TASIS held special Founder’s Day assemblies on the afternoons of September 15 and September 16 to celebrate the incredible life of international education pioneer M. Crist Fleming, who founded The American School in Switzerland in 1956. Mrs. Fleming was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 10, 1910, and remained active in the direction of both TASIS Switzerland and TASIS England until her passing in 2009.
TASIS Headmaster Lyle Rigg opened Tuesday’s assembly, which was held for all Middle School and High School students, with introductory remarks about Mrs. Fleming, who he first met in the summer of 1979. Director of Admissions Bill Eichner then provided an overview of Mrs. Fleming’s life and the state the world was in when she decided to open TASIS in 1956 (see 4:00 mark below). Elementary School Dean of Students Kent Hercules elaborated on some of the challenges and opportunities Mrs. Fleming faced (7:35); Art History and Architecture & Design Teacher Mark Aeschliman discussed Mrs. Fleming’s charisma, love of beauty, and impressive expansion of the TASIS campus (10:30); and Carolyn Heard remarked upon Mrs. Fleming’s belief in the importance of an international education (12:40). Following a clip from Pushing All the Buttons, a short film about the history of TASIS that Mrs. Fleming narrates, student Gabriella Piconi read a passage from The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming (17:55) before Music Department Director Samantha Forrest led High School Chorus and Music Theater students in a lovely performance of the medley “I Have a Dream/Impossible Dream” (18:33). Mr. Rigg then offered closing remarks (23:05) as students retired to the MCF Piazza to eat cake and toss yellow rose petals into the fountain (24:56).
A second assembly was held Wednesday afternoon in the Palmer Center for TASIS Elementary School students. Following a condensed version of Tuesday's speeches and presentations, students performed a song with Head of Elementary Theresa Cullen Hill. Due to very wet weather, students were unable to toss petals into the fountain and instead took yellow roses back to their homerooms as a remembrance of Mrs. Fleming.
See more excellent photos from the Middle School and High School assembly and from the Elementary School assembly. (Elementary School galleries require a password to view. Please log in to the Parent Portal to retrieve the password: www.tasis.ch/parents)