Alumni Notes: October 2020
Posted 10/25/2020 11:00AM

Few constants exist in the world, particularly at this strange moment in time, and one of these is TASIS. There is some comfort knowing that a new generation of TASIS students is getting to know our school right now, albeit wearing masks and keeping a social distance of 1.5m from each other, among other adjustments. 

Many of us have wistfully wondered what Mrs. Fleming would have made of all of this: the face masks, daily temperature checks, and plexiglass at the De Nobili dinner tables. We look to her words, which seem prescient: “For me the opening of a new school year is always a crossroads, a time when we can choose the high road instead of the low, with all its challenges, its rocky road bed, its roadblocks, its steep ascents. It is a time full of hope, promise, and high dreams...a time when we can choose to be bold, to swim against the current, to dare!”

We are proud of how our TASIS community has come together in these strangest of times. We hope you are reading this from a place of comfort and health, and we send every one of you our very best wishes as we move forward as a global community.

 

Founder’s Day 2020

Even a global pandemic couldn’t keep these former TASIS headmasters from celebrating Founder’s Day! On September 10, Peter Stevens, Chris Frost, and Lyle Rigg, together with their wives Linn Stevens, Anne Frost, and Sharon Creech, enjoyed lunch together in Round Pond, Maine, and raised a glass to Mrs. Fleming. That’s a lot of TASIS history in one photo!

 

TASIS Alumni Forum

Six months ago we started a private Facebook group called the TASIS Alumni Forum to give our alumni a place to connect. More than 600 alumni from around the world have joined, and the forum has prompted Zoom happy hours, reunited long lost friends, and discovered creative new businesses founded by our own. We’d love you to join us!

 

Michele and Anna-Marie Josue in Bacolod, Philippines, in early 2020

Para Sa 'Yo

The global shift to embracing local and independent brands and makers has been a refreshing bonus of 2020. Hats off to Michele Josue ’97 and Anna-Marie Josue ’00, who are launching a new venture to support independent artists who share their Filipina-American roots. Para Sa 'Yo was inspired by the sisters’ love of community, shopping, and the art of gift-giving. “We’ve created a special online retail space that spotlights Filipinx artists, artisans, and brands,” they say. “We envision it as a meaningful way to stay connected to our loved ones through inspired gifts.” 

The name, which translates as “for you” in Tagalog, is perfect for a service featuring thoughtfully curated gift boxes that support talented indie artists. Keep an eye on their Instagram feed for news of the imminent launch.

 

An Executive Champion

Congratulations to Brendan Kinkade ’78, who was recently recognized for Executive Excellence by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. This annual professional awards program recognizes the contributions that American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, First Nations and other indigenous people of North America make to STEM disciplines.

Brendan, who is VP of Strategic Partners for IBM, is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The award recognizes Brendan's efforts to bring greater diversity and inclusion within IBM and awareness of IBM as a leader in STEM within the Native American community.

In addition to his role at IBM, Brendan serves as IBM's Native American Council Executive Sponsor. He also is the executive champion of the Native American Council’s Societal Impact and Engagement Squad, which engages in community outreach activities to advance STEM, proposes Impact Grants, and helps build STEM equity in the Native community. He is also involved in promoting educational opportunities for indigenous youth as the chair of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Title VI Indian Education program parent committee and through Open P-TECH.

 

Giacomo Braglia '14

Art for Good

At 24, Giacomo “Jack” Braglia ’14 has already made quite a name for himself in the art world. He has exhibited in such renowned events as the 2019 Venice Biennale and won the 2019 Visvamitra Excellence in Art award. His newest project, a collaboration with Albanian artist Helidon Xhixha, is a sculpture called The Twin Bottles: Message in a Bottle, two large, crushed steel bottles that raise awareness of the impact of rubbish on our world. This Instagrammable installation has already inspired thousands of viewers during its time at the Triennale Milano and installations in Venice’s Grand Canal and in the sea in front of the Monaco Yacht Club in Monte Carlo.

The bottles have now been moved to Lake Lugano as part of “Conversations with a Changing World,” an installation sponsored by the Gabriele and Anna Braglia Foundation (Jack’s passion for the arts began when he was very young, with his grandfather Gabriele’s influence) and the City of Lugano. The exhibition includes a number of open-air sculptures and installations that urge viewers to consider the environmental impact of overconsumption. Inaugurated on October 15 by Lugano mayor Marco Borradori, the exhibit will be in Lugano through January 31, 2021. 

Peter and Sarah Curran and their 11-year-old twins Toby and Grace

From TASIS to the Top

Congratulations are in order for former TASIS faculty member Peter Curran, who will become Head of School at Blair Academy in New Jersey in 2021!

He joins a number of other TASIS teachers and administrators who have gone on to become heads, including Peter Locke, who is Head of High School at Madison Country Day School in Wisconsin; Jonathan Brand, who is Head of School at Grymes Memorial School in Washington, DC; RJ Hawley, who is Executive Director of Brookewood School and The Avalon School in Kensington, Maryland; and Chris Rehm, who has just begun a position as Secondary Principal at Wuhan Yangtze International School in China.

 

Bella Boutros, left, and Gina Anderson

Alumni Teachers at TASIS Portugal

We are delighted to report that TASIS Portugal opened its doors to 245 children this fall. More than 400 teachers applied to be inaugural faculty members, and two of our own made the cut!

Isabella Boutros has been part of the TASIS Summer Programs staff since 2014 and is teaching Science to grades 4-7. “I absolutely love everything about TASIS,” she says. “There’s something really special about the opportunity to help build a new TASIS school while being able to rely on my knowledge and experience from working at an existing TASIS school to contribute to its growth.”Bella received her M.A. in Education in 2020 from McGill University in Montreal. She has taught middle school science in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, and Canada. 

Gina Anderson taught at TASIS Lugano both during the academic year and in summer's Middle School Program. She is the Core Knowledge Coordinator for grades Pre-K to 5 and helps coordinate the after-school program. 

“I had some really wonderful experiences at TASIS and always hoped to return in some capacity, but the timing or opportunity was never quite right,” she says. “I have a decade of experience working with Core Knowledge—it was actually because of Core Knowledge that I discovered TASIS in 2007—and I am so excited to return to my first love: a Core Knowledge school!”

 

TASIS Today 2020

Keep your eyes on your mailboxes! The 2020 TASIS Today will be arriving very soon. If you can’t wait, click here for a sneak peek! This issue includes a number of stories about our fascinating alumni as well as tributes to some of our finest teachers as they retire. Let us know your thoughts: alumni@tasis.ch.

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