said that? Or that person that said this? Turn the magazine upside down to find out if you matched the quote to the right faculty!

1

2

Lauren Mehrbach, Middle School Principal

Jim Diebley, Middle School Tech Ed Teacher

3

Darin Fahrney, High School Principal

Peggy Mason, Pre-kindergarten 5

Samantha Ierullo, Pre-kindergarten

Paul Koebnick, High School Theater

Felipe Sanchez, Middle School Language

Kent Knipmeyer, High School Social Studies

6

8

I was once bitten by a kangaroo…he was in my car. No really, that happened!

I attended middle school with former Liverpool and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Pepe Reina. I starred in a Frosted Flakes commercial and have a black belt in taekwondo.

4

I can finish a Rubik’s Cube in less than two minutes.

I have been chased by angry, hungry baboons…twice! I appeared in a Singapore Airlines inflight safety video for seven years.

7

I have run half marathons on three continents.

I co-own eight honey bee hives with my family in Michigan.

ANSWERS: Lauren Mehrbach – 7; Jim Diebley – 6; Darin Fahrney – 1; Peggy Mason – 4; Samantha Ierullo – 3; Paul Koebnick – 8; Felipe Sanchez – 2; Kent Knipmeyer – 5

77 JOURNEYS

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What’s your story? The bonds of friendship. The mentorship of teachers and staff. Memories made in moments big and small. The learning that shines through perseverance. Every interaction, every pursuit, every class, and every activity at SAS weaves the fabric of our community to make us who we are. We want to celebrate all things SAS. Share your story with us, and we may share it with our community online or in Journeys. Connect with us at communications@sas.edu.sg and help us tell the story of what makes SAS a special place.

S P R I N G

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JOURNEYS 78


1

ROBOTICS TEAMS WIN GOLD IN TAIPEI

Four SAS robotics teams competed in the VEX Formosa robotics contest in Taipei in December 2016 hosted by the Taipei American School (TAS). There were thirty-six teams from nine countries present at the competition. Three of four SAS teams were in the top eight at the end of qualifying rounds, and the fourth SAS team was chosen to be part of an alliance. After multiple playoff rounds, an SAS/TAS alliance won the competition! The winning SAS team was led by senior Noah Haefner. The team will also be bringing home a second trophy, having won the Judges Build Award. The SAS robotics teams were represented by the following students: Jaclyn Chan, Yesh Chandiramani, Colin Clark, Aaron Cruz, Andrea D’souza, Max Van Erven, Afton Garner, Sebastian Gruenwald, Noah Haefner, Mehek Jain, Jeong June Kim, Kimin Kim, Seonghoo Kim, Tze Yee (Z) Koh, Jawon Lee, Alex Lem, Robert Meeks, Sarthak Navjivan, James Quek, Nakul Sharma, Matt Stefansson, and Whitman Tolk. Additionally, the Liger Charter School of Cambodia, which SAS Robotics mentored in the beginning of their robotics program three years ago, won the Judges Award for Best New Team.

79 JOURNEYS

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2

SPEAKERSERIES: CONVERSATIONS WITH DR. ROBY MARCOU

SAS welcomed back Dr. Roby Marcou on March 9, 2017! As always, her presentation offered great insights as she shared her experiences from over 24 years as a developmental pediatrician and as an expat parent.

3

100 WOMEN WHO CARE FUNDS LOCAL FINANCIAL LITERACY GROUP AIDHA

100 Women Who Care Singapore held the first meeting for the year on February 2. The three charities that were nominated were One Singapore, the Children’s Society and AIDHA. AIDHA was selected as the organization to receive funds. It provides financial literacy programs such as money management, computer literacy, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills for foreign domestic workers and lowerincome women. The group collected $4,500 in donations and hope to receive more. Ms. Jane Guo and Shawna Lam from the National Kidney Foundation shared how the group’s donation from the November meeting was used for the children’s dialysis center.

4

MIDDLE SCHOOL CELEBRATES WORLD LANGUAGE WEEK

Joining in the community spirit, middle schoolers celebrated World Languages Week in January. With support from the Peer Counsel, students celebrated the languages taught in middle school by learning about each culture studied this year in world language classes. Traditional games, house competitions, cooking, and other culture specific activities were the order of the day!

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JOURNEYS 80


5

NATIONAL DANCE HONOR SOCIETY WELCOME NEWEST MEMBERS

Congratulations and a warm welcome to Tara Aggarwal, Amy Cho, Aiko Decker, Anya Devgan, Bryanna Entwistle, Kaly Hoemkhuntod, Christina McDougall, Riho Okamoto, Audrey Ong, Suparna Samavedham, Hana Schlesinger, Samantha Teo, Alex Won, and Alice Zhou, as they join the National Dance Honor Society!

7

6

NATIONAL ART HONOR SOCIETY INDUCTS 2016-17 MEMBERS

Congratulations and a warm welcome to Nikhita Agarwal, Tara Aggarwal, Monika Aquino, Shona Graham, Chaeyeon Shim, and Cheryl-Ann Yeo, as they join the National Art Honor Society!

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLERS DAZZLE AT SKATE BANGKOK 2016

Second grader Reika L. emerged Champion and kindergartner Reimi L. walked away with the third prize at the Skate Bangkok 2016 Competition, part of the ISIAsia Championship Series 2016.

8

SAS CYBERPATRIOT TEAM QUALIFY FOR THE REGIONALS PLATINUM DIVISION

The SAS CyberPatriot Team, in its first year and, having competed in CP-IX round one and round two, has qualified for the Platinum Round (highest). CyberPatriot is a national cybersecurity competition sponsored by Northrop Grumman and takes place online. Teams have six consecutive hours to improve the security of one or more virtual images. Teams are typically tasked with maintaining and hardening critical services, fixing vulnerabilities, removing malware, and answering forensic questions, with more complicated challenges as teams advance to higher levels.

81 JOURNEYS

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9

HIGH SCHOOL DUO CAPTURE INTERNATIONAL FILM AWARDS

10 GIRLS CLAIM ACSIS SOCCER

CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE

Senior Aadiraj Batlaw and junior Ishan Modi won the Young Filmmaker Award at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival 2017 for their film Incomplete. Ishan also bagged an honorable mention for his film Torn at the 31st Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

The girls’ teams competing at Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools (ACSIS) league finals clinched the championship title in 11U Division 1, 10U Division 1, and 10U Division. The 1U Division 1 and Division 3 boys’ teams placed third and fourth.

11 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING

12 PRIYANKA AIYER SELECTED FOR

The whole SAS community including faculty and parents participated in the Festival of Reading 2017. From high schoolers reading to kindergartners and middle schoolers, faculty narrating captivating stories, parents performing tales, and even a pajama day, it was an exciting couple of weeks! The festival played host to authors and illustrators Steve Jenkins, Robin Page, and New York Times bestselling author, Todd Parr. They worked in-residence from early learning center to grade five, in art rooms, and in classrooms, as part of the SAS PTA-funded academic visitors-in-residence program.

Senior Priyanka Aiyer was selected as a 2017 National YoungArts Foundation Finalist in Writing (poetry category). She is the only 2017 awardee from outside the United States to be recognized, and the first participant from Singapore in the 36-year history of the program.

AUTHOR HEADLINES FESTIVAL OF READING

2017 NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION COMPETITION

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JOURNEYS 82


13 THE SPACE LAB AT SAS

READY FOR BLAST-OFF!

Having teamed up with the International Space Station, The Space Lab, an extracurricular project at SAS, is launching a student-designed experiment into space to be monitored by astronauts. Their experiment is scheduled for launch on the SpaceX-11 on Falcon 9 and will take flight on April 9, 2017.

15 HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE TEAM

BREAKS INTO QUARTER-FINALS

The high school debate team kicked off the debate tournament season competing in the Singapore International Schools’ Debate League 2017 tournament. Four teams of debaters enjoyed success with our newest debaters notching their first victories. SAS debaters Anu Lal, Haewon Lee, and Sunita Srivatsan were selected as Best Speakers in a round; Janvi Kalra placed in the Top 20 of all speakers, and SAS-A team (Rhea Jain, Janvi Kalra, and Sunita Srivatsan) broke into the Quarter-Finals in the tougher Open Division where they eventually lost to Singapore’s WSDC team.

83 JOURNEYS

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14 RIYA AHUJA WINS THE MIZUNO-

LAGUNA NATIONAL JUNIOR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

High school junior Riya Ahuja won the A Division (under 18) of the Mizuno-Laguna National Junior Golf Championship. In a three-day tournament at the Laguna National Golf Club in Singapore, Riya shot her personal best of -2 on the second day.

16 A PERFECT SCORE FOR

SAS MATHLETES

Hearty congratulations to mathletes Andrew C., Andrew C., Alex E., Kevin H., Avi K., Sean K., Brian K., Ryan L., Theo L., and Varun O. Competing with more than 100 top math students in the region, team SAS had quite a successful showing at the South East Asian MathCounts Competition at Hong Kong International School in February. SAS Team 1 (Andrew C., Alex E., Brian K., and Ryan L.) finished first by a large margin with a perfect score on the Team Round. Ryan L. was first both in the Individual Competition (the only competitor to score a perfect 30 in the Sprint Round) and in the Countdown Round.


17 KINAREE A. EARNS A PLACE ON THE THAI

NATIONAL JIU-JITSU TEAM

In January, Kinaree A. competed in a selection tournament run by the Sports Authority of Thailand and won a place as a member on Thailand’s National Team (Jiu-Jitsu). In her debut performance competing for Thailand, she won two gold medals – World Cup U15 and Junior Open events.

18 CHANGING EDUCATION FROM THE INSIDE OUT

DOCUMENTARY DEBUT

SAS has undergone a challenging process to dramatically improve an already successful school. SAS alumnus Mike Rogers (Class of 2000) created this documentary, which captures the authentic SAS story, including personal reflections and “in the moment” struggles of faculty and leadership over the past three years. The film provides a picture of how this prominent school is taking on transforming an existing successful school to better serve students well into the future. The documentary is currently being screened across the globe in public and international schools.

19 TEAM SAS WINS EYE LEVEL

MATH OLYMPIAD 2016

SAS came up tops at the Eye Level Math Olympiad 2016. Fourth and fifth grade AMPS (formerly GATE) students bagged a grand prize of $1,000 along with a trophy.

CONGRATULATIONS EAGLES! S P R I N G

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40 woodlands street 41 Singapore 738547 Phone: (65) 6363 3403 WEB: WWW.SAS.EDU.SG QUESTIONS? EMAIL US AT COMMUNICATIONS@SAS.EDU.SG CPE Registration No.: 196400340R Registration Period: 22 June 2011 to 21 June 2017 Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) © 2017 Singapore American School All rights reserved.

Journeys Spring 2017  
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