News, events & stories about the KIS community

Kodai Soccer Open 2105

Kodai Soccer Open 2015

In this issue:

Principal’s Message

KIS Principal

KIS Principal With His Family

Dear KIS Friends,

We will soon be sending out our annual appeal letter to Alumni around the world, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the projects that we’re currently involved in, and for which we seek your ongoing support. Following is an excerpt of this letter:

It is an exciting time at KIS. We have again been honored by Education World magazine as the #1 International Residential School in India for the second year in a row, and we are currently in the process of a joint accreditation with the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association, an important self-study process that will benefit the school in many ways. We have recently joined the Green Schools Alliance and are beginning exciting new projects toward conservation and sustainability; we are continuing to ensure that our students receive a well-rounded, holistic education with multiple opportunities—through exchanges and field trips—for international experience; and we are dedicated to improving our school infrastructure, nearing completion on three new student residences and new staff apartments, installing solar panels on the alumni hall and several dormitories, updating our science labs, and exploring many other ways to improve our facilities to enhance the learning opportunities that we provide to our students.

More than ever before, we are reaching out to our alumni across the globe and exploring ways in which all of us can continue to strive and contribute toward our mission as a Christian multicultural educational institution of exceptional quality, and a school where learning, in all its varieties, truly makes a difference. As I continue to tell our students every day: “The world needs them!”

With that in mind, for our annual appeal this year, I am honored to announce two new projects that will undoubtedly improve the student experience at KIS.

Every alumni group that comes back to visit Kodai speaks of the many teachers they had that touched and shaped their young lives, and it’s true that one of the strengths that KIS has possessed through the years is an abundance of caring and committed educators. A prime example of this love and commitment is Ms. Sandy Schoeninger. “Auntie Sandy” taught PE at Kodai School/KIS from 1966 through 2001: that’s 35 years! I personally remember her teaching me to dance in Grade 4 in the old gym (now Alumni Hall), as well as sitting in her loft in her Airlee Apartment for Teen Dimensions on numerous occasions. Indeed, Ms. Schoeninger taught generations of Kodai kids (primarily girls) the fundamental aspects of sports, fitness, teamwork, lifelong learning, and so, so much more. Her contribution to our school over the years is beyond measure, and we’d like to honor Sandy as we begin planning and designing the Sandra Schoeninger Fitness Center on Highclerc Campus…so that future generations of KIS students will continue to associate fitness and well being with Ms. Schoeninger!

We are also seeking funds this year to sustain community outreach programs through our KIS Service and Environmental Learning Projects. More than ever before, our students and staff are deeply involved in creating and implementing hands-on service learning projects and endeavors that truly improve the lives of others. Our students are currently involved in activities ranging from food distribution to orphanages and homes for the elderly to empowering local women entrepreneurs; from smokeless stove installation in village houses to an impressive house-building project for a local family.

As a school we are in the process of re-visioning our social experience and related programs to ensure that this important work continues. Part of this process is the realization that we live in a beautiful, but fragile environment—that our work with people in Kodaikanal is vastly intertwined with the ecosystem in which we live and the choices that we make with regard to our collective use of resources. We have brought needed focus this past semester, with the help of dedicated staff, alumni and students to issues of the environment and sustainability, and we gladly ask for your support as we continue to strive to be an orange, blue, white, and “green” school!

As a school, we rely on the support of all of our community members in so many ways. We invite all of you to join us and engage with us as we look for opportunities to make KIS an even greater place to live and grow!

With warmest regards,

– Corey Stixrud, KIS Principal

Admissions & Exchanges


Alika Khosla, Admissions Coordinator with French Exchange Students

This semester we received seven French exchange students from our partner school, St Louis in Lorient. They were greeted on their arrival excitedly by their KIS host students who quickly settled them into dorm and then gave them a brief orientation on life at KIS.

We welcome them on board and see that they are already part of the upcoming field day and community service activities.

There have been a spate of new applications and we have been busy at the Admissions office, receiving potential students and their eager parents from across the world as they visit our office to learn first hand about the amazing education and experience we offer our students.

The marketing division and Admissions attended a seminar in Dubai to meet with representatives from schools in the Middle East and Africa who are exploring top quality international residential schools globally for students from these regions. We had some excellent business meetings and are now in the process of communicating with these representatives.

We now look forward to traveling to Mumbai with our Chamber Singers where we will attend a concert at the Chemold Gallery on the 28th . In addition we have invited over 35 interested parents to an information reception at the Bombay Gymkhana on 1st March where our Principal Mr. Corey Stixrud will address the gathering.

Applications for the Marilyn Scudder Memorial Scholarship have started coming in. We invite students who are moving into Grades 9 and 10 in July to send in their applications to us at the very earliest

– Alika Khosla, Admissions Coordinator


Alumni visits and Reunions

The New Year has been a very eventful one with several reunions and alumni visitors from across the globe. In February, some members of the class of ’65 visited KIS to mark their 50th Anniversary reunion. They were joined by a group of other visiting alumni for a Campus tour and had lunch with the K-8 Graders on Ganga Campus. The members of the class of ’65 were Peggy Heinemann from USA, with her son Johnny Cihocki, Susi Morawetz Kolb from Austria and David Easton with spouse Carol from Canada. Other alumni who joined them were Glen Gill ’78, Blair Gill ’80 and Brent Gill ’82 .  Petra Gillian Fielden Senior ’48 also returned to visit KIS since leaving Kodai. She came with her entire family of eight. They took a campus tour of the school and visited the Archives office where they discovered some of the poems she had written when she was in grade school. Her children were glad to visit KIS and are planning to send two of their teenage children to attend KIS. Bob Edward ’69, our Alumni Reunions Coordinator in North America also visited KIS along with Mario Bellido ’70, Robert Granner ’82, and Sabrina Edward. The Principal met with them for tea and expressed his gratitude to Bob and Mario especially for their efforts in promoting the alumni network in North America.

Class of 2005 Reunion

Some members of the Class of 2005 were in Kodai to celebrate their 10th anniversary reunion during the Field Day in March. During the reunion, they participated in the Field day activities and also met with the graduating class during a dinner hosted by the Principal. It was a collaboration between the Alumni and the Careers offices for them to meet with the graduating class of 2015 to share their experiences as they prepare to enter the next stage in life. Present at the reunion were Devika Bakshi, Pavithra Sagar, Mercy Lamech, Rohan Balakrishnan, Sunayna Mundhra, Aditi Punj, Priya Elias, Song-Soo Kim, Reyna Jagtiani, Peter Paul.

Class of 67 Reunion

Also, a group of alumni from the class of ’67 visited KIS from March 20th to 24th to mark their 48th Anniversary. Most of them were returning for the first time since graduation. After campus tour, they met with the Principal for lunch at the Cafeteria and in the evening with the Class of 2015 at teatime to share memorable experiences while in Kodai and also valuable experiences in the fields of their career. One of them who worked as   the Chief Bureau Officer for CNN in South- East Asia made a presentation about his work as a Photo Journalist and Reporter. The Business Management students in the 11th Grade also met with some of them who had a great wealth of experience in Business. In attendance at the reunion were Sarah Simons,   Margie Graham,  David Bosch, Phil Turner,  Laura Servid, Tim Heinaman and Loey Knapp

The next Alumni Weekend Reunion will be held from 6th to 9th August, 2015.  The Classes of 1960, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000 are specially invited to join us celebrate their milestone anniversaries. This year’s program will include a Conference on our Environment and its effects on Climate change in Kodai. Seasoned speakers on the subject and other local officials, Heads of Institutions and Businesses in Kodai will be in attendance. All Alumni are welcome to join us. Please register with the Alumni office if you intend to come.

Class of ’62 Reunion

Submitted by: Martha Thompson Wilcox


Class of 1961 group

 2014 was the year of our 53rd reunion. Once again we convened in a beautiful 8 bedroom house in Estes Park near the Rocky Mountain National Park. The two story tall windows in the living room looked out over the rocky peaks of the mountains. Class members in attendance were NANCY NYKERK KLEINHEKSEL, JANET CHELL FRIEDMAN, PEGGY SHAW KORNBERG, MARILYN STENGER WATSON, CAROL STENGER LEE, BARBARA RUFF PARKER, JUDY TEGENFELDT FENLASON, JIM ALLEN, SARA ANN EMERSON LOCKWOOD and MARTHA THOMPSON WILCOX. It was nice to see everyone again!

For 4 days we visited, caught up with news and enjoyed the beautiful fall color and weather outside. A highlight was an early evening trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park to watch the elk in their annual rut. The male elks bugled loudly as they watched over their harem. As usual we cooked our own meals – Indian, of course, perfectly planned by NANCY. JANE GIBBS CUMMINGS joined us for one afternoon. It was great to see her as well. On a somber note, on Wednesday evening we had a candle remembrance ceremony for DAVID NYKERK, SANDRA SORBO and JUDY’s sister, ALICE TEGENFELDT.

Our next reunion will be in 2017. Hopefully, it will be in Washington for a change of place. Watch for information. Also go to where more details and photos of the reunion have been posted.

Group Photo:

Back row left to right: – Nancy Nykerk Kleinheksel, Judy Tegenfeldt Fenlason, Marilyn Stenger Watson, Sara Ann Emerson Lockwood, and Jim Allen

Front row left to right: – Carol Stenger Lee, Janet Chell Friedman, Peggy Shaw Kornberg, Barbara Ruff Parker, Martha Thompson Wilcox

Volunteering at KIS

Submitted by Loey Knapp ‘67

Loey at Field Day

Loey at Field Day

If, as they say, one key to a happy life is meeting at least one person a day that is glad to see you, then Kodai is the place to be. As I walk around the lake from Shelton cottage to the staff computer lounge at KIS I am met with a continual stream of ‘hi’, ‘good morning’, ‘namaste’ greetings accompanied by big smiles. First is the tea walla by the lake, then the tea walla by Bendy field, followed by the taxi drivers at the school gate, then the security and maintenance staff, and finally those teachers still finishing a cup of coffee in the staff lounge. By the time I get to work I have a month’s worth of greetings to cheer me through the day.

I have been volunteering at KIS for 2 months this spring, working with Rudy in IT, coordinating the UM-KIS student teacher partnership, and organizing a new set of internships with Oregon State University. Although the school continues to change over the years, I can still settle into my familiar haunts – eating lunch on the flag green, writing a paper on the lawn outside the library, and discussing the state of affairs over a cup of tea in the staff lounge. It has been fun to meet old friends; some work at the school, some live in town, and still others just appear at the school gate as they pass through the town. It has also been an opportunity to meet new staff members, always a broadening experience. The school is on a new course with a principal who is an alum from the U.S., a vice-principal from Columbia, a dean from Scotland, and a chaplain from India. It has been great to feel welcome in this school where I went to high school and where I worked for four years from 2000-2004.

Nine members of the class of ’67 will be here in Kodai to get reacquainted  after 48 years! Plans include a swim at Berijam, a bonfire dinner at Shelton, the oldest cottage in Kodai, and lots of storytelling over dosai. Isn’t it great to have friends you have known for 55 years or more, where the conversation can continue as if there hasn’t been a break in the years.

Aside from work I have taken some time to explore south India. Who would have guessed that beautiful resorts would spring up outside of Dindigul or that hotels in Periyar would be able to charge up to $350 per night? Ecotourism is taking root in Kerala and Tamil Nadu so cottages or room-size tents in amazing settings is becoming quite easy. So far my favorites are Valparai for tea plantations and wildlife and the coffee plantations along the Thandigudi ghat. Overall the last several months have been a great introduction to life as a retiree.

Minnesota Chapter Reunion

Dear Kodai Friends in MN and around,

With the warm weather and great Minnesota sun, 16 folks enjoyed the Winter Kodai Lunch in St Paul on Sat, 21 February.  We enjoyed among other dishes, Gujarati Dhansak, Goan Vindaloo, and Fish Pullao.

Many thanks to Bob and Lu Carman, Mark and Nancy Garrison, Miriam (Naumann) McCreary, Eunice (Naumann) Nissen, John Naumann and his wife, Art Bertram, Vic and Carol Hagstrom, Jane Hagstrom, and Marty (Grubbs) Rittmann for joining, bringing potluck, and helping with preparations and clean up, too.  The unnamed persons are Naumann kin and I apologize for missing their names here.

We donated $600 to KFI. Mart and I plan to leave for Lesotho on 6 Mar and won’t be in St. Paul again until Dec 2015.  I look forward to our next Kodai lunch, probably in 2016  (Class of ’66 – 50th anniversary), unless any one of you will organize one sooner.

Please be reminded of the Woodstock gathering at St. Thomas University on 11 July, to which all Kodai folks have been invited.  Please register at by 1 June.

For those of you with Loch End connections, when I got home, I found a letter from Claudia Trautmann announcing that Mrs. Hennig (Gene’s mother), age 93 passed on 21 Feb.  The funeral will be in Ft. Wayne, IN on Wed 25 Feb at Zion Lutheran Church.  Gifts and Memorials can be sent to Bethania Kids.

Wish you all the best.

Warm regards, Joe


To access your information on the Alumni portal, go to the website and request a new password. Make sure you sign in with the same email id that you use for communicating with us.

Share your Stories and Memorabilia

Do you have a favorite story of your time in Kodai School, or a memory which has vividly returned to you?

KIS Archives seeks to gather memories of alumni who have experienced KIS in their lives.

This is an effort to preserve and disseminate the memories of alumni through personal commentaries/stories, photographs* and related materials (personal papers, diaries, etc.) It will help to document the development and change of the school from 1901 to date. The products (media, transcripts/logs, images and affiliated materials) will be housed at KIS Archives.

To share your memories please send email to

*Using a graphite pencil, lightly write brief identifying data on the back of the photograph (never on the front) including the full name of the person (if known) and time period when taken.


– Yvonne Dovlo, Alumni Officer


KIS is improving its environment footprint, as a member of Green Schools Alliance. We have installed a second set of solar panels, 20 kw with batteries, on the Maintenance Block, to also feed Boyer and Kennedy dorms. The 20 kw set installed in January on Alumni Hall is working well and saves about Rs.1000 a day in electricity cost.

New 20 kw system on Maintenance row; in photo, Kennedy windows are above, and Boyer to the left

New 20 kw system on Maintenance row; in photo, Kennedy windows are above, and Boyer to the left

THANKS INDEED to Joe Rittmann and Class of ’66, for raising funds to install a 2 kw set on two watchmen’s houses in the Poondi campsite. They are isolated and this will make them happy. But Poondi camp remains rustic and natural with just a couple solar lanterns in the large shed. We are also proposing a 10 kw set over the Ganga kitchen for that school block. We have few solar water heaters, but will install them on more buildings.

The big push this semester is recycling and “waste” management. It is complicated because of different sizes and colors of bins, problems of labels (I got a set from GSA but they are less suitable and don’t have Tamil), problems of collection schedules, and recycle sorting place. SoEx students earlier painted some bins different colors, but now we are making standardized labels, and getting bins installed where needed before next school year.

3.Bins with new labels in front of Alumni Hall; (the paperpower boxes) were made by students years ago)

Bins with new labels we made in English and Tamil (the paperpower boxes were made by students years ago)

2.Recycle and waste bins in the Quad, for paper, cardboard, plastic, electronic waste with old batteries and print cartridges, and trash

Recycle and waste bins in the Quad, for paper, cardboard, plastic, electronic waste with old batteries and print cartridges, and trash

We had a Waste Audit by Wasteless in Aurovill, run by 2 KIS grads, Ribhu ‘2000 and Chandrah ’95 who are now professionals in this. Our goal is 75% recycling. The continuing task is to persistently encourage students to be conscious of recycling and to properly dispose of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, or mixed recyclables, electronic waste, food, etc, besides trash. Dining waste goes to a pig farm. There are 3 dealers in Munjikal who buy recyclables, and KIS now has a separate account for recycling and waste. We sold several truckloads of old iron, wood, plastic, etc from around the campuses. Then we sold a mountain of old and largely damaged furniture items to the school staff—the ayahs and workers were glad to get them.

We will continue all this next semester on the 8 school campuses (did you know there are 8? Highclerc including KMU, Ganga, Benderloch, Loch End, Penryn, also East House, Jaffna, and Claverack areas). The school will no longer rent Furzbank because of the new buildings on Ganga.

Meanwhile students in SoEx, organized by Varghese and Vasant, are earning their service hours by activities such as picking up plastic and glass bottles from around Kodai, collecting and selling recyclable paper, and installing smokeless stoves– besides learning in the SoEx course about the massive changes they will experience in their lifetimes because of global warming and associated trends. We had an Assembly presentation for world Earth Day, 22 April

– Clarence Maloney, KIS ’52, Volunteer to promote environment interests

Careers & College


Beth Yesudian, Careers Assistant With Her Younger Son Malachi

Accepted, rejected, conditional, unconditional, financial aid, CSS profile, Skype interviews, your fault, my fault…the list is never ending of the words and phrases that resound in the CAREERS office over the past one month. This month and the next couple of months are a test of patience for most grade 12 students who have applied to the US, Canada and UK.
While our graduating class undergo their test of waiting, we have had a few activities that have kept us busy over the past month. We had some university visits from Memorial University, Canada; Jonkoping University, Sweden; and Concordia College New York.
This year we thought it would be a good idea to start working with the grade 10 students to help them assess their strengths and weaknesses through Multiple Intelligence. So with the help and expertise of our school counselor, David Johnston, we conducted workshops for all grade 10 students. Students were able to evaluate themselves to measure the different skills they thought they have and look at possible job opportunities that matched the skills they had. We are hoping that through this opportunity to self-evaluate intelligences, these students will start thinking about careers they would like to pursue in the future and choose subjects based on their career preferences.
After consulting with other well-reputed IB schools in the country, this semester we decided to outsource tutors through a reliable company called Test Rockers to provide SAT classes for our high school students. Tutors come to school over the weekends to run classes and provide support to the students. Online tutorials are also available for students to access through the course of the week and work at their own pace.
One of the highlights this semester for us has been an addition to our department. Elizabeth aka Beth Yesudian has joined the Careers family. She’s been a part of the school in different roles for many years and we’re thrilled to have her as part of our team now. If you have some free time when you’re on campus do visit her beautiful office and get to know her a little better. In the meantime here is a sneak peek to get to know Beth.
1. What attracted you working in Careers?
The opportunity to get to know the students personally and walk with them through some of their career choices, helping them understand themselves better and recognize their strengths was what attracted me to work in this office.

2. What are some things you look forward to doing in the Careers department?

Helping students understand their strengths and personality types which will help them choose courses and colleges that they will find most suitable to this.

3. One interesting fact about you.
I am a fashion designer and have my own line of clothing called ‘Liliyanti’.

– Sangeetha George, Careers and College Advisor

One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising

This 14th of February was Valentine’s Day, but it was also V-Day 2015, on which the “One Billion Rising” for action takes place. The “One Billion Rising” is a platform, a global movement, a worldwide decision to end violence against women. This campaign was first launched on Valentine’s Day 2012 and began as a call to action based on the staggering statistics that 1 in every 3 women on the planet will either be beaten or raped in her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than 1 billion women and girls.
On 14th February people all over the world celebrate this day through dance, song and plays.
This is the second time that we, at KIS have organized the “One Billion Rising” and we are getting bigger every year, with students from grade 1 onwards joining! This time we marched through the town with banners and all dressed in the same colors, accompanied by our 3 drummers. We ended up in the Bendy field and after several speeches and a rap song, all of us  danced to the wonderful song :”Break the Chain”.
It was a great event and a great way to raise awareness about such important issues!
– Elly Oenema