World Magazine - Fall 2016

Page 1

A M E R I C A N

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

S C H O O L

O F

B U C H A R E S T

FALL EDITION 2016

+ SRI LANKA - TSUNAMI STORY

"I don’t think I’ve ever been part of anything as noble or rewarding as that trip. I know that as an educator, I’ve never been prouder of any group of students. " John Bishop, AISB Librarian 2000-2006

+ INTERVIEW: FATIMA WAHEED

Class of 2009. From student to educator, Fatima applies AISB values to her teaching career. Read the full interview on page 9

Guinness World Record Holder

First Finisher of 7 Marathons & 7 Ultra Marathons on 7 Continents

+ MEET THE ALUMNI OFFICERS On the 18th of June 2016, we hosted our AISB Alumni Association Annual General Meeting. Read more on page 10

PAGE 12 AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST

1


Romanian Feature

2

WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Cantacuzino Palace

Built in 1901, the Cantacuzino Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, is a historical monument and one of the European Heritage Label buildings. The sumptuous entrance, in Art Nouveau style, announces the luxury and the refinement of the époque, reunited in one of the most imposing palaces in Bucharest. It now houses The National Museum “George Enescu”. Source: http://www.georgeenescu.ro/sectiile-muzeului_doc_23_palatul-cantacuzino_pg_0.htm


Attaining

Balance In Our Lives Salwa Patricia Khalil / Editor

The focus of this issue of the WORLD™ Magazine is balance, and the idea that by regularly engaging in activities that help us attain balance in our own lives, we are not only supporting ourselves, but those around us through the ripples of our actions. Those activities could include service to others, education, or sports, which tied together, reflect an overwhelming pursuit of personal passions that help us to better ourselves and positively impact the lives of others.

“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” – Leo Buscaglia

Our cover interview tells the story of Andrei Roşu, a father who, at 33, decided to be the best role model he could be for his children. He thus embarked on a continuous journey to build a better version of himself and now holds a World Record for being the first person to have run 7 marathons and 7 ultras on 7 continents; a truly inspiring story that he shared with us via telephone whilst on a casual 15 kilometer training run on a hot summer’s day in Bucharest. Fatima Waheed ’09 shares her passion for education through her teaching philosophy: the role of an educator is not simply to show up for work, rather, teaching is a method through which you help others realize their own potential. In the same way, Ioana Balu ’07, of Flavours Food Design, tells us about how her hunger for quality has developed into the leading catering and events solutions enterprise in Romania. The Flavours touch has inspired thousands, including those at Stradale Carnivale on the AISB campus. Over a decade ago, hundreds of communities were destroyed by a natural disaster that took over 230,000 lives. By far the most moving piece in this issue, our feature shares

the story of a group of AISB students and teachers who set off to rebuild a few of the communities devastated by the ensuing tsunami. On behalf of the AISB Alumni Association, I thank those who embarked on this selfless and noble project to support a community in need; you teach us that no matter how old you are or where you are from, you can truly positively impact and change the destinies of others halfway across the world. On behalf of the editorial team, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to all those who let us peek into their worlds, giving us the opportunity to experience balance through their lenses; thank you to our contributors and interviewees who dedicated a little bit of their own time to enriching the lives of those who will pick up this issue. And to our readers – I do hope you will let yourselves be inspired by the stories in this issue of the WORLD™ Magazine.

Salwa Patricia Khalil, AISB Communications & Alumni Coordinator / Editor

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST

3


VOLUME 5 / ISSUE 1 FALL 2016 EDITORIAL TEAM Dorothea Achim, Alex Calcan, Alex Cristescu, Patricia Khalil, Nikos Kougionas CONTRIBUTORS Ioana Balu, John Bishop, Jon Brian, Robert Brindley, Alex Cristescu, Rachel Dane, Karu Gamage, Catalina Gardescu, David Hughes, Patricia Khalil, John Kurtenbach, Victoria Paun, Andrei Rosu, Zainab Syed, Fatima Waheed PHOTOGRAPHY Bogdan Greavu Mihai Constantineanu AISB Archives DESIGN AND TYPOGRAPHY Mario Zamfir School Brand LLC ONLINE EDITION School Brand LLC WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE Blvd. Pipera Tunari 196 Com. Voluntari Jud. Ilfov Romania 077190 Tel.: 021 204-4300 Fax: 021 204-4384 Email: alumnimarketing@aisb.ro www.aisb.ro Published by Design Works Publishing Co Print Circulation: 1000 copies Electronic Circulation: 2000 copies Cover Design: Mario Zamfir

About AISB

AISB was founded in 1962 and is currently Bucharest's largest international school. The language of instruction is English and teaching is based upon an American style curriculum. The school offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program from Early Childhood through 12th grade. AISB is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council of International Schools, and the International Baccalaureate Organization and is recognized by the Ministry of Education in Romania.

Copyright © 2016 AISB ALUMNI. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

4

WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Trademarks: WORLD Alumni Magazine, AISB Alumni Association and their associated logos are trademarks of the American International School of Bucharest. All other names, logos, and trademarks of other companies shown in this publication are the property of their respective owners.


15 Remembering Sri Lanka

24 28 Alumni Reunion 2016

The Library - A New Learning Space

CONTENTS 06 08 09 10 12 21 26 30

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE

ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE INTERVIEW WITH FATIMA WAHEED ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE & DELEGATES INTERVIEW WITH ANDREI ROSU SHAPING THE BALANCED LEARNER SERVICE LEARNING TWO AISB GRADS SPREAD FLAVOUR

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST

5


Director's Message

Dr. Robert Brindley / AISB Director

As I sit and write this introduction to The WORLD™ Magazine, a magnitude-6.2 earthquake has rocked parts of central Italy, an area of this country that my family and I have visited for the past 13 years. It is off the tourist track, bucolic, and typically Italian in that everyone knows everyone else, slow food is a way of life, and the local pasta dish, vincisgrassi, is created from the most basic ingredients, lovingly prepared for at least four hours, and of course, tastes heavenly. But, it is the sense of community that is so overwhelming; everyone is included, no one is ignored. So, in the last weekend of August this year, we flew back for twenty-four hours to give moral support to those whose houses collapsed or walls buckled. It is not much but it is an acknowledgement that we care, because they cared for us when we arrived as strangers in their midst; it is the least that we can do. As a certain J.M. Power remarked, ‘if you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.’ Face life’s hurdles and jump, or step, or take a running jump

6

WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

if necessary; but, whatever happens do something that will lift you up. Hurdles by definition are never that high; you just need to be able to get over them, knock them down, trip on the top bar, snag your foot on the wooden bar, run through them if necessary; and whatever happens you will get over them.

has changed, it is just a matter of distance and geography. Thus, the feature story in this magazine about an AISB initiative from eleven years ago that explains how a group of faculty and students joined forces to help the victims of the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka, is about community support.

For me, part of that dream was to belong to a community that really was a community; one outside the work setting, somewhere where we could call ‘home.’ The locals definitely judged us when we arrived, but accepted us all the same. They did not understand our cultural perspective, which we realized was quite different, nor did we really understand theirs. Still, we constantly struggle to appreciate why they act or react the way they do. But we often eat together, work together, build dry stone walls together, cook together, and importantly celebrate together, because the Italians love to find an excuse to break bread and drink wine together.

I hope that the traditional concept of community, whereby a number of people whose members live in a specific locality who often have a common set of shared values, cultural heritage and language, is evolving into one that is more complex, more diverse, more tolerant, and more inclusive: a community that respects different standpoints, and indeed relishes them.

We constantly read that the world is getting smaller, but really nothing

Regards,

Robert Brindley AISB Director


Director’s Blog http://director.aisb.ro/ A Curriculum for the Future?

As published in the Director's Blog on May 10, 2016

The more I read and witness the rapid changes that are evolving around us, I am convinced that ‘average’ will not get anyone very far in life. In a recent article, the Financial Times reporting on the boom in robotics investment in 2015 (http://on.ft.com/26NvonM) made it clear that manufacturing is increasingly, indeed almost exponentially, becoming more automated, with minimal human intervention or supervision. As we are all aware, many, many jobs and career paths are being eliminated in the process. How we structure education needs to take into account future career demands. There is a seemingly universal perception that resources such as tablets, laptops, and iPads are naturally positive additions to the array of teaching strategies used in the classroom. These devices are amazingly powerful, but I need to see data, supported by practice, of their effects, both positive and negative. Likewise, as we enter another season of MAP testing that benchmarks our students against their own prior personal performances aswell as those of other students in many other international schools, I again question who decides what the ‘average’ performance should be in any particular grade level. If, for example, the population of students in grade 3 around the world are all underachieving, then any ‘average’ will only be relative to a skewed population. I have an inherent dislike of the word ‘average’. What parent relishes the comment in their son’s or daughter’s report card that says, ‘there has been average performance this semester,’ or implied comments that their offspring are just ‘average’? As I question the current use of technology in classrooms, and its effects on learning outcomes, I do recognize the power of the Internet; it gives access to a plethora of amazing articles, which enable me to read a much wider range of material on educational research than ever before. One such paper, on the topic of ‘average’ that hit my inbox a few weeks ago, was entitled, ‘What Do We Lose By Measuring ‘Average’ In Education?’ (The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose. 2016). "… During the Age of Average we have defined opportunity as “equal access”— as ensuring that everyone has access to the same experiences. Of course, equal access is undoubtedly preferable to older

alternatives such as nepotism, cronyism, racism, misogyny, and classism. And there is no doubt that equal access has improved society immensely, creating a society that is more tolerant, respectful, and inclusive. But equal access suffers from one major shortcoming: it aims to maximize individual opportunity on average by ensuring that everyone has access to the same standardized system, whether or not that system actually fits. … But now we know there is no such thing as an average person, and we can see the flaw in the equal access approach to opportunity: if there is no such thing as an average person, then there can never be equal opportunity on average. Only equal fit creates equal opportunity. Equal fit may seem like a novel idea, but it is ultimately the same view of opportunity expressed by Abraham Lincoln, when he declared that government’s “leading object is to elevate the condition of men—to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life.” We understand that the education of our students must change, but how? At a recent conference in Bucharest I listened to a representative from Google who talked about their corporate strategy being tied to trying to imagine what adult life will be for our present-day kindergarteners. It is this mind-set that we need to adopt to ensure that changes that are made are relevant and as well informed as we can, given the unpredictability of what is before us. To create a curriculum that has closer alignment with the concept of equal opportunity, the educational buzzword at the moment is ‘personalized learning,’ or as some like to rephrase it, ‘learning personalized’. However, I see education evolving in two directions. Firstly, knowledge, skills

and concepts that everyone should be taught, independent of personal attributes and characteristics. Not personalized at all, but a common set of learning outcomes that all must be taught; traditional basic skills in traditional subjects need to be learned and mastered by everyone, be they in Math, Science, Humanities or any of the other liberal arts subjects. Students must learn fundamental knowledge and skills through conceptual understanding and skill repetition and retention. Not just to an ‘average’ level, but to master: competence to a very high level. Technology can definitely help in this regards, but some of the more traditional learning styles have their place here too. Secondly, to echo the sentiments above, a curriculum needs to give students a chance to become ‘the very best we can be, and to pursue a life of excellence’ (Todd Rose). Our curriculum, therefore, must also address the concept of ‘equal fit’ – a curriculum that more closely meets individual student’s attributes. A curriculum that fosters creativity, invention, product design, technology, and allows our students to express and validate their own particular passions and inclinations. Hence a curriculum that merges the strengths of the past with the demands of the future, yet plays into the inherent strengths and aptitudes that we all possess is paramount; a curriculum that does not acknowledge the concept of ‘average’ but appreciates individuality; that uses the latest and ever-changing technologies with purpose, not just hope that it might somehow improve learning; a curriculum that benchmarks itself against any student’s personal potential; that demands certain mastery of certain skills and knowledge understanding; a curriculum for the future. Visit the Director’s Blog today: http://director.aisb.ro/

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST

7


Alexandru Cristescu / Association President

Message from the AISB Alumni Association President

Being a Global Citizen – A Moral Responsibility

This year has seen us launch our biggest project to date: www. AISBconnect.com, a platform exclusive to our AISB Alumni. I urge all Alumni to join and use our unique community to reconnect and find new opportunities. Association elections have been held and we now have a new Alumni Executive Board. Furthermore, we currently have 31 World Wide Delegates covering all continents; in essence, AISB Alumni Ambassadors. No matter where you are on this planet you will be able to contact a person connected to the AISB Alumni Association. Please consult the Meet the Team piece on page 10 for more information. Our Association is now global and we thank you all for volunteering to be Delegates. Our social media communication has improved dramatically with regular posts and up to date information. We also manage to publish pictures with mini AISB Reunions around the world. Together with a number of alumni visits, we have hosted the following events at AISB over the most recent academic year: • • • •

University Search and Application seminar for Grade 11 students; Letting Go seminar with Grade 12 parents; Career Speed Networking day with Grade 10 students The annual Senior Brunch.

The association also hosted a local reunion at LacertA Winery in Romania. The results and feedback from students, parents, teachers and alumni have been the best we have seen to date. Our purpose as an association is solidifying and maturing.

8

WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Citizenship is a concept which strikes a balance between the benefits and responsibilities a human has within society. As AISB Alumni, we have grown in an environment where the individual is proud of their identity and heritage but at the same time respects and has consideration towards everyone else's. This is what makes us global citizens. As such, we have the moral responsibility to better our world, and we choose to do so collectively. It is not by the acts of a single person, but by our mutual contribution, that value is created sustainably.

Alexandru Cristescu Association President


Interview with

Fatima Waheed

Preschool Teacher, Rock and Roll Daycare / AISB Alumna, Class of 2009 WM: Where around the world have you lived and how has that influenced you? FW: I was born and raised in a relatively conventional home in Pakistan where I went to school up until middle school. I moved to Romania for high school, graduating in 2009, and now I live in Boston, USA. I consider myself an amalgamation of the East and the West. Who I am today and the way I see others around me is largely influenced by my exposure to people from various cultures and their differing schools of thought. I feel blessed to have had this exposure but yearn to learn a lot more from the world; it has humbled me. WM: How would you say AISB has influenced you? FW: AISB has played an incredible part in shaping me. Here I discovered talent I was unaware I possessed, I gained confidence that allowed me to break free from my own and societal limitations, I experienced love, friendship and spirituality, and finally I saw glimmers of hope for a bright future for myself. I flourished in the diverse environment and was awarded the Diversity Fund for my Masters in Boston. I now teach children about diversity in my classroom every chance I get, and am

extremely thankful to AISB and all my teachers for paving this path for me. WM: What did you study upon graduating AISB in 2009 and how has this influenced your career? FW: Upon graduating I studied Media Sciences and minored in Advertising in a local university in Pakistan. However, like a lot of people today, I changed careers very quickly. During my undergrad I started volunteering at a preschool in Pakistan; this turned into a full-time job and eventually lead me to Boston in 2014 where I completed my Masters in Early Childhood Education. I have worked with young children for five years and nothing else fulfills me as much as this does. I learned about current research on educating children and realized how important it is to keep educating yourself and continue learning if you want to impart knowledge on to others, especially the younglings. It has also changed the way I perceive a child; as a whole personoutside the classroom walls. I have recently materialized my dream of having a classroom that I lead and I work with an amazing team of educators. I try my best to include all academic and

developmental domains into my lesson plans and let the children decide from a plethora of opportunities how they choose to grow, much like my experience at AISB. WM: What do you believe the role of an educator is and what motivates you? FW: The role of an educator might have different meanings to everyone; to me it is many things. The most important is helping people realize their own potential and to instill the disposition of simply being a learner. When we teach someone why it is important to learn and then give them knowledge, they will learn about the world because they want to grow as human beings and become better as they do it. All we can hope for are healthy good citizens. Having a good team to work with is quite a big motivating factor, along with the challenge that comes in implementing good strategies for a child’s learning. Naturally my general fascination with children keeps me going every day and is pretty much the most motivating factor there can be. WM: What advice do you have for AISB students who also would like to pursue a career in education?

FW: Do it. There is no other advice I can give my fellow AISB-ers. There can never be enough educators in this world and there is always a need for more. If you cannot find the motivation within you to better the livelihoods of others then seek it elsewhere, but do seek it because everyone needs help. I’ve received plenty of criticism and suggestions against pursuing a career in Education for multiple reasons, but I cannot explain how satisfying it is to help a child realize their own potential. WM: How do you see your future developing and what do you want to achieve? FW: I see myself as the director or owner of my own school of children one day where teachers can learn from children and supervisors learn from the teachers. But before I do that I want to soak myself top to bottom in teaching and working closely with children. I hope to further my education to learn about child psychology and immerse myself in educational research. One of my goals is to work at a school like AISB, I hope to achieve this somewhere along the way too.

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST

9


Alumni Association Executive Committee & Delegates EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Alex Cristescu

President / Legal Adviser

On the 18th of June 2016, we hosted our AISB Alumni Association Annual General Meeting. Through unanimous vote we ratified our new Regulations, voted in our Executive Officers and Delegates, and gave a mandate to the Alumni Executive Committee to appoint any and all delegates as they see fit.

Alex Calcan

Nikos Kougionas

Michelle Ciubuc

Dorothea Achim

Salwa Patricia Khalil

Catalina Gardescu

Vice President

Treasurer

Public Relations

View a copy of the Regulations by accessing: http://goo.gl/mI8YUn

Marketing

10 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Alumni Coordinator / Editor

Manager of Admissions & External Relations


DELEGATES EUROPE Alex Dobre (Cyprus) Andreea Dinulescu (UK) Carolina Heitmann (Switzerland) Inna Asthana (Ireland) Ioana Balu (Romania) Maria Antip (France) Maria Dobre (Cyprus) Sever Savanciuc (Switzerland) NORTH AMERICA Abhishek Puri (USA) Andreas Kougionas (Canada)

Catherine Kyritsi-Morales (USA) Leo Vasquez (USA) Mark Phillips (USA) Max Petre (USA) Michael Demyttenaere (USA) Sabrina Sotiriu (Canada) Victorita Paun Sanchez (USA) AFRICA Jurgen Strohmayer (Ethiopia) Luvo Sifuba (South Africa) Nikolas Skarlatos (Ghana) AUSTRALIA Charlie Brian (Australia)

Zainab Syed (Australia / Pakistan)* SOUTH AMERICA Marina Losito (Brazil) ASIA Andrew Nicholson (India) Binle Ye (Hong Kong) Jonathan Kyritsis (Taiwan) Lily Jamaludin (Malaysia) Moshe Gordon (Israel) Nikhil Lodha (India) Robin Demyttenaere (Hong Kong) Sean Campbell (UAE) Zainab Syed (Pakistan / Australia)* *Double representation

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 11


Interview with

Andrei Roșu Guinness World Record Holder

FIRST FINISHER OF 7 MARATHONS & 7 ULTRA MARATHONS ON 7 CONTINENTS

12 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE


“I am running while I am talking to you, I took my son to club training and I always have my gear with me, so I thought why not run” WM: Andrei can you please give us a quick introduction to yourself? AR: I am an economist and have worked in financial services for 15 years. Now I am an entrepreneur and I am focusing my efforts towards public speaking, conferences and sport programs.

I am an amateur athlete and without having any previous experience I started running when I was 33. My lifestyle was all about spending a lot of time on the couch and in the office and I was eating mostly junk food. I wanted to become a role model for my son and daughter, so I started to

run. My first objective was to run a marathon at the North Pole, I thought it might encourage me to stick to a training plan and it worked. I became the first Romanian and the youngest person to reach the North Pole. That was the beginning.

and 7 Ultras on 7 Continents. I participated in races across Europe, in Antarctica, the North Pole, Australia, the Himalayas, the Sahara Desert, Chile, New Zealand, and Brazil to name a few. I am the first person to have ever achieved this according to Guinness World Records.

Ultra Triathlon: 11.4 km swimming, 540 km cycling, 126 km running – in 48 hours. In 2014 I finished the Virginia Quintuple Ultra: 19 km swimming, 900 km cycling, 210 km running – in 126 hours.

WM: What sport competitions have you taken part in?

In 2012 I started taking serious swimming and cycling lessons. My objective was to finish a Double Ironman. In March 2013 I achieved it, in Florida. I finished my first Double Ironman: 7.6 km swimming, 360 km cycling, 84.4 km running – in 35 hours. In November 2013 I finished the Mexican Triple

which starts at London's Marble Arch and ends at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This includes swimming across the English Channel which is considered the Everest of this sport, so I said, why not? So I also completed this 140 km run, 50 km swim and 300 km cycle challenge.

AR: I participated in the Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100km Ultra Race in December 2010. Then I started running on each continent and in March 2012 I finished The Circuit: 7 Marathons

Then I found out about the hardest Ultra Triathlon in the world called Arch 2 Arc

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 13


Probably my best known achievement in the public eye is the Polar Ultramarathon (6633Ultra), which I completed this spring. Me and my running partner, Vlad Tanase, have become the first duo in the event's history to run together from start to finish.

WM: What is your greatest achievement? AR: Looking back, my greatest achievement was to get off the couch. I needed 33 years for that. The rest are the results of a training plan; it really is not that complicated. The competition itself is not that difficult either, the training is the hardest. You need years for it, while the competition lasts only a few days.

WM: What is your goal in pursing sports with such rigor? AR: Sports became a habit for me and I cannot live without them. My mind is clear, I feel energetic and I completely changed my identity. Sports help me build a better version of myself. My whole family follows me, everyone is running. My son Alex, who is 8, was the youngest person in Europe to finish a Half Marathon last year. We don't push him, he pushes us!

WM: How do you sustain this level of performance both physically and mentally? AR: I don't have to motivate myself. It is a habit for me, like taking a shower or brushing my teeth, it is very simple now. I always have a strategy when I attend a competition. During training I simulate the hardest parts of the event, sleep depravation or running during any kind of weather. I never complain, I know why I am there, and I focus on how I can finish the race. Never abandon or slack off from your training.

WM: How do sports help improve a person? AR: First of all, you need to look at sports not from the performance point of view but use them as a personal development tool. If you have sport objectives, like running a marathon, you have to follow a plan of how to get from point A to point B. This translates easily from sports to any area. In competitions you always have a hard time and you need to get over obstacles. That builds up strength and endurance, and you can export this learning and these skills to all areas of your life. Sports help you manage daily stress and have better communication with others.

WM: How should we include sports in the education of students so that it becomes a lifestyle? AR: Wake up early and start your day with 20 minutes of physical activity, it does not matter if you are a student or someone older. You will have the energy to start your day with the hardest projects and you will have the drive to do things. When you are a student, you do not have a clear direction for your life but if you

Want to know more about Andrei? Visit his website http://www.42krosu.ro/ Find out about his next race. Read his blog: http://www.andreirosu.org/

14 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

do a lot of things, you change your context and you are better off.

WM: Please tell us about programs you have started to help people improve themselves. AR: I have held two TED talks until now and in 2014 I wrote down everything I knew about running and created a program for beginners called Coaching in Action (Coaching in Alergare C.I.A. - http://www. coachinginalergare.ro/). We approach running from a holistic perspective. It is not only about running, but how to incorporate running in people's lives, nutrition, and how to connect your body with the surrounding environment. For a month you work with 10 people and the results are spectacular. It is always sold out. The community is now an association.

WM: What are your goals for the future and what competition will you tackle next? AR: My main goal is to remain a role model for my two children, the people around me and my community and to support as many charities as I can. Being a role model is not a one-week job. You cannot tell your children, ‘let me show you this week how to do things’ and run and eat properly, and then go back to your routine the week after. Children act according to what they see around them every day. Next, I will have to become a sailor and a very good rower by December 2017 as my next goal is to cross the Atlantic rowing. It takes 50 or 60 days. I am used to more solitary sports and this is a team effort. It is the longest, and hardest, challenge yet.


Remembering the

Sri Lanka Tsunami

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 15


Sri Lanka Tsunami

History through the eyes of those who lived it

First hand accounts & testimonials WATCH THE MOVIE

https://youtu.be/w6vj-_hUxAs

"Sunday, December 26th, 2004 – Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand HUGE earthquake. Monster tsunami. We had decided to go snorkeling. Around 9:30 we headed out from Phuket towards the small island of Phi Phi, motored around and came to an opening into the island that was about 8-10 meters wide. We entered, snaked through and came into a large natural pool. The boat anchored and our guide told us that we would have 20 minutes to swim. After only 3-4 minutes the crew began yelling at us to get back into the boat. Last on the boat, as soon as my foot was on the ladder, the captain gunned all three of the 200 horsepower engines and... we went nowhere.

Upon entering this enclosure we had been in at least 3 meters of water and now... now we were beached on the sand. Looking over the edge of the boat it seemed like 90% of the water had been sucked out in an instant.

towards the boat quickly. It seemed like we were floating in place forever, engines ready to explode, but we were inching forward and finally, we managed to edge out of the cove. Two boats didn't make it out and capsized in there.

The people on the boat began panicking. Tensions grew as people began looking around for answers but were only met with blank stares. As quickly as the water had left us, it was flooding back in with amazing force as it funneled through the small opening. The guide started yelling and throwing life jackets everywhere. From being stuck on the sand, we were being pushed back into the rocky edge. The captain lowered the engines into the water, and again gunned all three engines, with no positive effect. As we got pushed farther back, the captain steered towards the left edge and managed to slowly move ahead as he clung close to the edge of the rocks. A large wave of water was coming

We waited. Twenty minutes turned into forty and soon sixty. Hours later we arrived back to Phuket... to a different pier, made of steel and cement. There were dozens of boats hanging around 100 meters out. And there were dozens more close to shore, capsized... and lots more on the shore and on the road, destroyed. What the hell had happened? We were raced to the pier, hustled off the boat and whisked onto buses by ambulance attendants and policemen and guys in emergency uniforms – still not knowing what was going on. We were taken to the tourist rescue center. As we pulled in, the gravity of the situation began to hit us. State of emergency... 9.1 earthquake on

16 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

the Richter scale... tsunami... hundreds and hundreds of people at the rescue center, many of them in bandages... announcements of missing people... a German woman in her bikini at 10:30 at night who had lost her belongings, passport, clothes, camera... as well as her husband. The damage to hotels along the beach was absolute. There was no access or power to get back to our hotel. More panic as reality ever so slowly sank in a little more... our passports? Our tickets? Our stuff? Our money to get out of here? We thought to ourselves... 'We are on vacation... what is going on here? This kind of thing happens on TV, to other people. Not here, not now, not to us.' Slowly, more drops of reality sunk in. Monday, December 27th, 2004 – Patong Beach, Phuket Thailand

The streets were covered in sand and

debris of all sorts. The vast grassy areas of the hotels were cluttered with beach chairs, tables, splintered pieces of wood, and cars. Cars and scooters were floating in pools, two buses were crammed into a coffee shop, and a third was flipped on end and resting up against a hotel. A 100-foot yacht was smashed in half up against the palm trees lining the boardwalk. 40-foot speed boats were lying in the middle of the street, 200 meters from the shore. The damage was absolute. At 8:30am on Monday, December 27th, 2004, the National Guard and the others who had begun the clean up, as well as the rest of the world that was tuning in, had no idea of the degree of tragedy still to be uncovered." (Bird, 20-22) An extract adapted from Lorne Bird's account of his personal experiences in Thailand, December 2004.


On December 26, 2004, a gigantic earthquake occurred near Sumatra, Indonesia. With a magnitude of 9.1-9.3 and a Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), the earthquake triggered a sequence of devastating tsunamis, causing destruction in 14 countries and killing over 230,000 people. Many have referred to this event as one of the deadliest natural disasters recorded in history. In the village of Peraliya, Sri Lanka, the beach experienced the first of the 30 meter-high killer waves at 9:30 AM, flooding the community. By the 3rd of January, 2005, over 30,200 deaths and 21,500 injuries had been reported by Sri Lankan authorities. Following the aftermath of the events, led by Andrew and Champa Nicholson, AISB came together to raise funds and donations for those in Sri Lanka. "AISB students, faculty, and parents worked for several months to gather supplies and money for the tsunami victims of Sri Lanka. A team of interested parents, teachers, and students met to form a plan as to how our school would respond. The community partnered with schools in the affected regions and leapt into action to raise funds for the victims in Sri Lanka. Everyone got involved with as much as they could give; students lead initiatives and performed odd jobs, baked for bake sales, hosted dinner parties, sold t-shirts, organized car boot sales, and hosted dances and talent shows, among others, to raise money; the ParentTeacher organization donated funds from their Annual Auction Gala to help the cause; and teachers liaised with the IBO office and other international schools to identify which schools in Sri Lanka needed the most help." (Bishop, 23)

At the end of June 2005, Charlie Brian (G4), Rachel Dane and Zainab Syed (G8), Adam Glover and Jurgen Strohmayer (G9), Thomas Brian, Moshe Gordon, Jonathan Kyritsis, Paul Predusel, and Oana Toma (G10), Diana Damian, Cathy Kyritsis, Meagan Mix and Jackie Wentworth (G11), and Udai Malhotra, James Stewart, and Emma Wolthers (G12), packed their bags for Sri Lanka. On Monday, June 20th, 2005, together with teachers Andrew and Champa Nicholson, Jon and Maree AldersonBrian, and John Bishop, they landed in Sri Lanka ready to offer support on the ground. Together, they would be "teaching children, playing games with them, singing songs, constructing buildings, painting walls... doing whatever they could to help show their commitment and concern for those in need." (Bishop, 23) "The first two days we organized into groups. Each group then went to the shops with their assigned teachers to buy supplies, including books and general school

supplies. The orange bags that we had brought from Romania, 211 of them as Rachel and I had last counted, were put in neat lines in the hotel foyer and filled with pencils, erasers, etc. for the children. This task took a lot of effort but all the sweating and working in the heat (as there was no AC in the foyer) was not wasted. We talked to Mr. Sarath Ranasinghe, the school supervisor who told us 'the people you have come to help are poor, but after the Tsunami, they are even poorer. They are devastated, frustrated and traumatized.' That was the challenge we had to face, to make their burden a little less. This school had 600 children out of which only 250-300 had returned. Some had changed schools, stayed home or had died in the tsunami. The school had lost 3 teachers, and 9 students had lost both parents. Twenty students had lost one parent, almost all had lost a loved one and 1,800 bodies had been washed into their school grounds. These children had seen and experienced it all. As I saw the school for the first

time, I was aghast. I felt tears surface. The school was half destroyed, the foundation of one building remained and temporary wooden huts were built as classrooms. They had old rusty tables and chairs, no windows, and the doors leading to the rooms had been washed away. The entire scene was appalling. As I stood in the school grounds I felt excited and nervous at the same time. I didn't know what to expect. Would the children really take to us? Would they like us being there? My fears were immediately set aside as I saw two young girls wearing recently washed white uniforms, smiling at us, waving, and very anxious to meet us. By holding our hands, asking our names, ages and nationalities and showing us their school, they made us feel at home. Though the odds were against them they had not lost hope. It felt good to be part of a group of 15 students from 10 different nationalities, rising above all differences of language, faith, and cultures to work together

and help others. My one hope in writing of this experience has been to pass the message around, to encourage others to take initiatives, no matter how small, so they too will help people like those in Sri Lanka." (Syed, 11-12) "These students should be commended for their courage, commitment and generosity," writes John Bishop, former AISB librarian.

Bird, Lorne. "Tsunami Relief Eyewitness Account." Carpati Chronicle, Mar. 2005, pp. 20-22 Bishop, John. "AISB & Tsunami Relief – Trip to Sri Lanka." Carpati Chronicle, Jun. 2005, pp. 23 Syed, Zainab. "The Sri Lankan Experience." Carpati Chronicle, Oct. 2005, pp. 11-13

Edited and compiled by Salwa Patricia Khalil

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 17


Sri Lanka Tsunami

History through the eyes of those who lived it

First hand accounts & testimonials

RACHEL DANE and I hope I never can.

ZAINAB SYED

In the midst of all that seems to divide us in the world today, I find myself constantly thinking of moments that have brought us together – The Sri Lankan Experience, as I had written in my journal 10 years ago was one such instance. In the decade that has passed, I may be hazy on some of the details but I will never forget the horror of watching the news unfold, the images that pierced through us and how, almost immediately, the Nicholson’s took the lead and the whole school followed in what can only be known as an outpouring of love and compassion. There was nothing, really, that connected any of us to those who had been struck by the devastation in Sri Lanka, except our shared humanity – and back then, it was enough. I was honored to be on the first trip to Sri Lanka with nineteen others. I remember being overwhelmed. Intimated. Lost. Mostly, I remember my heart being swollen, so large in my chest I felt like my then 15 year old body was much too young to carry a heart that big. The time we spent there changed me in ways I am still unraveling. It instilled in me a commitment to a life of service. Of using my privilege to make someone else’s world a little richer. To do it with humility and sincerity. This ardent desire to be of use is something I am still unable to shake off

What I learnt about giving with grace, about humanity beyond color, about resilience in the face of erosion from the people I was privileged to serve in Sri Lanka, and the ones who shared the journey with me from Romania, are lessons I still use to help me navigate my role in this world. Many of us, from the “original” crew are scattered across the earth and haven’t spoken since but I am sure they would all agree that what we did on the ground that summer was perhaps a small dent in the lives of those we met, but what they gave us stretches across lifetimes, and I have never been more grateful. There are faces still etched in my memory whose names I do not remember but whose strength I can never forget – it is the greatest gift I have carried inside of me ever since. Zainab studied Political Science at Brown University and is currently a performance poet and entrepreneur. She runs WORD Ink, a start-up that creates safe spaces in Pakistan that empowers the youth to respond to the violence around them in a non-violent manner, for example, through workshops and poetry slams. She launched WORD Ink earlier this year with her co-founder Zohab Khan. Find out more at www. pakistanpoetryslam. com and www. facebook.com/ pakistanpoetryslam.

18 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

The day I heard that a group was being put together for a relief trip to Sri Lanka, was the same day I asked my parents’ permission to go. Zero hesitation. Landing in Sri Lanka, it was my first time in a developing country. I had never experienced such chaos, and it was almost refreshing. As soon as our plane touched down, we were off to work collecting school supplies, stuffing backpacks, planning lessons - all while adjusting to the outrageous time

JOHN BISHOP

I find it hard to believe that it has been twelve years since that fateful December day when myself, and two others from the AISB community were caught in the Tsunami. We were in Sri Lanka, in the seaside community of Hikkaduwa specifically. And though we were unharmed, and all made it home safely, there are sounds and scenes that will never leave my mind from that dreadful day… days. I remember that Mr. Bird had similar tales from his experience of the event in Thailand. What was possibly more memorable though was the outpouring of compassion, support

change. Colombo was insane, but arriving in Hikkauwa was the true eye opener. Homes, businesses and schools had been washed away; sailboats had been tossed onto the shore. Trees were knocked down, their roots pulled through the earth and up towards the sky. I was not prepared for the emotions that I felt. I had not prepared myself for the devastation, the trauma, the heat, and I had certainly not prepared myself for the absolutely heartwarming and welcoming souls of the people of Sri Lanka. We de-rusted and re-painted desks, sweating under the sun. There was

and altruism that came from the AISB community upon our return. I watched the entire school family mobilize, and work toward tangible projects so that we could all participate in bringing some degree of relief to the region. I watched the PTO host a huge fundraising and awareness campaign. I saw our youngest students brainstorm ideas of how they could support the school effort. The Elementary Student Council hosted fundraising events, including a wonderfully messy afternoon decorating cupcakes, and donating the proceeds to the cause. Our director at the time, Dr. Bieber, recognized this heartfelt response, and allowed teachers to get involved as well. I watched the older students come together and plan events, fundraisers,

dancing, singing, and a million smiles. We laid down foundations for a few new buildings, and a new start for the lives of those affected. Following this once in a lifetime experience, my view of the world changed. I no longer saw life from a “first world” point of view. I had a new understanding of what others experience on a daily basis, and it set off my love for the world. It broadened my ideas of religion, lifestyle, food, family, and even friendships. And even after 10 years, I still give my thanks to Andrew and Champa Nicholson, for guiding us on a journey that will stay with me forever.

and eventually choose a group of High School students who would actually go to Sri Lanka to effect some concrete relief to the victims. The community raised something like $78,000 USD, and we assembled a team to go to Sri Lanka and rebuild a school. I don’t think I’ve ever been part of anything as noble or rewarding as that trip. I know that as an educator, I’ve never been prouder of any group of students. The coordinating teachers, Champa and Andrew Nicholson, did a phenomenal job, and the rest of the adults attending were constantly impressed and inspired by what the AISB team was able to achieve. When we left, we were not the same people who had come with a pocket full of dollars. We had opened our hearts, made friends, learned

Rachel attended the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and studied technical theatre. She is now living and working in Tel Aviv after becoming an Israeli citizen last year. She is currently working to help expand the English language theatre and performing arts community in Tel Aviv with The Stage. The Stage TLV is an incredible, non-profit organization that was established in 2013, and is made up of volunteers from all around the globe who provide year round productions and workshops, supporting any and all forms of art in Israel.

what it means to be a citizen of the world, and we built a new school building that revitalized a community that had lost everything, including hope. I know I said it twelve years ago, but thank you all for showing me a side of yourselves that made it safe for a side of myself to shine too. Your virtue, generosity, and strength of character, truly changed me forever. John Bishop was Librarian at AISB between 2000-2006. He moved on to work in libraries in The UAE, New Zealand, and Russia. He and Bogdan Mihai currently run a photography/ videography company called Buburuza Productions in Huntsville, Texas. www. buburuzaproductions. net


JON BRIAN

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of experiences in anyone's life that can have an impact on them. There is perhaps, nothing more profound than immersing yourself in a shared experience that tries to make a positive difference in the lives of others. The AISB Sri Lankan Project that I was privileged to be a part of was such an experience. The tragedy of the tsunami

which struck Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia was brought much closer to home because there were friends and colleagues directly affected. They were there at the time and witnessed the devastation. Some were lucky to survive themselves. Their chance to survive provided our chance to assist other survivors too. The AISB Sri Lankan Tsunami Relief Project was born out of a desire to make a difference on the ground, specifically in an area that had been significantly affected.

Collectively and collaboratively, the entire AISB community came together to raise funds, gather materials and make plans to go to Sri Lanka to make a difference in the lives of the local people of Hikkaduwa. I sincerely believe we did. However, perhaps the biggest difference such an experience may have is in your own life. To be involved in such a project is challenging. There are logistical, professional and personal challenges that must be overcome. But it is also a humbling experience.

It is a chance to reflect upon your own life and how fortunate you may be in comparison to others. It is a chance to share your humanity. To touch the hands of others, to share effort and laughter. It is ultimately an enriching experience that will last a lifetime. If you have an opportunity to become involved in such a project, take it! Become engaged. Immerse yourself. In the words of Terry Fox, a young Canadian who lost his own life in his attempt to

support survivors of cancer: "EVERYONE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE". Jon Brian taught at AISB between 2000 and 2007. He now lives in his home city of Sydney, Australia, where he happily avoids full time employment by working as a Tour Guide with some of Sydney's leading experiences. He would be delighted to share his memories of his time in Romania with you, as well as his knowledge of and passion for the city of his birth, if ever you plan to travel to Australia. Drum bun!

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 19


The story of the Tsunami disaster and AISB After the earthquake on December 26, 2004, a series of devastating tsunamis struck southern Asia, affecting 14 countries and killing over 230,000 people. In Sri Lanka alone, over 32,000 deaths were reported. Entire communities were destroyed and among them, schools were shattered to the ground. The International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific office made a global help cry throughout the IB Schools Network aiming to rebuild the lost educational facilities. The American International School of Bucharest promptly responded, lead by Andy and Champa Nicholson. Together, the school mobilized and worked to raise funds and support for those in Sri Lanka and in the summer of 2005, a group of teenagers from AISB, along with several other teachers, made their way to Sri Lanka. They became one of the best schools in the world, among 40 international schools linked with the Overseas School of Colombo, to contribute immensely to the schools that had been destroyed by the tsunami on the coast line of Sri Lanka. The AISB team chose to rebuild two schools in the south, namely: Peraliya Sri Jinarathana School, the school near a train crash site that alone killed over 2,000 people, and the other one further south, Godauda Secondary School near Dickwella, close to Matara. At the Peraliya School, the AISB team promptly repaired the only remaining two story building where the second floor was flooded by the rising killer wave. More than 8 buildings were destroyed and students were taken to a nearby Temple to have some lessons, but the place was completely overcrowded. There wasn't enough furniture or other facilities for all the children who came to learn. But the students and the teachers were motivated by the AISB group who worked hard to do their best. The next step was to build a temporary school building on the remaining foundation, lead forward by the funds provided by AISB with pouring support from the AISB community.

The aid from AISB came not only through the provision of instant support to restart the school work, but later continued until the new buildings were built. Finally, the AISB group provided a much needed computer lab. On their first visit to the Godauda School in Dickwella, the AISB team was welcomed by all the students who were lined up in front of the school. AISB donated school bags and other materials to each and every student. Furthermore, a number of other key supplies with which to run the school's main office were generously given. The Janoda Foundation was a new nonprofit organization when the tsunami struck. We all worked in collaboration with the Overseas School of Colombo with the mission to rebuild the schools destroyed by the tsunami. The government of Sri Lanka recognized the service rendered by the Foundation and in 2006, donated a plot of land to establish the Foundation in Hambantota. Since then, the Janoda Foundation has grown strongly by contributing to supporting educational empowerment. They help Preschools and Kindergartens, and train teachers in the district, making an effort to build more facilities in the neighboring schools. The model preschool built at the foundation became the center of teaching practice. International Youth Volunteer Projects with students from the UK, Canada and China, are making significant progress in modern volunteer opportunities in the global youth community. Since 2008, cultural and ecological exposure towards global understanding and sustainable development has grown significantly. Karu Gamage Founder/President, Janoda Foundation Ex-IBO Project Coordinator 2005-2008 Member, UNESCO CCNGO/ EFA Sri Lanka Coordinator, Partner School Worldwide, UK Janoda Foundation is now open for gap year and vacation time youth volunteers with service projects or research work from one week, two weeks and for longer service learning. Contact: karu.gamage@gmail.com www.janodafoundation.org https://www.facebook.com/Janodafoundation/

20 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE


Shaping the Balanced Learner by David Hughes

David Hughes / Athletics & Activities Director

“It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to the task.� Robert Kennedy At AISB we believe that we must engage students fully thus we ensure that they are offered a wide variety of opportunities to play sports, perform on stage in theater productions or music festivals, and compete in math, speech & debate and Model United Nations competitions to name but a few. We are fortunate enough to have an Athletics and Activities program that is wide and varied, and growing rapidly. This has come from students pushing to want to do more, an extremely supportive leadership team that support our program, and from the hard work

Athletics & Activities Director

and dedication of our staff members to coach and teach our students in their fields of specialty. The benefits of these activities on our students is truly immeasurable. Below is an outline of just some of the skills and benefits I have seen our students develop.

GETTING INVOLVED IN DIVERSE INTERESTS Getting involved in extracurricular activities also allows students to get involved in new and diverse interests. Offering a rich and varied program allows them to explore various interests that they may have.

LEARNING TIME MANAGEMENT AND PRIORITIZING One great benefit of students being involved in extracurricular activities is that they will learn about time management and prioritizing things in their life. As adults, we get very used to juggling a variety of different tasks and commitments. Our students need to learn how to do this as well, and getting involved in these activities can give them some practice at it.

LEARNING ABOUT LONG TERM COMMITMENTS Students learn about long term commitments when they are involved in extracurricular activities as well and this is another excellent benefit. When they join one of the activities or clubs, they commit themselves to that activity for a period of time. MAKING A CONTRIBUTION Extracurricular activities allow our students to make a contribution to our community through representing

Core Values:

excellence in effort sportsmanship teamwork self discipline & dedication AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 21


the school teams or by performing in a musical festival or theater production. It shows that they are getting away from just thinking about themselves and contributing to something bigger. RAISES SELF ESTEEM Being involved in extracurricular activities helps to raise the self-esteem of students. There are many teens around the world who feel worthless or who think that there is nothing they are good at. At this age, students can struggle with self-esteem, and these activities are a way that they can build a confidence in one’s ability to do something great for themselves and their teammates. Everyone wants to find something that they are really good at, and extracurricular activities provide them with a way that they can get involved in something and really shine, giving their self-esteem a boost.

22 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

BUILDING SOLID RELATIONSHIP SKILLS Students have the benefit of building solid relationship skills when they get involved in extracurricular activities. Students need to get involved in social activities and learn how to appropriately act in social situations and these activities give them a chance outside of school to do this, while they are still being supervised by adults. A great example of this is the homestay program during our international tournaments, when students are welcomed into the houses of families from other schools. Learning to be a house guest and building a relationship with opponents on the field is a wonderful experience offered to our students. And these relationships last a long time.

LOOKS GREAT ON COLLEGE APPLICATIONS Yet another benefit of students getting involved in extracurricular activities is that it looks great on college applications. Most colleges not only look at grades, but they take a look at extracurricular activities that students are involved in while they are in high school. They want to see that students are getting out there and doing more than just book work. The activities that students are involved in reveal a lot about them, and definitely will say something to the college admissions committees. It is truly an honor to work to develop the students at AISB, to see them grow and help them find a passion that will hopefully stay with them far into their lives.


Sport and activity is a vital part of student life here at AISB. Some of life’s most important lessons, such as victory and being part of a team, are learned through participation in athletics and activities. AISB takes great pride in offering one of the finest interscholastic athletic and activity programs to be found in Bucharest, and throughout Eastern Europe.

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 23


LacertA Winery 434, Fințești, RO-127392, Buzau County

Annual General Meeting

24 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Tel: +40 37 860 02 44 office@lacertawinery.ro www.lacertawinery.ro


On Saturday, June 18, 2016, we were special guests at the beautiful LacertA Winery located around 100 kilometers from Bucharest where we hosted our Summer Reunion and Annual General Meeting. In an effort to offer our alumni learning experiences through our events, we toured the facility and

were presented with detailed and impressive explanations on the process of wine production and distribution. Whilst asking questions and sharing experiences with LacertA’s Managing Partner Mr. Walter Friedl, we enjoyed a comprehensive wine tasting paired with a delicious lunch in the open air of the winery estate.

The Alumni Executive Board was elected while the Rules and Regulations that govern the AISB Alumni Association were ratified and voted for at the reunion. To see more photos and learn more about this event, join us on www.AISBconnect.com.

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 25


Service Learning Programs at AISB The Service Learning programs and the school curriculum at the American International School of Bucharest complement each other. They are further evidence of the school’s commitment to the ideal of service and to the deepening of our understanding of service through the process of learning. November and December are months in which reaching out to others in need, sharing from our wealth of opportunities and showing that we care, are at their foremost. “Students who have been taught to share with others and who have learned through these acts of Service will be “better” adults, will be supportive to those in need when they are adults, and will recognize that they are or might be in a unique position to help those who need help, short term and long term.” Margritha Hofman, AISB Service Learning & IBDP CAS Coordinator. “Caring for others promotes resilience, determination, positive social behaviors and attitudes, motivation for learning, and increased engagement which are all catalysts for academic success. Fostering and developing a culture of caring and service not only benefits students, but it also helps create a healthy

Compiled by Catalina Gardescu Manager of Admissions & External Relations with the support of Margritha Hofman, AISB Service Learning & IBDP CAS Coordinator and Janice Myles, AISB Service Learning Coordinator, Primary Years Program

school community and environment.” Janice Myles, AISB Service Learning Coordinator, Primary Years Program. AISB students respond to the needs of the villagers of Berceni by stuffing a bus full of basic foods that help them get through the winter. This is now an institutionalized tradition that has taken place for the past 8 years. Every class carefully monitors and tracks the number of food items they collect, recording this information on a class thermometer. Last year around 450 food bags were collected containing over 6,000 food items! Teachers turned the experience into an opportunity to study the math behind the numbers. One of the AISB grade 5 classes studied their purchase receipts and analyzed if they made good selections and choices for the value of their purchases. Students were asking questions like, “How many people can you feed with this pasta?” and “Is it better to buy peanut butter or a can of kidney beans?” (from the Service Learning blog at AISB) In preparation for the Harvest Festival, AISB students scribble their blessings on paper leafs. These decorate a feast of all nations at the end of November – every nation represented in the

26 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

AISB student body is present to offer students and school visitors a taste of their traditional food, giving thanks for all they have been blessed with. Last year marked a special event, maybe the start of a new tradition: a special Ciprian Porumbescu and George Enescu concert performed by members of the Remember Enescu Foundation. This concert was held in support of the PAVEL Organization, supporting children with cancer, leukemia, and grave anemia. The Festival of Lights is an opportunity to help students learn about world religions. From the Christmas tree lights, to the Hanukkah flames; from the Guiding Star to the Diwali flames and the Light of Islam, the element of light brings together all of these wonderful and unique celebrations. Students have the chance to engage personally with different customs, absorb knowledge, and ask questions. In December, members of the AISB community pick a tag from the Giving Tree and prepare a gift box that will be delivered to the children in need named on the tags. Last year 100 shoeboxes were filled and given to children from 3 different organizations: PAVEL Children’s Cancer Hospital, Touched Romania and Fundatia Sf. Dimitrie.

None of the most recent events in the world have left the AISB community unmoved. From helping the Red Cross support the victims of the fire in the Bucharest Colectiv Club, to running clothes and blanket drives to benefit the refugee camps in Romania, the AISB students stay alert and ready to reach out their hands and support others. “I am proud of the students who plan their own activities and step out of their comfort zones to learn, share and care. […] I am also proud of the fact that Alumni come back to school and tell me about how they are involved in service and community work at their universities. […] these students have taken what they learned about service at AISB and used that to be involved in service projects as adults” Margritha Hofman, AISB Service Learning & IBDP CAS Coordinator “Engaging and empowering students to realize they have ‘voice and choice’ to make a difference in this world as positive social change agents is perhaps my greatest achievement.” Janice Myles, AISB Service Learning Coordinator, Primary Years Program


Vampy AISB's much

loved Mascot, brings joy to the community

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 27


Say hello to a

Thrilling New Learning Space Last year, the AISB librarians began an exciting journey to revitalize the libraries at AISB. Noted library design consultant Kevin Hennah visited AISB in August and preliminary designs took hold. What you knew as the AISB whole school library is now tailored to the needs of the Secondary School students while designs have been drafted for the Early Childhood Library in the new Early Learning Center and the new Elementary School Library which will be located in the respective school wing.

We were enthusiastic to start the 2016-2017 academic year in a new space with brilliant features including mobile and flexible shelving and a modern, industrial image for the space. Notable changes include: • more space for secondary students. With the other collections temporarily relocated, there is simply more floor space for older students. The mezzanine offers a relaxed zone with couches, fiction titles, magazines, and a current

28 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

events television monitor, while the main area offers more traditional work spaces, but with soft furniture as well. • colorful design themes that include a pop art work area, a ‘diner,’ and a technology area. These will continue to be developed and expanded as the year moves forward. • quiet study rooms for students who look for a place to study and research with minimalistic designs that help them focus and be successful.

• the sense that you are walking through a bookstore… we no longer shelve items with the Dewey system and instead categorize by themes. We also have more books facing the patron, which proves to be more attractive and helps with circulation. Studies consistently show that well supported libraries lead to greater academic achievement among students. The library Information Literacy curriculum is still the core of the library, but having an

exciting space certainly helps encourage reading! Please come by the new secondary library to enjoy the thrilling new look, modern workspaces, and extensive resources at hand. You will be impressed and may well find the visit to be completely unlike any school library you have ever seen! AISB Alumni are invited to use the AISB Library’s online and print resources, just get in touch via the Alumni Office to find out how.


Vicky is an alumna of the 2005 graduating class. A former academic scholarship student and later a Kindergarten Teaching Assistant and AISB Substitute as well as softball, basketball, and soccer coach, Vicky graduated magna cum laude from Voorhees College and is now a Texas certified Middle and High School teacher. She is currently starting her first teaching job as a High School algebra teacher at YES Prep Public Schools, a local Houston charter school. Michael is a former marine security guard and continuing education as a senior in college majoring in supply chain management. Vicky and Michael were happily married on August 20th, 2016.

Story Ideas Welcome WORLD Magazine strives to present news, stories and other content in the course of each year that is of particular interest or pertinence to the AISB Alumni and the community. We rely in part on your input to guide and generate articles. This is your publication and you are always encouraged to contribute. NEWS: Your life is ever-changing. Let others know about your new careers, new members in your family, achievements and prizes, as well as your location on the globe.

PROFILES: Want to share your own story? WORLD Magazine is a great way for Alumni to stay connected and keep in touch with the AISB Community. Let alumni get to know you better! INTERVIEWS: We might be contacting you for an interview. Interested? Or you can contact us, too. FEEDBACK: Write to us and share your viewpoints. Write to skhalil@aisb.ro or send your letter/article to the editor's office.

STORY PRIZES: If your article/story is published in our magazine we will send you one of the following gifts: SIGG Water Bottle or Vampy Plush Toy Each article submitted should be accompanied by good quality photography if available. Articles not published will be archived for future use. Forward all articles to the editor: skhalil@aisb.ro

Visit the new AISB website today www.aisb.ro

AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 29


TWO AISB GRADS Spread Flavour at Events Around the Country You might know them from class or from the cafeteria, but here’s the story behind the story. Ioana graduated from AISB in 2007 and is now an event planner at Flavours. Building a whole concept around food and the menu is an everyday "to do" for her. At AISB she loved Economics which helped her develop her negotiation skills for business meetings. Andrei is the baby brother with the American spirit. This means he's focused on learning more about what he knows best: food and restaurants. He has just graduated from AISB and has been accepted at École hôtelière de Lausanne where he will study Hospitality. Currently they are both working for Flavours (http://www.flavours.ro), their family company, started almost 15 years ago. One manages events and one brings a youthful infusion into the brand, both seeking to offer the best catering and events

solutions for every client. And they are doing it well, as Flavours is currently the biggest and most appreciated enterprise in the field, catering for private and corporate events as well. Not only do they service events around Romania, but they also operate their own restaurants and support the personal brand of Chef Foa, their executive chef. By the way, Stradale Carnivale, the meeting place at AISB for breakfast and lunch, is part of the Flavours network. “I have always hoped that Ioana and Andrei would see Flavours as the obvious choice for their careers and I am so happy they decided to join the family business. We have worked together towards creating a very strong local brand, with a known culture for great food and fabulous events. Their daily input is very valuable to me as they bring fresh air into the

30 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE

company and we take pride in how modern our processes are and how we are always one step ahead of the industry benchmark,” shares Florin Balu, the man who created Flavours. But let’s see how the two see Flavours and their involvement in the company: “I always love meeting new people and as great food always brings happiness, I only deal with big smiles and great customers. During my years at Flavours I have seen it all, from weddings and small family gatherings, which are emotional and very personal, to big corporate events, impressive in terms of size and dynamics. Flavours is growing every day and I can’t help but feel responsible for all this development. I am happy to see people appreciating what we do, recommending us time and time again, and becoming part of our extended family,” says

Ioana Balu. “Flavours is a big business, we are now employing more than 100 chefs and additional personnel and it is very important to keep them happy and engaged, while challenging them to go the extra mile in order to always surprise our customers. I love balancing all these interior and exterior forces and seeing how the company adapts and grows every day. I can’t wait to see what Switzerland has to offer me and to bring all my new knowledge back here, to further develop Flavours in the local market,” adds Andrei Balu. So if you’re planning an event this season, be sure to take a look at what Flavours has to offer. Ioana is there for you with advice and the best menu available, at office@ flavours.ro. And if you want a sample of what’s cooking, stop by AISB and visit Stradale Carnivale!


AMERIC AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST 31


The AISB Alumni Association has great networking tools for you!

Introducing

AISBconnect.com Register today for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card! *All users registered before December 01, 2016 will be entered into a draw to win a $50 Amazon gift card or equivalent. The winner will be announced via www.AISBconnect.com on December 02, 2016.

Sos. Pipera Tunari 196, Voluntari, Jud. Ilfov 077190 Romania Tel: (40 21) 204-4300 www.aisb.ro

32 WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE