We are happy to share with you some of our favorite photographs from the KIS community during the past quarter.
This year’s Christian Emphasis (CE) Week 2019, titled ME?, was on the topic of ‘what’s my identity?’ The Religious Education (RE) Department partnered with the Powerhouse Church from Chennai to lead the students through the topic. They led retreats for both the Teen Dimensions (Middle School) and Christian Endeavor (High School) groups at the Swedish Hill Campus. Balazs Mesterhazy, RE Teacher, said “I am thankful that the lives of students and staff were touched during the CE Week through the Powerhouse team.”
The week also saw Advait Praturi from the Class of 2006 back on campus, to share his experiences on the topic of identity and also memories of his time at KIS. Advait talked about the relationship between our identity and “What is the center of our life?” Throughout the week, students and staff of the KIS Community had a chance to participate in various activities, games, competitions and have an opportunity to exchange perspective on a range of topics.
We were treated to a rock concert by the team on Thursday night, who belted out songs of encouragement and positivity. “It’s always wonderful to come back to KIS and interact with the students. We always seem to learn more than what we have to offer”, remarked Kavitha Emmanuel from the Powerhouse team.
It is not uncommon for the KIS community to have visitors tracing their genealogy and family history to Kodaikanal. Being in existence for close to 120 years, KIS has a wealth of historical archives that provide visitors with a treasure chest of stories. We recently had Martha Donovan, on one such quest to research about her mother, a Kodai School Alumnus, for her next memoir. Having Martha in the community provided our students and staff the opportunity to tap her writing expertise through multiple workshop forums. Ishita Pandey from the Class of 2020 was one of the participants in her workshop and had the following to share about her experience with Martha.
Being the historic institution it is, KIS is a place intertwined with the stories of many different personalities, various lives, the ups and downs of each and every person who has been a part of this school, which are etched immortally into the nooks and crannies of the Chapel walls, the fields of Bendy or the sturdy trunks of the trees in Arts Block. Looking to discover one such story, the renowned author Martha Donovan, daughter to a Kodai Alumni, traced her mother’s steps back to our school, learning more about her mother’s experiences and also sharing her own by conducting writing workshops for the KIS students.
Martha is the author of the book Dress Her in Silk and her essay, Dangerous Archaeology: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother (and Others) has been awarded the title of ‘Notable Essay’ by The Best American Essays 2013. She maintains a blog called One Writer’s Excavation: Narrating a Life Piece by Piece, by which she attempts to delve deeper into her mother’s experiences, of which KIS was an essential part, drawing her here, to our school.
The experience of visiting Kodaikanal, as the first of her travels in India, she found to be very fascinating because of the welcoming warmth which she felt emanating from the solidarity of such a small yet immensely diverse community. Not only this, but hearing stories of Mrs Boyer, upon whom the Boyer dorms have been named, the tales of the original missionaries who laid the foundations for the school and the developments the institution has incurred since the very beginnings of when it was created were all greatly intriguing for Martha, as she added each and every bit of information into her diary of fragmented memories and musings.
She imparted the knowledge she had acquired in her many years in the field of writing to students and teachers alike through her interactive writing workshop, as well. Creating an introspective environment, providing the works of well known authors as guiding principles and invigorating prompts, she cultivated the participants’ ideas and their capacity to truly ponder upon which memories in their life have lead to their current personalities. The students understood the importance of each and every one of their experiences, and in so many of which KIS has played an essential role. In addition to the development of writing skills, everyone present was compelled to admire the power of Kodai to bring together so many people of varying thoughts, cultures and backgrounds. Through this we have the opportunity to learn about one another and provide each other with the most enriching experiences, gaining from the society we live in, but giving back to it at the same time.
– Ishita Pandey, Class of 2020
Post her visit to Kodaikanal, Martha shared on Facebook:
“What a pleasure to talk and write together in the company of such engaged and thoughtful students and teachers/mentors. I cherish my visit to KIS. Thanks to all for welcoming me so warmly.”
A well-recognized name in the Hyderabad Western Music circles, Commodore TMJ Champion, who was in attendance for the KIS Music Concert in Hyderabad, said, “It was a delightful evening and for most parents it would have sent a clear message that music exams and certificate is not everything, but playing in an ensemble such as this is as rewarding, enriching and memorable an experience to be cherished for a life time.” A great variety of music, talent and instruments were on full display by the students of Kodaikanal International School in Hyderabad.
Music students from the advanced ensembles of the Band, Choir and Orchestra travelled to the Deccan plateau to showcase their musical prowess in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It was a magical night that was put together by the Deccan Voices and The Hyderabad Western Music Foundation to appreciate Western Classical Music Ensembles. Joe Koster, Director of The Hyderabad Western Music Foundation said that, “the music was performed at such proficiency which reaffirmed my belief in carrying on the work of music education for a new generation.” Joe praised the dedication and inspiration of both the students and music teachers, with a special appreciation for incorporating music into the academic curriculum.
The evening’s performance began with the Advanced Orchestra, conducted by Sarah Matthews, Music Teacher for Lower Strings, who played a classical French love song, Plaisir D’Amour (The pleasure of love) by Giovanni Martini and arranged by Robert Longfield. The next piece played was the Johnny Appleseed Suite by Robert Kerr. The Advanced Choir directed by Cristina Dominguez, Voice & Choir Director, took the stage to render two tunes from La La Land. They were then joined on stage by the Deccan Voices to jointly perform another song from the same movie. Louis Gomes from the Class of 2019, said, “We had the honor to sing two songs with the Deccan Singers, who earlier on in the concert shook the venue to its core with their arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Along with the ensembles there were a number of instrumental pieces by soloists and other quarterts. The finale for the evening was the Advanced Band, that included a range of brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, conducted by Joel Nicholas, Band Director. Pieces included arrangements from The Incredibles and Guardians of the Galaxy.
“It’s always a pleasure to share the talent of our students with an audience outside of Kodaikanal. We have some incredibly gifted individuals and groups that have the ability to perform at the highest level,” remarked Paul Jaikumar, Head of the Music Department. The whole organization of this event was done with discipline and professionalism by students and staff.
On a warm sunny day of summer, the sky beat down everyone’s faces clobbered with sunscreen. Beginning of March had brought the KIS community together to Bendy field. The green field was bathed in the warmth of the glowing sun. Tracks drawn on the field indicating engagement and competition. Orange, Blue and White were swaying with dignity and honor.
Field Day 2019 was astounding to say the least. It seemed like the record of every other event was being beaten. Accomplishing success and victory has never been easy, there are times when dreams of success seem far away. Field Day is a platform for people to show their diverse talent, exposing one’s physical athletic abilities. A field divided into three colors Orange, Blue and White, yet unified with the aim of bringing out the best in each other.
Rosita Collision and Nischaya Shrestha as the school captains led the division captains in ensuring the spirit of sportsmanship would reign during the proceedings of the weekend. The field was occupied, not a single place was vacant with life and passion in every corner. Participants were performing with full endeavor, while the remaining were supporting them through screams, cheers and chants. The field was filled with hopeful enthusiasts rooting for one another.
After each and every event, people on the field learnt a new thing, acceptance. Accepting loss and victory through the performance of their house members. As numbers only increased on the scoreboard people were more nervous about whose number increased faster and more, the competition was heated but the energy never faded.
With a smashing point total of 1059, the Blue Hawks are now the reigning champions for the third year in a row. We’ve got our very own young awe-inspiring athletes who trained extremely hard every day, just to make history in the KIS record books.
Records set at Field Day 2019
- Division A Boys – 400-meter Dash
- New time of 54.53 seconds set by Prashant Sarkar (Class of 2019) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 55.00 seconds set in 1973 by Henry Poetker (Class of 1973)
- Division A Boys – 1500-meter Run
- New time of 4 minutes 44.00 seconds set by Jakob Wuthrich (Class of 2020) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 4 minutes 46.37 seconds set in 1981 by Mark Dencker (Class of 1982)
- Division B Boys – Discus Throw
- New distance of 33.03 meters set by Aryan Patel (Class of 2021) from the White Horses || Previous record: 32.71 meters set in 2006 by Ujen Norbu Gurung (Class of 2008)
- Division B Boys – Long Jump
- New distance of 6.37 meters set by Sunwoo Park (Class of 2021) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 6.04 meters set in 2009 by Jigmi Samkyi (Class of 2011)
- Division B Boys – High Jump
- New height of 1.77 meters set by Sunwoo Park (Class of 2021) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 1.70 meters set in 2006 by Pathros Alex (Class of 2009) and tied in 2013 by Chayin Ninnernnon (Class of 2015)
- Division B Girls – High Jump
- New height of 1.49 meters set by Maya Sarkar (Class of 2022) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 1.46 meters set in 1965 by Margaret Kapenga Shurdom (Class of 1968) and tied in 1986 by Alice Joseph (Class of 1987) and 1987 by Karin Lockwood (Class of 1990)
- Division B Girls – 1500-meter Run
- New time of 5 minutes 55.00 seconds set by Hanna Wüthrich (Class of 2021) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 6 minutes 28.13 seconds
- Division C Boys – 800-meter Run
- New time of 2 minutes 27.54 seconds set by Aamir Shapurkar (Class of 2024) from the Orange Tigers || Previous record: 2 minutes 36.12 seconds set in 2016 by Dominik Wüthrich (Class of 2020)
- Division C Girls – Discus Throw
- New distance of 24.83 meters set by Koushika GK (Class of 2023) from the Blue Hawks || Previous record: 21.14 meters set in 2018 by Koushika GK (Class of 2023)
- Division D Boys – High Jump
- New height of 1.37 meters set by Len Hangsing (Class of 2025) from the White Horses || Previous record: 1.23 meters set in 2006 by Leo Granner (Class of 2012)
As you can tell, KIS is just as aggressive as it is loving. And each house is filled with some mind-baffling go-getters when it comes to athleticism. School spirit continues to shine, and its colors continue to fly publicly at every Field Day.
– Diya Shrestha (Class of 2022) and Shivangni Saha (Class of 2022)
We have often heard the phrase ‘global village.’ But what does it look like? The KIS community boasts of representation by over 25 countries. In an ever changing world, where working together in an assortment of cultural backgrounds, thought patterns and working environments is critical, we need to cultivate intercultural understanding and also knowledge of your own heritage. “As a Bhutanese citizen, I deeply respect my culture and tradition, as it’s my identification,” remarked Pema Tashi, KIS Dzongkha teacher.
As an international, residential school, KIS has always encouraged students to become lifelong learners, who learn to work together towards a solution. Having an attitude towards diverse cultures is more than flags, food, fashion, folk dancing and music; it is about celebrating our differences. “It is about genuinely understanding their shared systems of beliefs and values, based on their history and the culture,” shares Sharon Jang, KIS Korean teacher.
On the advent of the Lunar New Year (this year being the Year of the Pig/Boar), the Bhutanese and Korean students at KIS, partnered with the Library to organize a cultural display from their respective countries. The exhibit included books, pictures, posters, student’s art work, clothing, musical instruments, sports & games, food items from Bhutan and Korea. We encouraged the students and staff to come dressed up in their traditional costumes and to share their culture with their peers. Suvidha Sadasivan, KIS Head Librarian, remarked that, “It was a great opportunity for the KIS community to learn more about the Bhutanese and Korean cultures and traditions.”
The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Middle Years Program (MYP) Personal Project is designed to be a practical exploration, wherein students experience the responsibility of completing a significant piece of work over an extended period of time. The long-term project is designed as an independent learning experience. MYP projects involve students in a wide range of activities to extend their knowledge and develop their own interests for lifelong learning.
Below is an article from Shantanu Vaijyanath (Class of 2021) sharing his experience of the Personal Project Fair.
Beginning in July 2018, at the start of Grade 10, many of us greeted the news of the Personal Project with mixed emotions. Some were excited, some groaned and while others had no reaction at all, and just viewed it as a task to be accomplished. It was only at the final Personal Project Exhibition of that everyone demonstrated a singular emotion, the emotion of pride.
One product per person, worked upon for close to 7 months (including the Winter break), was displayed at the Alumni hall. It began with an intense atmosphere, a nervous energy, which later became more amicable with teaching our friends, teachers and residential parents about our research experience and product development.
The journey of the Personal Project made numerous individuals endure various challenges and overcome a number of issues, the most common being procrastination. The project involved a lot of research which needed to be compiled, the proof-of-work done in the process journal and finally, the product, the most vital component of the project.
When it came to the products, these were some of the best and most creative ones we had seen. Few of them reflected the time and energy that was put into the development. Hence, even if most of the students were not able to effectively record the development of the product, or compile the research needed in an organized manner, the product was always there to prove the work done. At the end of the day, with the start of the rain, symbolic of the conclusion of all our worries and accomplishments, we returned with smiling, content faces.
– Shantanu Vaijyanath, Class of 2021