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Alumni Notes: Fall 2021

An Alumni Filmmaker Returns 

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Like many Filipinos, Michele Josue ’97 comes from a family of nurses and healthcare workers, some of whom were working the front lines of the pandemic.

She began researching why a disproportionate number of Filipino nurses in the US were dying of Covid-19; while Filipino and Filipino-American nurses make up 4 percent of the US nursing workforce, they account for nearly 30 percent of nursing deaths. As an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, Michele quickly knew this was the next story she wanted to share. 

Nurse Unseen charts the history and humanity of the unsung Filipino nurses risking their lives on the frontlines of a pandemic, thousands of miles from home. In June, Michele successfully funded completion of the film via Kickstarter and has already begun filming a number of nurses as she sews together stories that span generations.

The film still has a long way to go, and people can still support and make a tax deductible contribution via https://www.documentaries.org/nurse-unseen.

Michele is the Executive Producer and Director of "Happy Jail," a Netflix Original Documentary Series about the Filipino jail that is home to the world-famous “Dancing Inmates” known for their viral Michael Jackson dance video. Her critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning feature-film debut "Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine”, about her friendship with Matthew Shepard ’95 that began at TASIS, has been showcased in film festivals worldwide.

International Relations

In July, Thiago de Aragão ’01 was the first Brazilian to testify in the US Congress at the US-China Review Commission. An expert in geopolitical affairs, China-Latin America relations, and Latin American political strategy, Thiago is a Senior Associate for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Director of Strategy for Arko Advice. He designs institutional strategies for major corporations in the US, Europe, and Brazil on how to position themselves in Latin America. He is a columnist at the largest Brazilian newspaper as well as the author of the Portuguese book Geopolitics of the Vaccine and has presented at a number of governmental organizations worldwide, including the UK, Canada, France, and the European Union. He is a SAIS/Johns Hopkins alum. More of his US Congressional debut can be viewed here and here. Congratulations, Thiago!

On the World’s Stage

We seem to be congratulating Emily Bode PG ’08 frequently in Alumni Notes, but she continues to shine—this year at the annual Met Gala in New York City. This year’s brief was In America: A Lexicon of Fashion with the challenge of including identity, politics, and style in their creations. Emily dressed Kiwi singer Lorde and interpreted the brief with a stunning gown using creative upcycling, integrating found objects like pressed pennies, 1920s cabochon gemstones, and 1940s Cracker Jack charms into the design.

Town and Country called Lorde “the best dressed woman at the Met” and Vogue included the outfit in the “best on theme looks”—high praise for Emily. The brand usually focuses on menswear, but if this is a sign of what’s to come for Bode, we’re all in for a sustainable, creative treat.

Summertime Is TASIS Time!

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The TASIS Muehlhofer tradition continues!
From left: Veronika ’97, Marie Therese, Katharina, Ulrike, and TASIS Board member Mathias ’95

Most summers we welcome alumni children to the TASIS Summer Programs and 2021 included a record 18 TASIS legacies—and nine alumni children or alumni worked the Summer Programs too!

Among the students were Katharina and Marie Therese Muehlhofer, daughters of current Board member Mathias Muehlhofer ’95, who attended CDE (photo above).

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Many alumni will recognize former teacher Nilda Lucchini and her daughter Tatiana Lucchini Balmelli ’00, whose children Erik and Marisol attended first session.

Side note: We welcomed 19 alumni children to the 2021–22 academic year across all three divisions! We love seeing generations of students experience the magic of TASIS.

A Bright Future

Congratulations to former faculty member Kiki Petrosino, who is the new Professor and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. The author of four award-winning poetry books and a number of poems and essays, Kiki recently wrote an essay for VQR to accompany a beautiful collection of photographs about neglected historic Black cemeteries in Virginia. Her memoir, Bright, will be published in summer 2022 by Sarabande Books.

It’s All Greek to Them

TASIS EAL teacher Carolyn Heard with TASIS Hellenic mathematics teacher Anna Xydeas

Longtime TASIS teacher Carolyn Heard has spent many of her summers in Greece learning the language and enjoying the country. In summer 2021 she kept some TASIS connections alive, meeting up with Lena Criticos ’86 and former TASIS Hellenic (TH) mathematics teacher Anna Xydeas

In late June, our own Yvonne Procyk also visited Athens to meet up with TASIS Hellenic alumni. She caught up with Will Vassilopoulos TH ’93, Natalia Megas TH ’92, George Serentini TH ’84 and Tina Grammas TH ’86, Dimitris Papandreou TH ’94 and Roberto Scilipoti TH ’93 in Kifissia. She also met Stephanie Kollintzas TH ’97 and learned about four TH alumni who are in the Kifissia volunteer firefighting squad; you can read more about their incredible service in the fall issue of TASIS Today.

A sentiment shared by all in the TASIS Hellenic community was a deep respect and love for Demos Laskas, who passed away in early April from complications due to Covid. He will be sorely missed.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020—Finally! 

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“Fashionably late” took on a new meaning for the Class of 2020! When the usual end-of-year events were canceled in May 2020 due to the pandemic, we promised the 2020 graduates that we would put on a celebration as soon as we could. Enjoy reading and viewing photos showcasing festivities from the weekend of August 20–22.

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