Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Principal’s message

By the time you receive this newsletter you will have had news of my impending departure from KIS. As I said in my letter I am very sad to leave the school community with which I have developed a close bond. I am delighted that the Chairman has made me part of the Search Committee for my successor and I am entirely confident that we will find a worthwhile group of candidates so that we can select the most appropriate person to trustfully hand over the leadership of this school. I will of course keep you up to date with developments as they occur. If you know of anybody who may be both appropriately qualified and experienced and may be interested, please ask them to contact me directly.

This has been an extremely exciting month for the school in that we have purchased a new property, known as Swedish House. This property was, in the past, leased by the school and used as a dorm. We are delighted not only to have had the opportunity to purchase this property but also the capacity to do so; an outcome of the last four years of hard work on the part of the Council, Management and Staff of the school. In the short term, Swedish House will be used as a dorm while we continue to pursue the planning permission to build our new dorms on Ganga Compound.

I have just completed the last set of Executive Committee and Council meetings for this academic year and it was wonderful for me to be thanked and congratulated at the end of these meetings by the Chair and Council, who have asked me to pass their congratulations on to my staff.

KIS is blessed in many ways and I pray these blessings will continue. I would like to thank in particular our outstanding and dedicated group of professional staff for their enormous contributions to this school.
Geoff Fisher


Kodai Music Festival

The picturesque mountain town of Kodaikanal in South India hosted this new venture in aid of Corsock’s Mercy Home [a residential facility for the destitute elderly] to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the first Kodai Music festival held in 1989. The 4 day program conducted under the auspices of the SoEx department at KIS included daytime master classes and workshops followed by evening concerts featuring world renowned artists.

The following musicians performed:
On Friday Kodai’s own Oliver Rajamani, a KIS alumnus currently based in Austin, Texas who is famed for his groundbreaking multi-instrumental performances that trace the 1000 year old migration of the gypsies from India to Europe; the virtuoso guitar and violin duo of Louise Southwood and David France from Bermuda School of Music; Ashaman Gray performed a classical piece on Thursday evening before Louise and David; Saturday’s concert featured the Bangalore band Allegro Fudge, Billy Yesudian, Sid Vashi & the Burmese Army (current KIS students) and David Estes (Class of ’90) and friends. Thanks to Dheena Chandradas for engineering the sound and lighting provided by Johny DeMello of Chennai. Thanks also to all the people from the Kodai community who donated food that was sold on the Friday and Saturday evenings as well as donors and well wishers who all helped put the event together.

Evening concerts were held on the Kodaikanal International school campus. The Kodaikanal boat club hall overlooking the Kodai lake provided an intimate indoor setting for master classes and workshops. As always when the stars appear, fireside after-parties and impromptu jam sessions got going in inimitable Kodai style. The Kodai Music festival was one of a kind, a rare and unique musical feast in one of India’s most beautiful hill resorts. All of the proceeds from the festival and all related donations and contributions went directly to benefit CORSOCK’s Mercy Home through the Social Experience department of KIS. Accounts are still being finalized but it looks at a conservative estimate as if at least Rs100,000 was raised.


Profiles - KIS Music Festival artists

David France grew up in Connecticut and studied music at the University of Minnesota. He remembers his violin teacher with great affection and recognizes her as the person who has taught him everything he knows. After leaving university he lived in Minnesota for 3 years applying for jobs in orchestras before deciding that maybe teaching was a good option He went on the internet and started looking for teaching jobs and within a couple of hours had found an opening with the Bermuda School of Music where he started teaching in 2004. About the same time as Louise Southwood, the other half of the musical duo, who grew up in Hampshire, UK. Louise studied at the Royal School of Music in London but after 3 years of city life was ready for a change. She too did an internet search and found the Bermuda School which seemed to be the answer to her dreams. They are just beginning to establish their relationship as a duo on an international basis and enjoying travelling and performing together. When asked their impressions on their first visit to India Louise answered “India is everything and more”. David added “it is beautiful, it is crazy, so many things in one”. We certainly hope they will come back and visit us one day as all here in KIS were enthralled with their performance. We also wish David luck with his YouTube orchestra and hope to see some clips in the near future.

Oliver Rajamani was born in Madurai to Tamil parents. His father was a vet and was posted around quite a bit. As a result of this in 1978 Oliver went to live with his grandmother in the family house in Kodaikanal. Oliver was lucky to get financial aid after applying for a place in KIS so he began school in first grade as a day scholar, only 2 years after Kodai School became Kodaikanal International School and was itself grappling for self identity. Being a “local kid” was not easy for Oliver and created a big identity crisis for him. On the one hand his parents were keen he get westernized and learn to speak English, but on the other hand, being a local boy, he felt deeply the differences between himself and the other students in the school. Cultural differences were strong even amongst the Indian students who were mainly from the north and from very wealthy backgrounds. When vacation came many went abroad and all seemed to come back with stories of what exciting things they had done. Oliver returned to his family in Chennai and didn't feel his stories of the vacation were as exciting to recount. At that time he studied in the Loch End schoolhouse, which he remembers fondly as a beautiful building and intimate due to its small size. His music career began early; his first teacher was Keith DeJong. Later it was Peggy Jenks and then Alfred Pickard who inspired Oliver by teaching other forms of music and at this point he joined a jazz band as the drummer which he enjoyed enormously.

After graduating in 1990 he won a scholarship to a Quaker college called Friends World which has branches in several different countries. The Quakers have a different, hands on approach to education and Oliver was attracted to this plus the scholarship which allowed him to continue his studies. His first year of studying sociology, with a minor in music, was spent in Bangalore; one of the conditions of entry was that the first year had to be spent in the home country. Then he moved on to the US, New York, before finishing his thesis on Roma Gypsies in Jerusalem, Israel. Here he became familiar with Middle Eastern and gypsy music and his love of “world music” developed.

After returning to the US, being a first generation immigrant, he felt a certain pressure to “succeed” and music was not at that time considered to be a suitable career. He tried many different jobs but it was through his music that he really began to meet lots of different kinds of people. As he became more and more well known, for the first time in his life he felt that people were now interested in him as a person, in his cultural background and language. This helped him acknowledge his cultural identity and for the first time he felt proud to be a Tamilian.

Another facet of Oliver is his work in US prisons in 'cultural outreach programs " in conjunction with "One World Theatre" who are sponsored by the city of Austin in Texas where they live. He goes into schools and prisons to teach and play music to promote cultural awareness and spiritual well being through music. His wife, Anita June, is a psychotherapist from Germany. They work together using psychotherapy and music and do a lot of leadership skill workshops for youth. Anita also does family and marriage counseling programs. They have already released two CDs on music and hypnosis, their aim being to bring the essence of Eastern and Western spiritual practices and psychotherapy together.

Oliver was so happy to come back to Kodaikanal essentially because this was his home in the true sense of the word. Kodaikanal is where he grew up and where he lived with his family. He feels his greatest pleasure was to return to KIS and be able to sing Tamil folk songs which he would never have felt possible to do before which has enabled him to overcome many personal issues of how he felt as a student and how he feels now.

Oliver is gentle, calm and somewhat birdlike with his fine bone structure and petite frame. It is almost impossible to imagine while talking to him the power that he exudes when he is playing on stage. His performance is eclectic and his multi faceted talents with various instruments exciting. But there is such an obvious spiritual undertone to his music which leaves the audience with a sense of well being that is difficult to describe. He touched us all and we were moved by his quiet but forceful presence!

Hopefully Oliver will someday return to remind us all that despite personal difficulties the drive to accomplish one’s dream is in the hands of each one of us. Hard work, belief in oneself and an underlying desire to make the world a better place are the true ingredients of success. Thanks for coming Oliver and we look forward to seeing you back here again soon.

David Estes joined KIS in grade 6 in 1982. His parents worked in Hyderabad in the computer center of an agricultural institute. At first David found it difficult to adapt to boarding school life at such an early age but he now feels it definitely helped him develop a solid sense of independence which has served him well since. He joined the KIS music program early on playing trumpet but it was in grade 10 when he started playing the guitar that his musical creative side came to life. He joined a band with fellow student Oliver Rajamani and SoEx HoD Mathew Joseph who was living in Kodai at the time. His other passion was racquet ball.

He says he met some of the coolest people he has ever known here and wouldn’t have traded the KIS Experience for anything. He graduated in 1989, two years after his sister Gina. After leaving Kodai and going to college he was able to appreciate the unique flavor that Kodai offers here on its mountain top and he’s not the first and will not be the last to make that comment! He has kept in touch with many of his class mates (through FaceBook of course!) and has many fond memories of his time here. David now lives in Mountain View in California and works in a restaurant called Evvia in Palo Alto. He plays music when he can and joined up with his New York friends for their improvised concert here in KIS. A somewhat regular visitor to Kodai, David is always welcome here and hopefully now the Music Festival has been reignited, it might be the flame that draws more of his musical friends back next year too!


KIS Giving - update from Judy Redder - Foundation Officer

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) seminar in Hyderabad, which we attended this month, provided us with a great perspective on what educational institutions worldwide are doing to involve alumni and parents in development activities. The use of online communication, such as Google Alerts, Facebook, YouTube, and Blogs are becoming more and more common. The Foundation office at KIS is looking forward to implementing some of these new ideas and will be looking forward to your feedback. As we begin using new tools to keep you informed, please let us know what works for you and what doesn’t.


KIS 2008 – 2009 Annual Fund

Thank you to all who have made donations to the 2008 – 2009 KIS Annual Fund. To date, we have reached approximately 55% of this year’s Annual Fund goal of $100,000.

These funds are being used for:

- Making major IT improvements which include new computers for the Study Hall, projectors for the new “Smartboards”, projector upgrade for the Media Room, and upgrades for the Elementary School server room.
- Royalty fees for the All School Musical “BIG”
- Loch End Fitness Center additional equipment

The 2008 - 2009 Annual Fund campaign will continue until 30 June 2009. If you have not yet made a contribution to the 2008 – 2009 Annual Fund, I encourage you to join your fellow KIS alumni and parents with a gift to help us reach our goal. Your support promises to serve the students and staff of KIS.

Wish List donations

On behalf of the KIS Hiking Program, thank you Theresa Teves, Class of 1976 and Strother Purdy, Former Staff for the portable water filters!

Wish List Reminder

There are many elements that contribute to KIS unique character and its ability to offer a remarkable education to a diverse student body. These cannot be guaranteed without philanthropic support for the school. While the Annual Fund is the first priority of the school’s fund raising objective, occasionally special needs arise.

The following is a list of all Wish List items from 2008 - 2009 which KIS is still in need of. If you are interested in making these in-kind donations please contact Judy at mailto:music@kis.in
by 30 May 2009.

- New musical instruments for Music department
- Washing machines for girl’s dorms (2 already donated)
- DVDs and magazine subscriptions for KIS Library
- DVD players for Elementary School dorms
- Basketball backboards and table tennis table for PE department
-Filming equipment for Drama department: television, recordable DVD / VCR player, portable cassette / CD player, digital movie camera with tripod, AV media cart
- Archery equipment and climbing wall equipment for Poondi Camp


Appreciation and Accomplishments

The Class of 1982 appeal to support the KIS merit award in memory of Ashok Kamte was met with a very positive response. The Foundation office has been working with the Class of 1982 in coordinating this appeal, and would like to thank the following donors for their generous and
thoughtful gifts:

Anonymous, Class of 1986
Brian & Martha Brodhead, Class of 1983
Janet Chandler, Former Staff of KIS
John Jr & Elizabeth Chatfield, Class of 1959
Keith Doorenbos, Class of 1979
Chanaka Ellawala, Class of 1982
Joy Gallup, Class of 1982
Peter & Peggy Jenks, Former Staff of KIS
Anita Vallen Khaldy, Class of 1982
Michael Lee, Class of 1985
Rajit Malhotra, Class of 1990
Khursheed Mama, Class of 1982
Joseph McMinn, Class of 1981
Yebabe Mengesha, Class of 1989
Malcolm Monteiro, Class of 1982
Sheela Nelson Kuttaiya, Class of 1982
Mona Oommen, Class of 1983
SU Pandey, Class of 1982
Sarita Patel, Class of 1983
Afroz Qadeer, Class of 1984
Herb Rader, Class of 1982
Shrikant Ramamurthy, Class of 1980
Sakuntala Samuelson, Former Staff of KIS
Sudha Sundaram, Class of 1989
Tapestry Asset Management, Friend of KIS

A special thank you
We are very grateful for the generosity of Bruce & Louise Cummings who support the KIS Annual Fund every month. A very sincere thank you!


KIS Profiles

Annual Giving Supports KIS People

The Annual Fund gives KIS the means to develop and continue programs that make this school a truly outstanding place. The Fund creates opportunities for KIS students to achieve all kinds of excellence and has a direct impact on KIS ability to attract exceptional teachers and tomorrow’s leaders. In this month’s profile, I would like to introduce Shekinah Truman and Rachel Laitflang.

Shekinah Truman, Class of 2000 - Admissions Officer

Hometown: Nellore, Andhra Pradesh

Years at KIS: 10 years as a student (grade 3 – 12) and 3 years as KIS staff as Administrative Assistant for MYP / MSA, as ESL teacher and currently in the Admissions department.

Organizations: Participates in SoEx activities when time allows

Sports: Badmitton, volleyball, field hockey

Hobbies: Relaxing and watching TV in the few spare moments she has from caring for her 1 year old baby girl, Shifra.

Music: Loves listening to Reggae, Alternative, Hip Hop & Rap

Languages: Speaks Telugu, English

Favorite teacher while a student at KIS: Mr Menon

Favorite subject while a student at KIS: Psychology

"KIS has given me a sense of independence and inner strength, which helped me face the world on my own."

Rachel Laitflang - Class of 2009

"KIS has given me numerous opportunities to grow in all that I have done and it has also nurtured my talents in sports and music. "

Hometown: Shillong

Years at KIS: 8 years, starting in grade 3

Organizations: NHS. STUDCO, SoEx - Bethania Kids Home, Shenbagnur Orphanage, Green Team, Earth Day, Kodai Music Festival

Sports: Track & field, basketball, hockey, racquetball, volleyball, softball and badminton for fun

Hobbies: Reading, listening to and playing music

Music: Plays piano, used to be in KIS Choir but now sings at church and assemblies. Listens to rock music and classical!

Languages: Speaks English, Hindi, Khasi

Favorite teacher: Mr Menon

Favorite subject: English and History

After graduation: Will attend university in India, and hopes to major in English Literature. Teaching and education are careers that interest Rachel, but she also loves to travel and thinks journalism is a possibility.

"I would like to see KIS send graduates who have made use of all that this school has to offer and I would also like for KIS to plant in them a desire to give back to the school that has made them who they are today."


NESA Spring Educators Conference, Cairo

Shobhita Kapila (French teacher) and I attended the NESA Spring Educators Conference in Cairo from 4-7 April, 2009.

I was quite impressed with Tom Gusky’s session on ‘Assessing for Success’. Tom (Distinguished Service Professor at Georgetown College, Kentucky) gave us new strategies for assessment. A good order in a course would be Lesson-Lesson-Assessment 1-Detailed discussion on the answers-Parallel Assessment to 1(same concepts tested). I tried this with my grade 12 Physics class and saw a 40 % (and more) increase in grades!

Shobhita attended Marcia Tate’s Institute ‘Worksheets don’t grow dendrites’. Very practical ‘brain-based’ teaching strategies were presented. Shobhita also presented a workshop titled ‘Technological approaches to teaching foreign languages’ which was well appreciated by all six delegates who attended. A highlight for us was our meeting with Susan Baum (Director, International Center for Talent Development) and Henry (Hank) Nicols (Expert on Emotional Intelligence) (See photograph). Both of them are eager to visit KIS.

Navam Pakianathan (NESA rep and physics teacher)


Monday, April 27, 2009

Science - Group 4 presentations

Group 4 is the name given to IB level Experimental Sciences. Every student of science at the grade 11 level is expected to participate in at least ten hours of collaborative project work. The focus of the project is the process of collaboration rather than the product of the execution. This year the theme was ‘Optimization of resources for energy conservation’. The students were divided into ten equal groups each with a teacher supervisor. Each group picked a topic by lot. The topics were Cooking Fuels, Automobile fuels, Air quality management, Wind energy, Rainwater harvesting, Soil, Solar energy, Bio mass energy, Paper and hydro electric energy.

The students presented their projects in the Alumni Hall on the evening of 23 April 2009, for 9 minutes each. They introduced the topic with a skit and showed a movie explaining the project. The judges for the occasion were Dr Sundera Raman (Chief scientist at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Kodaikanal), Dr Soumini Joseph (Dr at the KHMS Hospital in Kodaikanal) and Mr Bryan Plymale (KIS Social Experience and TOK teacher).

First place was awarded to the group who presented ‘Hydro energy’. The second place was bagged by the group who presented ‘Soil’. There was a tie for the third place by the group who presented ‘Bio mass energy’ and the group who presented ‘Cooking Fuels’. The awards were gymkhana coupons worth Rs 1000, Rs 800 and Rs 600 for each group for the first, second and third place respectively.

A highlight of the evening was the inspiring talk by Dr Sundera Raman who has been designated by NASA to scout for young talent in South India. Dr Raman used a PowerPoint show titled ‘Fantastic Trip’ to give an amazing perspective on the micro and macro cosmos as well as to set students thinking on ‘Who we are in this amazing universe’. Click here to see the presentation.

The Science department is grateful to all the teachers, lab technicians, maintenance, finance, food services, stockroom, travel and IT departments for their cooperation and support.

Navam Pakianathan - Physics teacher


FlyBaba - Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

FlyBaba ultimate frisbee tournament took place in Kodai on 28-29 March for the third time. As compared to last year when 6 teams took place and KIS won, this year 8 teams were invited. This resulted in 130 out of town guests who were accommodated in Rock Cottage, CMC, Kodai Club, Hotel Tamil Nadu and Villa Retreat. A pool play began on Saturday morning which led to semi finals between KIS (winners of Pool A) versus DOD (Outdoor Educators - second place of Pool B) and Chennai Chakras (winners of Pool B ) playing Learning to Fly (IT professionals– second in Pool A) from Bangalore. The winners, KIS and Learning to Fly, then played the final on Sunday which was a very close and exciting match. KIS had beaten Learning to Fly on the Pool match on Saturday by quite a large margin but LTF came back strongly on Sunday to win the final at the last minute by 13-11.


2009 Field Day Records

The following records were broken in the 2009 Field Day events. Congratulations to all the winners.

Name Event Division Old record Year New record
Varun Varadaraj Long jump A Boys 6.44 1979 6.45
Jigme Samkyi Long jump B Boys 5.90 1994 6.04
Pathros Alex High jump A Boys 1.80 1979 1.86
Hikaru Takahashi Softball throw A Boys 79.77 1990 90.3
Persia Ferdousi Javelin throw A Girls 18.93 2007 20.66
Hikaru Takahashi Javelin throw A Boys 35.58 2008 44.84


Monday, April 20, 2009

May calendar dates

1-2 May – Music concerts
4-25 May – IB exams
8 May – KAC dinner
9 May – NHS dinner / ACI sale
15-21 May – HS exams
15 May – ES picnic
18 May – ES chapel recital
19 May – Grade 5 celebration
20 May – Last day of classes in ES/ MS awards ceremony
21 May – Last day of classes / awards & closing assembly
22 May – Baccalaureate and graduation dinner
23 May – Graduation / staff departure


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Admissions Update

We have reached the halfway point in our second semester and the students who were newly enrolled in January have now pretty much become Kodai kids. It was great to see them at the formal this past Saturday night dressed in their finery and enjoying the excitement with the rest of the grade 9 through 12 students. How wonderful to see the jeans and tshirts exchanged for dresses and suits! I was impressed to see some of our young men carrying roses to hand to their dates - romance hasn’t quite died then! Below is a breakdown of admission figures from January to date:

January and February 2009 - Total = 158
Foreign fee payers = 69
Local fee payers = 89

Of these enquiries, 26 were actual visitors to KIS.

Two interesting enquiries last week: one from Jamaica - a family returning to India and the other from France - the family spent some years in the States but have been back in France the last four years. They are wanting their daughter (grade 10) to have a year experience in another country and KIS seems like a good option to them. These, however, are just two of the continuing number of enquiries we receive from outside of India.

The website, online enquiry form and application kit have all helped in getting the KIS message out there and increased the efficiency and speed with which an enquiry turns into an application and an application into an enrolled student! As the global recession hits, there is an expected 40-50% drop in Indian syllabus schools’ occupancy in Dubai and possibly the rest of UAE and this appears to be having a positive impact on KIS admission statistics.

We have had a number of enquiries from KIS alumni lately and we welcome the continuity this brings for the families involved and KIS.

2009-2010 enrollment statistics to 9 March:
Enrolled = 39
Accept (probables) = 35
In process (possibles) = 35

Looking at the figures above, we now have 109 “in the works” so KIS Admissions has another 30-50 to recruit in order to reach the target for July 2009. We’re confident the target will be reached as the months of March and April are our busiest.

The breakdown of these figures to date is:

11 into ES (pre school to grade 5) for a total of 49
45 into MYP (grades 6-10) for a total of 257
51 into grade 11 for a total of 105
advancing grade 12 students = 157
anticipated total (pre school to grade 12) = 568 (as of today!)

Our Thai applicants have increased by a further two this past week, bringing the Thai contingent to a possible 21. The Korean students could number 66. However, there are a further 24 nationalities represented in our student body. We need to be conscious of our staffing in the ESL department and with the MYP / IB first language requirements, we may soon need to recruit a Thai language teacher.

The move of grades 7 and 8 to Ganga compound is anticipated. The student population on that campus will nearly double, but all facilities will be well and truly in place to cope with the influx in July.

Another exciting development for KIS Admissions is the push ahead with PYP. This could well increase our numbers in grades 4 and 5.

Two future events are planned. Information receptions will be held in:

Nairobi hosted by KIS staff member and parent Marsha Joshi on 6 - 7 June 2009
Dubai will be hosted by the Admissions Coordinator, Principal and Alumni Officer on 6 May 2009

We have one SAGE student enrolled. With the possibility of two in the 2009-2010 academic year. We encourage a first semester enrollment of these students so that they can take advantage of field trip week and the winter tour. Currently we have two KIS students attending Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia and look forward to the reciprocal arrangement in July. The German exchange students will number six in July which will further enhance our diversity. One of these exchange students will remain at KIS for a further semester as a fee-paying student.

Financial aid applications for assistance in the 2009-2010 academic year closed on 1 March. It appears that the number of students on aid will be what it was for the 2008-2009 year, ie 55. It is wonderful to be able to support this number of students and sufficient budgeted financial aid will continue to be provided to help maintain the desired balances in our student body.


Networking and Coordination with IB World Schools

As part of the VP’s agenda this semester I attended the SAIBSA general meeting in Mumbai organized at Jamnabai Narsee School on 21 February 2009. This led to a meeting of the International Baccalaureate Indian Development Council (IBIDC) held on 6 March 2009 at the Sharad Pawar International School in Pune. The meeting chaired by Dr Indu Shahani was attended by Ms Judith Guy, Regional Director, IB Asia Pacific, Mrs Farzana Dohadwala, Regional representative, Mr Prabhat Jain, Mr Ajeenkya Patil and Mr Kaisar Dopaishi, President SAIBSA.

Issues discussed at the meeting included:
· Diploma pass rates and university transcript requests Information· Indian IB schools authorization regulations
· Project and funding possibilities in India for educational access projects with the disadvantaged. Legal Issues in India for acceptance of funding· SAIBSA registration and new team appointed
· IB Regional Conference planning March 2010

The meeting was followed by an interaction with all the Principals and Coordinators of IB schools in Pune. Presentations on CAS were made by the students and/or Heads of all the IB schools in Pune. Excerpt from the IB AP newsletter Quarter 1 2009

Kaisar Dopaishi — Vice Principal


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Principal's Message

This newsletter comes to you after a hectic month and a well-deserved, restful long weekend. The 4th quarter of this academic year is underway and for our seniors, their remaining time here now picks up momentum as they complete their IB and KIS Diploma requirements and prepare for the transition that lies ahead.

The month of March saw the KIS sporting spirit at the fore with Field Day events spread over two weather friendly days. The participation was tremendous and it was wonderful to see the whole school down at Bendy reveling in this annual KIS tradition. It was also great to have some alumni here for the occasion, with many of them participating in the alumni vs staff race.
The sunshine held until the last event of the final day and the rain came down just as we were to sit down to another age old KIS tradition, lunch on Bendy Field. Kirk Jerome and his team very quickly reorganized the lunch on the covered courts.

March also brought the visit of the Associate Regional Manager PYP Asia Pacific Region to review the implementation of the Primary Years Program at KIS. I am pleased to report that the visitation report has indicated that we are ready for the implementation of this program.

As I write this I am traveling to Austria as part of a Council of International Schools Accreditation Team to the Vienna International School. I will be returning to Kodaikanal at the beginning of April to prepare for the meetings of the Council of Directors and Association during that month.Thank you all again for your support and encouragement as we together nurture the young people entrusted to us here at KIS. I look forward to seeing any of you who will be joining us in May as we celebrate, and bid farewell to, the Class of 2009.

Geoff Fisher, Principal


ES News

On 20 February 2009 Elementary School had it's first portfolio conference for Preschool to grade 6.

The morning was busy with students practicing for their conference which was to take place in the afternoon. Each guest was personally invited by the student to come and view their portfolio. Guests included parents, other teachers, High School students & family friends. Students showcased their work which included projects, essay etc from each subject. They spoke about their work - how it has improved and what they were required to work on. Guests in turn asked questions & shared their views on the student's work.

At the end of the session guests commented on how they had appreciated being part of an experience that enabled them to learn more about the students. For most of the guests & students it was a very emotional and proud moment. As a school we are looking forward to conducting the portfolio conference on a regular basis.

Janice VanHaltren (Grade 6A)


Music Tour to Bangalore

Last month, the KIS Strings Orchestra and the Advanced Band of our school performed at the Canadian International School and the Community Hall of St Mark’s Cathedral, Bangalore. Everyone present felt the peace that Berthold Auerbach spoke about when he said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

The audience at the Canadian International School was enthralled. A couple of younger students in the audience used twigs as batons in an attempt to imitate Pratap Chettri (Head of the Music Department) and Melissa Kessler as they conducted the Strings Orchestra and the Advanced Band respectively. Other younger students used their water bottles as trumpets. The members of staff were grateful for the “music therapy” and listened with rapt attention. One of them said that it was just what they needed after a particularly tough day; it put them in a “meditative state” and soothed their nerves. The Principal, Christopher Edmunds, an accomplished violinist himself, said our students played like “professionals”.

The experience at St Mark’s was a little more formal with many musicians, KIS alumni and students of music in the audience. Many people were so impressed with the standard of the performance that they came up to the staff and students to either make enquiries about admission to our school or to suggest that we advertise the program and conduct it in a larger space. Mr George Mathew, Artistic Director and Conductor, was awestruck by the performance.
Our students enjoyed the trip immensely and they were great ambassadors of the school even as they hung out on Commercial Street, Brigade Road and MG Road. The chaperones too had a wonderful, relaxed trip.

Pratap Chettri—HoD Music


KIS Field Day

I’m happy to report that the competition was fierce, school spirit high, students and staff worked together under the leadership and direction of Mr Sither, head of the PE department and the PE staff, to make Field Day 2009 a special event.

A bitter-sweet moment came right at the beginning of Field Day after the flag had been hoisted when Mr Antony Das from the PE department, one of the workers who has been at KIS for 48 years was recognized for his many years of service. He was wrapped in a shawl by the Principal, given a gift and a tribute of thanks was read by Mr Sither. Mr Das will retire from service at KIS at the age of 60 at the end of the month. His loyalty and dedication to KIS are greatly appreciated.

And I’m sure you want to know the final outcome. The final score (now tallied online, with certificates printed on the field, thanks to our amazing Information Systems Manager, Mr Rudy Wuthrich) was: 962 White, 1165 Blue and 1220 for Orange. It has been awhile since another team has won Field Day. I’ll have to do some research to see which teams won in previous years.

Julie Stengele—Alumni Officer
We are hoping to print the names of those who broke records in next month’s newsletter…….


The Oscars at KIS

The KIS Drama Department hosted the second annual “Golden KIS Awards,” which is their version of the Oscars and Film Fare. This year included an exciting new twist, in that it was created, written, choreographed, directed and produced entirely by drama students from the grades 11-12 Advanced Acting and Directing class, and included performances from ES to HS. It was great that it coincided with the class reunion of 1989, and the alumni, who walked the red carpet, were treated to VIP front row seating. The evening was a fundraiser for the Drama department, and especially for the closing night gala of the All School Musical, “Big!”, which will now be presented 17-18 April (date changed from end March).

The students decided on the theme of “Cartoons and Superheros”, with staff and student “awards” named for the same. Student awards included the “Happy Feet” Award for the most Outstanding and Original Dancer, won by Jurmey Karchung, the “Rapunzel” Award for the Most Outstanding Hair or Hair-Doo, won by Ye-ji Hyun and the “Mickey Mouse” Award for Best Leading Male All Around, taken home by Sherrarrd Wallang. Staff awards included the “Ratatouille Award” for the dorm parent with Outstanding Culinary Talents, which went to Mrs Saji Varhese from Bruton dorm, the “Captain Planet” award for the staff member who is “Turning Pollution Down to Zero,” which was won by Mr Bryan Plymale of the SoEx department and the “Master Shifu” Award for the Most Patient Teacher, earned by Mr Santosh Punnoose. The best acceptance speech of the evening goes to Mr Atul Deshpande, who with Mr Babu won the Friendship Award, and who gave his rousing rendition of a Bollywood hit song accompanied by enthusiastic chanting and clapping from the audience. The “Cruella DeVil” Award for the staff member who is “Most Scary when Mad!” was taken home by our own favorite Dean, Mr Sam Balanchander.

The student-created evening opened with an interpretive masked dance from “The Lion King,” and went on to include songs, skits and dances from various hit movies including “Grease,” “Hairspray,” “Happy Feet,” “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and “101 Dalmations.” Awards were enhanced by candid snaps and video clips of nominees, along with video montages from Disney movies and hit cartoons. The event included audience participation in a “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” gameshow, gourmet food served by “Ratatouille” waitstaff and a silent auction with items donated by local businesses.

The ultimate purpose of the evening was to give the drama class a chance to gain experience planning a fundraising event from beginning to end. The students admitted that they learned a lot about planning, budgeting and teamwork. We hope that each year the event will get bigger and better. Next year, the students hope to attract some celebrity alumni and more involvement from our local community.

Thanks from the KIS Drama Department to all of the Administration, faculty, staff and student volunteers, as well as to our extended Kodaikanal community family, for making this exciting event possible.

Drama Queen—Ellen “Dash” Walter (Cruella Deville) - HoD Drama

Note that the All School Play “Big” is postponed until 17-18 April 2009


Archives Update

In the hustle and bustle of the parking lot lies the graceful KMU building which is soon going to be the Archives and Museum. The dream of renovating the KMU is in the process of becoming reality. The most important thing in Archives is the repository (storage area) where documents are kept ensuring they are safe and secure.

I take pride in announcing that one of the repositories is ready for use along with the Archivist’s office. The repository has:

- dichroic halogen lamps fitting in the false ceiling

- sealed windows to avoid the infiltration of dust

- a new floor re-laid with terracotta tiles

- loose wires and unnecessary cable shave been removed

- the water supply around the building has been checked

The cost of running an air conditioner 24x7 has limited us to the use of an exhaust fan in order to circulate the air. We are still waiting for this to be installed. Choosing and purchasing shelves, racks and photograph boxes and cabinets is in process. Soon we will have the right mode of storage and can be relieved and confident that our treasures are safe.

I’ve moved into my new office - a big elegant room where I can accommodate ten to twelve people at a time. Visitors and guests can leisurely go through the archives. I’m open to any suggestions and value your assistance.

Please feel free to contact me.

Tulsi Kamath, Archivisit


Where diverse races affirm each other and faith speaks to faith in hope, where non-violence is a path to peace and Gandhi calls us to follow, where children leave with a vision and staff depart with a dream not to exploit this fragile earth but bless it with green and gold.”

These words are from Dr Habel’s message written for the installation of Cass Shaw as Chaplain of the school in March 1986. And today we see accounts of students of the past taking their places in a variety of venues in the world of 2009:

- Kai Bird (Class of 1969) now living in Nepal, winner with co-author Martin J Sherwin of the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006

- Chris Van Hollen (Class of 1977) serving today in the Congress of the USA

- Nancy Hatch Dupree (Class of 1944) who recently received an award from the government of Afghanistan for her work in helping to save their museum treasures

- Rom Whitaker (Class of 1960) who appears with his snakes and crocodiles on TV throughout the world

The list could go on … And many others who led less public, but no less important lives of service:

- Marilyn Scudder (Class of 1956) who spent her years of service as a nurse in Africa

- Brenda Reble (Class of 1971), beloved of her students, who taught ESL for thirty years before her untimely death in 2008

- Ashok Kamte (Class of 1982), Additional Commissioner of Police, gave his life fighting terrorists at Mumbai on 26 November 2008

Pages full of memories of these, and many others—memories that have managed to survive in spite of Kodai poochies, the leaky roof, dusty rooms, neglect, rusty paper clips and staples …

Then I look across the table. There sits our hope for the future - young, bright and energetic Tulsi Kamath, recognized by the Government of India as a certified Archivist, with a BS degree from Mysore University in History, Anthropology, Archaeology and Museology. With her expertise in restoring old papers and her skill at outwitting silverfish and spiders, she is effecting a welcome change in this valuable collection.

Progress is being made to ensure permanent safe storage areas for the many archival boxes already full of photographs, concert programs, class pictures, etc. Recently the Archives Office was moved into a large adjoining room in the KMU. On the wall there will soon be a picture of the Class of 1961 - whose generous donations over the past years have made these innovations possible.

Before long the Archives collection will once again become accessible to the steady stream of former students who stop by the school to visit the beloved scenes of their childhood, or to search for treasured memories of their parents and grandparents. Yes, our alumni families continue to be a very important part of this venture.

Plan to come and visit. Meet Tulsi and fill in a page of the Family Record Book where we can note specific references to you and yours as we come across them. And take time to tell Tulsi of your memories of Kodai so that you can continue to be a part of our shared past. With the KMU Library still in operation, this historic building may well become the center where KIS and the ever-expanding Kodaikanal community will come together.

Thanks again, to our alumni for making these dreams possible. We look forward to seeing you in Kodai!

Betty Swavely Granner (Class of 1944)

Volunteer in the KIS Archives January to March 2009


Foundation Update - Appreciation and Accomplishments

Winding down to the year’s end, the Foundation office is as busy as ever. Martin Hahn, Endowment Officer and I will be heading to Hyderabad in mid March for a Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) seminar. The Class of 1982 has spearheaded a new KIS merit award in memory of Ashok Kamte. The Foundation office has been working with the Class of 1982 on the details of the award and the appeal will soon be sent to KIS Alumni.

Appreciation & Accomplishments 2007 - 2008

KIS & KFI Donors - Our sincere thanks to all alumni and friends who made contributions to KIS and KFI in 2007 – 2008. All of whom are acknowledged in the 2008 KIS Annual Report, which is now posted on our website. http://www.kis.in/ KIS 2008 – 2009 Annual Fund.

Thank you to all who have made donations to the 2008 – 09 KIS Annual Fund. To date, we have reached approximately 45% of this year’s Annual Fund goal of $100,000. These funds are being used for:

· Making major IT improvements which include new computers for the Study Hall, projectors for the new “Smartboards”, projector upgrade for the Media Room, and upgrades for the Elementary School server room

· Royalty fees for the All School Musical “BIG”

· Loch End Fitness Center additional equipment

The 2008—2009 Annual Fund campaign will continue until 30 June 2009. If you have not yet made a contribution to the 2008 – 2009 Annual Fund, I encourage you to join your fellow KIS alumni and parents with a gift to help us reach our goal. Your support promises to serve the students and staff of KIS.


KIS Profiles

Annual Giving Supports KIS People
The Annual Fund gives KIS the means to develop and continue programs that make this school a truly outstanding place. The Fund creates opportunities for KIS students to achieve all kinds of excellence and has a direct impact on KIS ability to attract exceptional teachers and tomorrow’s leaders. In this month’s profile, I would like to introduce Shreya DeMonte, and Leif DeJong.

Shreya DeMonte

Projects Assistant / 2009 Year Book Staff Advisor / 2009 All School Musical ‘BIG’ – Backstage Assistant

Home: Delhi

Years at KIS: 3.5 years - Shreya began as a volunteer at KIS in Jan 2006, before becoming Projects Assistant, working on projects such as the Outdoor Education Program, Archives, data management, KIS marketing films and KIS branding and imaging.

Sports & hobbies: Volleyball, frisbee, swimming, cooking, crocheting, poetry, blogging, and drama production. Shreya is assisting with makeup and costumes for the upcoming All School Musical ‘BIG’.

Music: A self-proclaimed inability to hold a tune, but appreciates music very much.

Organizations: AIESEC, AIESEC, (pronounced as one word; originally an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales) is an international, not-for-profit, non-political organization run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. It describes itself as “The international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential so as to have a positive impact on society”. Shreya was Vice President of Delhi office.

Languages: Speaks Hindi and English.

I would like to see KIS keep its charm and keep affecting students in so many positive ways.” -Shreya DeMonte

Leif DeJong, Class of 2009 - Grade 12

“KIS has given me opportunities to discover what I like, what inspires me, and excel in it!” -Leif DeJong

Home: Bodi, Nayakanur

Years at KIS: Leif attended 5 years of school at KIS, first in Elementary School and then returned for grades 11 & 12.

Clubs & Organizations: Multicultural Club, SoEx and volunteer work for Bethania and Blue Mango

Sports & hobbies: Track & field, gymnastics, indoor soccer, rowing, fixing stuff, learning about other cultures, design - everything from Lego buildings and treehouses to drama sets. Leif is designing and building the sets for the upcoming All School Musical ‘BIG’, as well as performing in a leading role.

Music: Drums, percussion, singing, KIS choir, has just begun guitar lessons, listening to Tribal, New Age and World music.

Languages: Speaks French, Tamil, English

Favorite Teacher: Sharma Mataji

Favorite Class: Psychology

Future: After graduating from KIS, Leif will be heading off to college in Indiana, USA. Inspired and encouraged by his father to follow his interests, Leif will study computer science and liberal arts, and eventually would like to use his expertise to help developing countries.

I would like to see KIS provide the individual support to help students discover their creativity and be encouraged to follow their dreams.”


Kodai Music Festival

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you, again of the upcoming Kodai Music Festival, 2 – 5 April 2009 benefiting Corsock’s Mercy Home, in cooperation with KIS SoEx Department. Beautiful Kodaikanal will set the stage to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first Kodai Music Festival held in 1989. The 4 day program includes daytime master classes and workshops followed by evening concerts featuring world renowned artists.

Classical night -Thursday 2 April - Louise Southwood / David France [guitar violin duo from Bermuda]
World Music Night - Friday 3 April - Oliver Rajamani ensemble [flamenco/world music from Austin, Texas]
Rock Night—-Saturday 4 April - Thermal and a Quarter [original rock band from Bangalore]


To Give or Contact

Your support helps protect the programs, the places and the people that KIS has so carefully invested in for over 100 years. To make a gift, please go to:


If you would like more information about KIS initiatives or making a donation, please contact:

Judy Redder, Foundation Officer foundation@kis.in
Peter Jenks, KFI Executive Director kodaifriends@yahoo.com
Martin Hahn, Endowment Officer endowment@kis.in