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Look Back to Look Ahead

Jan Stipek, Secondary Years Principal December 13, 2019
Look Back to Look Ahead

When I went to school as a student myself, I don’t think I would have described my school year as action-packed, fun and fast-paced. I had great teachers who made lessons fun of course but every day seemed to follow a monotonous routine, 8:00 am to 2.30 pm, and the fun really began after school. That is not what life is for, students!

During the school day and beyond, our students have been engaged in a number of events and activities. Some activities are directly linked to the curriculum and some linked to the school’s ethos and values – Global Citizenship, Pursuing Excellence, Service and Innovation. 

Language and Culture Week

Language and culture week has given us an opportunity to celebrate who we are - a multicultural and multilingual community and environment of mutual respect that is engaging for both parents and children. Our community creates a unique international learning perspective that expands the knowledge and broadens experiences with other cultures and beliefs. As always, the support from the parents was absolutely amazing. The Cultural Day Food Fair was a great success! 

Making the World a Better Place

Did you know, that a Swedish climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg has been named the "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine? Greta is only 16, but she is already inspiring generations all over the world to make an action and make the world a better world. 

At GEMS (Singapore), we encourage every member of our community teachers, parents, and students, to think about their place in the world, what is happening around them and what they can do to contribute to it. Our students are highly engaged in various projects and raise awareness about global and local issues. These projects to develop active, internationally-minded, compassionate young people who want to make a difference in the world and evolve as global citizens. They help students to develop lifelong skills such as communication, collaboration, understanding, and reflection at a young age. They encourage students to step out of their comfort zone, immerse themselves in challenging situations and try to make an action.

This semester, the school community has successfully organised the annual Think Pink Day and brand new Movember fundraising events. The students did a great job raising awareness about global issues and aiming to help others. 

We strongly believe that community service involvement changes students in profound ways, fosters individual growth and empowers students to take action with confidence. Our Secondary Years students are engaged in meaningful community service projects through Service as Action Programme (Grades 6-10) and CAS Programme (Creativity, Action and Service, Grades 11-12).

Our Grade 10 students have travelled to Cambodia and worked alongside the local community on a range of activities. We beleive that even these short experiences create long-lasting memories and help them to understand what we can do for people who are less fortunate and embrace friendships with classmates and friends.

Our Grade 6-9 students will take off on their “Week Without Walls” journeys in March. 

Celebrating Students’ Initiatives

I am very proud of Secondary Years students, who have demonstrated incredible results in academics, arts and sports.  There are a few achievements worth special mention: 

  • TedX Youth event at GEMS (fully initiated and organized by DP students)
  • Halloween Escape Rooms (conceived and prepared by Student council)
  • 1st place at the French Idol Competition
  • 16U Boys Rugby participated took the 2nd place at the rugby tournament in Malaysia 
  • over 40 medals during the World Scholar’s Cup 2019 Tournament of Champions at Yale University
Looking Forward 

The beginning of the new year is always a busy time for recruiting new teachers for the Academic Year 2020/21. We are looking forward to welcoming experienced and dedicated teachers. Some of them will join us  in January 2020:

Katy Martin will be replacing Ella Arentz, who had to return to back Australia due to personal reasons. Ms Martin is an experienced MYP and GCSE PE teacher and a coach. Katy has taught in the UK, Australia and, for the past eight years, here in Singapore at a well-established international school. She has coached Netball, Athletics, Touch Football, Water Polo, Swimming amongst other sports and holds qualifications from the University of Exeter and Universities of Birmingham.

Justine McKenzie will be joining us as a new Drama teacher with additional EAL responsibilities. Ms McKenzie has worked professionally in performing arts and as a teacher for many years. She has taught Drama and Dance in the UK, Australia and Indonesia. Justine has written, produced and directed a number of original school productions and co-hosted International Schools Theater Association (ISTA) festivals. She will be taking over Dr Gravina’s Drama classes. Dr Gravina will focus on Language and Literature classes, EAL and additional Learning Support responsibilities.

Secondary Years Production

One of the greatly anticipated events in Semester 2 will be the Secondary Years Production ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Ms Manson has been very busy rehearsing with a group of students, greatly supported by other members of staff. I would like to take the opportunity and thank everyone involved! 

Mark your calendars, parents. The performances will take place on 22, 23 and 24 January 2020. 

GEMS Games are Coming to Singapore 

After a great success last year, GEMS Games are coming to Singapore! This time, our school will host GEMS teams from Dubai and Malaysia, who will compete in a number of sporting disciplines. The event will take place from 24 to 28 February 2020. 

Secondary Years External Examinations 

As an IB, CIS and WASC accredited school, we are required to meet our high standards of exam administration and try to minimise any potential disruption to the day-to-day operation of the school. 

The Grade 12 Diploma Programme and Grade 10 IGCSE mock examinations have been scheduled for 17-20 February 2020. 

The final examinations (fully assessed externally) will commence on 27 April 2020 following a schedule prescribed by the IB and Cambridge respectively.

Upcoming Events 

We’ve got a lot of amazing events, unique student learning opportunities and parent engagement sessions lined up for the next semester. Check out our Events calendar to find out more. 

I wish everyone a happy and relaxing holiday season and looking forward to seeing you on 7 January 2020!

 

Jan Stipek
Secondary Years Principal 

 

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