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HS Weekly Bulletin | April 13, 2018
Posted 04/13/2018 02:00PM


Opta ardua vi humanitatis astra sequi.
Desire to reach the lofty stars by the power of learning

– adapted from Virgil

The above variant on the ad astra! (“to the stars!”) theme seems especially suited to TASIS in the 21st century. On one hand, there is the implied counsel to stretch oneself, to dream the impossible dream, and to set high standards, all of which were common exhortations of Mrs. Fleming’s. At TASIS, the small classes taught by dedicated teachers in exceptionally beautiful surroundings have always conspired to motivate students to strive toward new horizons of success.

On the other hand, the “power of learning” phrase helps keep the focus on learning, which is the common advice of such modern educational luminaries as Richard DuFour, Michael Fullan, and John Hattie, the latter going so far as to say that he never wants those involved in classroom observations to watch the teacher; instead they are to watch the students and look for evidence of learning.

But it is the use of humanitatis to mean “of learning” that is most interesting. The word (the possessive form of humanitas) refers to a certain kind of learning that reaches back through the Renaissance to the times of classical Rome and Greece. We might think of it as the kind of learning that produces and supports civilized life, both public and private. There is an inherent idealism in the word. Any and all subjects can be involved: science and mathematics, literature and languages, history and social sciences, arts and sports—all can contribute to this ideal of civilized learning.

It all depends on the goal or purpose. If those “lofty stars” are seen as wealth and prestige, or even particular professions and jobs, then humanitas may be the wrong word to refer to the kind of learning that is required. However, if the goal is cultivation of the mind, body, and moral character for their own sake or for the sake of others, then this is what used to be called a “liberal education,” the kind of education befitting a free citizen of a civilized society. A. Bartlett Giamatti, when he was President of Yale University, once said this to students who were concerned over a liberal education’s lack of a specific practical objective:

Fear not, you will not be impeded from making a living because you have learned to think for yourself and because you take pleasure in the operation of the mind and in the pursuit of new ideas. And you will need to make a living. The world will not provide you with sustenance or employment. You will have to work for it. I am instead speaking of another dimension of your lives, the dimension of your spirit that will last longer than a job, that will outlast a profession, that will represent by the end of your time on earth the sum of your human significance.

This is the kind of learning that Mrs. Fleming always had in mind, and it is the kind of learning that makes TASIS the school it is today.

– David Jepson, Director of Studies

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 13–Sunday, April 15 HS Spring Musical • Palmer Center
Saturday, April 21 TPA Spring Gala: Building the Future • Palestra
Wednesday, April 25 HS Parent Coffee
Thursday, April 26–Friday, May 18 IB Exams
Monday, May 7–Friday, May 18 AP Exams
Thursday, May 17–Sunday, May 20 Spring Arts Festival
Friday, May 18–Sunday, May 20 MS Musical • Palmer Center

Spring Musical Opens Tonight!

Annie Get Your Gun will premiere in the Palmer Center at 19:30 this evening. Additional shows will be performed tomorrow evening at 19:30 and Sunday afternoon at 14:30.

It is not too late to reserve your seats at

TPA Spring Gala Just a Week Away!

The TPA invites all members of the TASIS community to attend the “Building the Future” Spring Gala in the Palestra on Saturday, April 21, at 18:30. Guests will enjoy a splendid evening of refined dining, music and dancing, and an auction and raffle that will include exclusive holidays, unique experiences, and gorgeous jewelry. Seats or tables can be reserved here.

TASIS Shuttle Bus Safety Regulations

Due to lingering safety concerns, we would like to reinforce the expectations for all shuttle bus riders. All students must follow the rules and regulations for shuttle use that are outlined in the High School Student Handbook. Please review these rules with your children and note that failure to follow the Shuttle Rules will be considered infractions. Three infractions per semester will result in the student not being allowed to use the Shuttle Service.

In particular, the use of seat belts remains a major concern. Please remind your children that seat belts must be fastened during the whole trip.

High School students enrolled in the shuttle service are allowed to ride the shuttle bus home without additional notice from their parents, but any bus route changes must be reported via the Student Attendance & Transportation Request Form in the Veracross Parent Portal before 12:00 on the given day. (Please note that this form must also be used if a parent would like to authorize shuttle use for a student who typically does not ride the shuttle.)

Thank you for your cooperation in helping us reinforce these important safety regulations. Please contact Shuttle Coordinator Ms. Svetlana Koreshkova with any questions.

TPA Event: Private Guided Tour of Art Galleries in Lugano

The TPA would like to invite all parents to a private guided tour at the Monica De Cardenas Gallery and the Ravizza Gallery on Tuesday, April 17, beginning at 10:00. Those interested should plan to meet in the Sant’Abbondio parking lot at 9:30. Guests are welcome to join TPA members for lunch at La Cucina di Alice afterward.

Please email to ask questions or reserve a spot on the tour.

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