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MS Weekly Bulletin | March 9, 2018
Posted 03/09/2018 03:00PM

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

- Zig Ziglar

It is said that an organization’s culture is like an iceberg, where what is not visible is much greater than what can be seen. Above the surface are behaviour and practices; below, down in the depths, are values and beliefs. “The way we do things around here” is the result of those hidden and powerful ideals and principles.

We have all heard that “beauty” is one of those values that lies at the foundation of the culture at TASIS. Mrs. Fleming spoke of it often, and former headmaster Lyle Rigg’s The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming contains a whole chapter of her quotes on the topic. As we consider the graceful architecture and lovely setting of the campus, the (generally) courteous conduct of the students along with the (mostly) warm relationships in our community, and the style and splendour of the major school-wide events like the commencement ceremony, we can see that beauty is not just a “nice-to-have” characteristic but a more essential and intrinsic quality of our culture.

Why is that? Why did Mrs. Fleming believe that beauty was so indispensable? I recently came across a statement that suggests a possible answer. I found this hint in Cosmos and Psyche, a work of intellectual history by Richard Tarnas. This book is a sequel to his equally magisterial and probably more accessible The Passion of the Western Mind, which is a textbook in university humanities classes throughout the USA and from which I have used selections in my Senior Humanities and Theory of Knowledge classes over the years.

After Tarnas says in the conclusion of Cosmos and Psyche that he believes “that our intellectual quest for truth can never be separated from the cultivation of our moral and aesthetic imagination,” which in itself is a mighty chunk of our cultural iceberg at TASIS, he says the following:

“A fundamental yet virtually unexamined issue in cosmology today is the question of whether all beauty in the universe is merely a random product of blind evolution and subjective circumstance or whether that beauty is in some sense significant and intentional, an expression of something more ensouled, more profound, intelligently relational, mysterious.”

The idea here is so grand and strange that it is hard to take in. It seems to be proposing that there is not only an intelligible order to things and a discernible purpose in events but also a boundless beauty at the hidden heart of reality. It seems to be saying that beauty matters in our surroundings and lives because it really matters. I admit that Mrs. Fleming never said anything quite like this, yet I think that only such a deep conviction explains the importance of beauty at TASIS.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote that behind all our experience and existence is “an abyss of light.” It seems that Mrs. Fleming was committed to an idea that probably appears just as outlandish to many people today. Yet it is ideas like this that distinguish TASIS from many other fine schools. There are a number of values and beliefs that go way down in the culture at TASIS, but at the bottom is Beauty.

– David Jepson, Director of Studies (TASIS Switzerland and TASIS England)

Upcoming Events

Saturday, March 24—Sunday, April 8 Spring Break
Friday, April 13–Sunday, April 15 HS Spring Musical
Tuesday, April 17 Grades 5 & 8: Shadow Day
Saturday, April 21 TPA Spring Gala: Building the Future
Tuesday, May 1 Grades 5: Pizza and Movie Night
Thursday, May 17— Sunday, May 20 Spring Arts Festival
Friday, May 18—Sunday, May 20 MS Musical


Dean’s List: The Fall Semester Dean's List has been posted in Belvedere. Congratulations to the MS students who made the list! Being on the Dean's List comes with the privilege of going to Sara Li's or the Snack Bar on Wednesdays after lunch.

Course registration process for rising 9th graders: Ms. Lucchini will continue meeting with students in grade eight to explain the course registration process for the 2018–2019 Academic Year. She will explain the different tracks available to familiarize students with the TASIS course requirements and make them aware of the IB and Advanced Placement courses offered. At these meetings, students will be able to select their preferred courses for grade nine and look ahead to grades 10, 11, and 12 to create a four-year plan.

In addition, teachers will recommend High School courses for students entering grade nine. Very soon you will be able to see these courses in your Veracross portals. Please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Lucchini with any questions.

EAL Film Program for MS EAL Beginner Classes: Students are required to attend the second film session next Friday, March 16, from 15:45–18:00 and next Saturday, March 17, from 10:00–12:00.

MS Assemblies and Advisor Meetings

The MS After-School Program Winter Term Awards Ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 7. (See more photos from the Assembly.) Congratulations to the well-deserving award recipients:

Choir: Olivia Garcia-Atance Arimont (positivity and inclusivity)
Glass Painting: Lea Spodnik, Ingrid Preatoni, and Matilda Fadlon (senior team)
Dance: Mariaurora Rosso (consistency and creativity)
MS Musical:
Lukas Heuchert de Camargo (stage presence and commitment)
Michelangelo Vecchio (perseverance award)
Girls Basketball:
Jane Wilson (leadership award)
Sophie Ogilvie (most improved)
Boys Basketball:
Giovanni Barbieri (best attitude)
Carlos Vasallo (most valuable player)
Ski/Snowboard Club:
Salem Alsuwaidi (most improved)
Mari-Nikol Gordeeva (positive attitude and cheerfulness)

The Spring After-School Activities list is now posted in Belvedere.

During the Advisor block on Thursday, March 8, students had their follow-up Academic Travel and Winter Adventure meetings.

Computer Science Class Has a Special Visitor

On Tuesday, March 6, students in Ms. Amy Bloodworth’s Computer Science class got to spend a period with local author and video game designer Sebastiano Brocchi. Mr. Brocchi spoke with students about his latest project, a video game called Eselmir and the Five Magic Gifts that has earned excellent international reviews and was inspired by his fantasy series Pirin. The Montagnola native discussed the main stages of video game development and the video game industry in general, and he also led students through some sequences of the game play.

Transition Meetings and Activities: 5th Grade to Middle School and 8th Grade to High School

Shadow Day will be held on Tuesday, April 17. Grade five students will spend part of the day with 6th graders, and 8th-grade students will be with 9th graders. MS Student Council and the Event Planners Service Learning group will host the annual Shadow Day activities and assembly for our 5th graders.

MS Students in Action: 5th-grade parents are invited to the MS classes on Wednesday, April 18. Details will be shared in the next Bulletin.

8th-Grade Parent Meeting: The next MS Parent Coffee will be devoted to the 8th-to-9th grade transition and will be held on Wednesday, April 18, from 9:30–10:30 in Casa Fleming.

Pizza and Movie Night for 5th-Grade Students: On Tuesday, May 1, from 16:00–18:45, the MS Event Planners Service Learning group will host a Pizza & Movie night for grade 5 students in the Belvedere Salon. It’s a fun and welcoming activity, providing a chance for 5th graders to meet and get to know some of the middle schoolers.

Service Learning

The Cometa MS Service Learning group is going to Como on Wednesday, March 14, to visit "La contrada degli artigiani.” This is a fascinating design lab where Cometa students learn how to do manual jobs to create textile decorations, furniture, and home accessories. The Cometa organization's purpose is to help teenagers with learning difficulties train for a career in the manual arts. The aim is not only to help students find more job opportunities in the future, but also (and perhaps most importantly) to help them understand that they are good people with huge potential. TASIS MS students will be encouraged to reflect on how solidarity and education are true means to "save" young lives from despair and low self-esteem.

MS Dodgeball Tournament: Next week, High School students Zeydan Rahman and Diana Khassanova will be announcing a Middle School Dodgeball Tournament to raise money for their Global Service Program groups. Students will have the opportunity to form a team of 8 and compete against other teams in a single knock-out tournament. The winning team of the final student game will win a pizza party and have the chance to compete against a team of teachers. Each team will have to pay an entry fee of CHF 40 (CHF 5 per person). All proceeds will go towards the Nepal and Moldova Service Learning groups. Sign-ups will happen next Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16, in De Nobili during the lunch period, so students need to prepare their team roster and team name and bring the entry fee. The games will be played Tuesday–Friday, March 20–23, during MS Recess. There are limited team spaces available, so make sure you sign up while you can! If you have any questions, please contact Zeydan or Diana.

After-School Sports and Activities

MS Ski and Snowboard Club: Thanks for a great ski and snowboard season! We hope your children enjoyed the outings at the various ski resorts around Switzerland.

MS Weekend Climbing Club: The spring edition of the TASIS MS Climbing Club will have its first outing on Sunday, April 15. We will go to the Evolution Indoor Climbing Gym in Taverne as well as to outdoor locations in Locarno. There are still a few slots open, so sign up before the class becomes full! Please email Mr. Alava to sign up or to ask for more details.

IB Visual Arts Final Exhibition Opens Today

All members of the TASIS community and the general public are cordially invited to join us in the Palestrina and Ferit ┼×ahenk Fine Arts Center to celebrate the IB Visual Arts Final Exhibition beginning this afternoon at 16:00. Come and enjoy some refreshments while discovering what 17 of our senior artists and designers have been up to in the studio over the last two years.

The exhibition will also be open on Saturday from 12:30–18:30 and on Sunday from 10:30–18:30.


Reserve Your Seats for the HS Spring Musical: Annie Get Your Gun

Annie Oakley is the best shot in Darke County, Ohio, and she manages to support her little brother and sisters by selling the game she hunts. When she's discovered at a shooting contest, Col. Buffalo Bill persuades her to join his Wild West Show (“There’s No Business Like Show Business”). It only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for dashing Frank Butler, who headlines the show. She soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction, which, while good for business, is bad for romance (“Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”). Butler hightails it to join a rival show, his bruised male ego leading the way, but is ultimately pitted against Annie in a final shoot-out. While highly fictionalized, the musical pays affectionate and humorous tribute to the real-life stars of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the love match (as well as the shooting match!) of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler.

Annie Get Your Gun will premiere in the Palmer Center on Friday, April 13, at 19:30. Two additional shows will be performed on Saturday, April 14, at 19:30 and a matinee performance on Sunday, April 15, at 14:30.

To reserve seats or learn more about the show, visit

More Upcoming Cultural Events at TASIS

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