News, Events, & Stories
The Service Learning Board hosted its fourth annual Walk for Water on the TASIS campus on the afternoon of April 27, raising CHF 1150 for clean water initiatives carried out by Gram Vikas, an NGO that has been working with the rural people of Odisha, India, for more than 36 years with the aim of building an equitable and sustainable society where people live in peace with dignity.“
The fact that we can have this ‘experience’ while also raising funds to combat the very problem we are learning about makes it even more special,” said Global Service Program Director Zach Mulert, who helped support his student leaders, including Adam Osgood ‘16 and Amanda McAfee ’16, senior leaders for the recent Gram Vikas Service Learning trip to India.
Eighty-nine students, staff, and community members of all ages completed this year’s walk, which consisted of carrying a 10–20 kilogram bucket of water around a one-kilometer course in order to simulate what many people in the developing world must go through daily to secure clean water.
“Coming from a place of privilege, it is easy to read and learn about the challenges of the developing world, but rarely do any of us truly understand what daily life is like,” said Mr. Mulert. “To create an event that not only mimics (in some small way) what many people must do every day without batting an eye helps one learn to empathize and also recognize one's place of privilege. Not all of our students get to participate in a Global Service trip, so this is one small act that hopefully encourages others to reflect about their responsibility to the world.”
All water used in the event helped fill the fountains outside the iconic Casa Fleming. Students in the ninth grade had the highest level of participation and relished the opportunity to dump their buckets on the High School Deans in the always-popular “Dunk the Deans” finale.
Originally inspired by Sarah Wyler ’13, this annual event has now rallied more than 400 participants and raised more than CHF 4500 for clean water initiatives in Nepal, Kenya, and India—all countries where the Global Service Program continues to send students.
TASIS Global Service Program
The Global Service Program was envisioned by Jan Opsahl ’68, who became the first international student at TASIS when he came from Norway in 1965. The pioneering program was launched in 2013 with major support from a most generous donation from Mr. Opsahl and his family to set up the Global Service Trust. This Trust, along with support from the TASIS Foundation, make this incredible, life-changing experience for our students possible.The Global Service Program transforms lives by providing every High School student a unique opportunity to connect across borders through comprehensive experiences that build empathy and encourage personal responsibility. Participation in the program—which is designed to awaken students to humanitarian needs, inspire them to build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships, and lead them toward a life of active citizenship and committed service—is a graduation requirement.
Each fall and spring, TASIS holds a special High School assembly to recognize members of the community who embody the timeless virtues known as the Magnificent Seven: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Humility, Service, and Vision.
While the fall 2015 winners were nominated by the faculty only, the spring selections were pulled from nominations made by the entire TASIS community. As High School Dean of Students KC McKee noted at the start of the assembly, “Nearly one third of all students were nominated by at least two people. This goes to show that while we are only celebrating these individuals here today, many of you embody these virtues and your actions have not gone unnoticed.”
Below is a list of the winners and a summary of the remarks—as read by Mr. McKee and High School Academic Dean Dr. Mark Abisi—offered by those who nominated them.
Dealing honestly with each other and ourselves, and honoring our commitments
Spring 2016 selection: Alexey Dudov ’18
“There are several categories of the Magnificent 7 that this student could easily have been nominated for. Integrity is a good one to sum up his commitment to forging respectful interpersonal relationships with fellow students and teachers, to taking responsibility for a heavy academic work load he chose, and to acknowledging when he has made a mistake or a slip. He is honest with himself and with others and is completely trustworthy.”
Demonstrating an appreciation of the dignity of each human being and the beauty of the natural world
Spring 2016 selection #1: Aurelia Dochnal ’19
“This student is on top of every challenge placed in front of her. She is able to balance her academic, family, and social life like a mature adult. She thinks ahead, plans, and prepares herself to be successful. Her will and power to overcome obstacles and challenges are amazing. I have seen her, time after time, take on challenges that many would shy from, and she does it so gracefully. She treats everyone with the respect they deserve and is unmatched in this area.”
Spring 2016 selection #2: Laura Vecoli ’17
“This next student was mentioned by a number of prospective Proctors as one who they themselves respected. Perhaps it is due to the fact that she herself treats everyone she interacts with with the utmost respect. She is a diligent student who has earned not only the respect of her peers for her level-headedness and hard work, but also the respect of the faculty.”
Being accountable for our own actions; not blaming others for our mistakes or taking credit for another’s achievements; upholding obligations to others
Spring 2016 selection: Gabriele Capacci ’17
“This student stands out to most of the faculty on campus. He is involved in every aspect possible, and as a day student, which can be difficult. He does look out for himself but often times he puts others before himself. Just ask those whom he proctors. He is a dedicated student and understands the meaning of hard work. He knows that the amount of time he puts into something directly dictates his achievements. He does not blame anyone but himself when he happens to fall short.”
Treating others in a kind and caring way
Spring 2016 selection #1: Marianne Tissot ’16
“This student is a warm, giving soul. Her compassion extends to her friends and classmates, to people in other parts of the world, to her family, and even to her teachers! Sometimes it even extends to herself—she could do a little more of that, actually. Rarely have I seen her without a smile, a genuine inquiry as to how someone is doing, and a sympathetic ear.”
Spring 2016 selection #2: Mr. Zach Mulert (Global Service Program Director)
“This individual cares about others and will go out of his way to do anything for them. No matter his current challenges, he will stop what he's doing to help you with yours. I've tried to ask him how he's doing during hectic times and he makes such an effort to always deflect the attention off himself and focus on helping you. His compassion can be felt throughout the campus and the students adore him for this.”
Acknowledging our weaknesses and learning from them
Spring 2016 selection: Rron Lluka ’16
“This student continues to be a strong leader in our residential community. He is funny yet responsible and is respected by all the residents. He is good at identifying when to be funny and when to be serious with his residents. He also sets a stellar example of time management, managing the IB Diploma, Proctorship, Varsity athletics and more while maintaining the time to hang out with his friends. As the leader in the dorm, he has done a great job connecting to both the dorm residents and the dorm parents.”
Dedicating ourselves to making a positive contribution to our community and world
Spring 2016 selection: Nicola Barbieri ’18
“This student is an extremely active student not only on our campus but also worldwide. He was a valuable member of the Zambia trip this year and it truly was a life changing experience for him. He has dedicated himself to ensuring that the people he serves will forever benefit from his service. I expect that he will only continue to grow in this area as he progresses through TASIS, and everyone will benefit from this. I can only imagine that he will continue to be a leader in the realm of service in the future.”
Making sacrifices in the present to build a better future
Spring 2016 selection: Zere Turlykhanova ’17
“This student is a confident young woman who we have enjoyed getting to know this year. She has made many wonderful and loyal friendships. Due to her self-sufficient nature, she keeps her room organized, arrives on time to check-in, and respects quiet hours. She is also a serious student; therefore, she uses her study hall time wisely to prepare for the next school day. In general, we are pleased with her responsible and level-headed approach to life, as it transfers to how she conducts herself in the dormitory as well. She knows what she needs to do to be successful and works diligently to reach her goals. She has her eyes on the prize and is not afraid to work hard to achieve her goals.”
The American School in Switzerland’s Class of 2016 has done exceedingly well in the college admissions process, with students receiving 63 acceptance letters from universities ranked in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, including one to Imperial College London (#8), one to University of California, Berkeley (#13), three to University College London (#14), two to UCLA (#16), one to University of Pennsylvania (#17), two to Cornell University (#18), two to Duke University (#20), one to London School of Economics (#23), two to University of Edinburgh (#24), one to Northwestern University (#25), and six to King’s College (#27). TASIS students also received good news from two top-10 American liberal arts schools: Bowdoin College (#4) and Davidson College (#9).
Later this year we will provide a full list of college acceptances, profile a number of students who attained their postsecondary goals, and examine how the School’s excellent College Counseling Department influenced their paths.
TASIS Elementary School celebrated its first annual Book Week with a series of fun events during the week of April 18–22.
The week kicked off with a special assembly on Monday, in which the Book Week leadership team—composed of Literacy Coordinator and English Language Arts teacher Samantha Nijenhuis and fifth graders Dias, Feliks, Alyssa, Giorgia, and Piero—introduced the calendar of events for the week, teachers led two short reader’s theaters, and members of the first grade explained Read to Feed, a program that motivates children to read and inspires them to build a better world.
On Tuesday, all students had their first opportunity to order books through the Usborne School Book Fair, which was organized by Elementary School librarian Alyssa Uecker and hosted on campus Tuesday–Thursday. Students in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and first grade participated in a door-decorating contest while students in grades 2-5 enjoyed an exciting book treasure hunt. “We dashed from one room to another completing challenges just like sharks eating fish!” wrote Constantine, a third grader.
Wednesday brought the always-popular Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) activity. All students flocked outside at 13:40 and spent 30 minutes reading a book of their choice while making themselves comfortable with pajamas, pillows, and blankets.
Thursday was Poem in your Pocket Day, in which both students and teachers selected a favorite poem (or wrote an original one) and carried it their pockets. Teachers and students asked one another to share their poems throughout the day.
On Friday, students and teachers came to school dressed up as their favorite book characters. Older Elementary School students were also assigned younger Book Buddies and read stories to them throughout the day.
Mrs. Nijenhuis was very pleased with how the inaugural Book Week went and looks forward to organizing it again next year. “The teachers were really positive, and the kids had a great time,” she said. “The culminating activities on Friday made for an excellent finale, and the feedback has been great from everyone.” (Several of the first graders even wrote letters to Mrs. Nijenhuis to express their appreciation!)
|Book Week Photo Galleries
Acclaimed architect, master planner, and professor Maxim Atayants, Ph.D., addressed the TASIS community in the fourth installment of the 2015-2016 Senior Humanities Program on the evening of April 12. His presentation, "Roman Palmyra Past & Present," was held in the Palmer Center and can be viewed in full by clicking on the video clip above.
Dr. Atayants graduated from the St. Petersburg, Russia, Academy of Fine Arts in 1995 and completed his Ph.D. at this Academy in 2010. His Ph.D. thesis topic is The Architecture of the North African Provinces of the Roman Empire, a subject on which he is presently the foremost expert in the world. As its star student, Mr. Atayants was then appointed professor of Ancient Architecture (Mesopotamia and Egypt) and the Architecture of Classical Antiquity (Greece and Rome) at the Academy, a required course for those preparing to be architects. He has directed his own architectural studio within the Academy for 16 years, received the Prince of Wales prize in 1994, and has participated in numerous international symposiums and architectural conferences dealing with the subject of classical architecture.
Dr. Atayants’ exhibitions to date include a one-person exhibition at the Russian State Museum of Architecture in Moscow in 2008, which included a comprehensive catalog of his photographs and drawings of Roman architecture of the Provinces. His stated goal is to document, both photographically and in drawings, the Roman Imperial architecture of the Mediterranean world in a definitive way: a project he has well begun and which will occupy most of his professional career.
Dr. Atayants was the master planner for the architecture of Russia's 2014 Olympic village at Sochi, on the Black Sea. As a practicing architect and master planner, he has 25 architects working under him on various projects. In addition to this, Dr. Atayants has five residential villages under construction in the Moscow area, and he is also overseeing a new Cathedral in the St. Petersburg area. He is also a master in mural painting in the Pompeiian style and was a member of the Jury for the Vision of Europe project in Brussels in 2009.
The Senior Humanities Program (SHP) draws from five defining elements of the TASIS identity—truth, beauty, goodness, international understanding, and humanitarian action—to provide seniors and postgraduates with a signature educational experience that includes a series of discussions, trips, lectures, and tours throughout the year. The SHP Committee selects up to five speakers each year who embody the pillars of the program. Dr. Atayants, who was also the very first SHP speaker at TASIS when the program was founded in 2010, follows visits from Barry Iverson (September 28), Maria José Pereira (October 22), and Shelley Davies (November 30).
The new site details events leading up to and including the Anniversary Celebration, shares the stories of some of the many successful TASIS alumni, and presents an engaging multimedia section that features an interactive historical timeline, a TASIS history quiz, “Then and Now” photos from campus, and an archive of videos and photographs.
All TASIS alumni are invited to participate in the Anniversary Celebration this summer and can register online here. Graduates from 1966, 1976, 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2006 will be celebrating class reunions and may choose to plan their own events in addition to those happening on campus.