Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Principal's Message

Though I have been more away than in Kodaikanal this past month I am happy to report that we have had an eventful month with the Kodai Basketball Open Tournament, the High School play, a US universities fair and workshops organized by the Council of International Schools and the many activities that filled our calendar. The Royal School of Music examinations begin next week and the Music department is very busy preparing for this. We are now fast approaching the end of semester and our students and staff are busier than ever. It is my pleasure to give below an introduction by Mr Adrian Moody, the incoming Principal.

I am very happy to have been afforded this opportunity to introduce myself to the Kodaikanal International School community. My name is Adrian Moody and I am from Australia. I left Melbourne in 1991 to work in international education. I am married to Gillian and have one daughter Beth who is nine years old.

During my career as an educator I have been fortunate to have experienced several different educational systems but more recently I have worked in New Zealand, Kazakhstan and Tanzania. I have also worked with several different programs, including the US and UK systems and the IBO PYP, MYP and Diploma programs. It is the mix of these experiences that has brought me to my current perspective on education. I strongly believe in the merits of the IBO programs. They are simply the best school programs available internationally.

It has been a great pleasure to have the opportunity to visit Kodai to meet the students, staff, administration as well as Council and Association members. I am fortunate to have been in Kodai at the beginning of field trip week to able to see students and staff off on various trips. The enthusiasm of both the staff and students is evident and this permeates the culture and the feeling of KIS. I was particularly impressed by the passion and devotion of the alumni and their continued and active support of KIS.

Education is an integral component for life. The education of children is a collaborative effort that involves the entire school community. Good schools have professional and consistent administrators and teachers, a broad curriculum available to all students, an ongoing assessment system that supports good instruction and a philosophy that says all children can learn if taught, coupled with high expectations for all students. There should be a school climate that is conducive to learning. It is safe, clean, caring and well organized.

There are continued challenges shaping contemporary approaches to leadership. The greatest challenge is to recognize these challenges, reflect of authentic leadership and to have the resolve and commitment to causes that are philosophically consequential. I am very conscious of the work that has gone before me. The energy and dedication of parents, the Principal, administration, staff and particularly the alumni together with the Association have guided KIS to its position today of being an internationally renowned, quality school offering a holistic, student centred education inspiring students to be lifelong learners. I hope to be able to continue the outstanding work that has been done to date.

I see the strength of KIS lies in its mission and its unity in diversity. My family and I are excited and looking forward to joining the KIS community in July. I look forward to meeting you all as the opportunity arises.
Adrian Moody
KIS Principal from July 2010


Vice Principal's update

Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence - Abigail Adams

Immediately after the long weekend the pace of academics became hectic… of course we have weekend activities such as the ‘Formal’ and Kodai Basketball Open Tournament to provide the balance! For the IB Diploma students it meant preparation and completion of English HL/SL and Hindi IB Orals. October was also the month when students from grades 9-12 took the PSAT and SAT examinations respectively, followed by the ACT examinations.

Alongside, college applications were being processed, especially the UCAS applications - filling of application forms, writing the college essays and securing the recommendation letters. The Careers and College office has its hands full as the Class of 2010 has 138 students making it the largest senior class in the history of KIS and the largest number to sit the May 2010 IB examinations.

The High School office was busy with “staffing” in order to ensure that all those who need keeping on track are being closely monitored. The online attendance of students is working well and is showing positive results in efficiently managing student attendance.

I am indeed grateful to the music department for working over-time in preparing the students for the RSM examinations. With the sudden departure of one of their faculty members, the department rallied together to ensure that our music students are well prepared for these examinations.

On the sidelines, our basketball teams are getting set to take part in the Ooty inter school tournament now re-scheduled to November. KIS came second in the recent Kodai Open Basketball tournament (see article).

Tectronics held an Interschool Robotics Junior competition in Bangalore and the KIS team came first in the southern zone category. Our congratulations go out to Min-Gyu Lee and Alan Alphonse for achieving this honor! We were selected to take part in the international school competition in Seoul, South Korea which we unfortunately could not attend. However, we do hope to do so in the coming year.

We also had a successful Atlas Rubicon Curriculum Mapping online core team training for the coordinators, VP and the ISM. Now we are gearing up for the all staff training in curriculum mapping next month. The English, Second Language and ESL departments have started their curriculum review. Especially this month our heads of departments and coordinators are very busy in the staff evaluation process. We are indeed grateful to Selvi Britto our new data base programmer for starting the Eforum on the Moodle platform and training the staff in this area. This Eforum is to be used for online learning and academic discussions. Our congratulations also go out to Marsha Joshi who was elected our NESA representative for 2009-2010 and to Anna Kagedal who will take over this responsibility in 2010-2011.

The busiest month of the first semester had its usual moments of tensions, pressures and the sense of satisfaction that multi tasking and time management has worked with varying degrees of success!


ISTE update

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving teaching and learning by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and higher education. ISTE is the Professional Development provider for the ISTE Institute, the HP Innovations in education grant initiative and other educational training services. ISTE provides leadership and service to improve teaching and learning by advancing the effective use of technology in education. Workshops provided by ISTE help to make teachers aware that technology is a tool to support the learning experience. It's not about learning 'computers'.

HP and ISTE are collaborating to launch a new grant program, the HP Innovations in Education (HP IIE) Grant Program “Re-imagining the Classroom". This partnership builds on six years of successful collaboration between our two organizations in supporting HP grants in the US and Canada. They are now expanding the work to a global level by seeking experienced educators with a proven track record of improving instruction and student learning through technology integration to serve as mentors for HP grantees.

If a school is selected for the grant, HP provides 32 workstations. ISTE's role as mentor is to help the school to integrate the PC as a tool for learning.

Kodaikanal International School with the approval of the ICIE Executive Committee, has become the “pioneer and lead agency” of this new grant program. KIS has identified 3 mentors from their faculty who were sent for training at the ITSE workshops in August 2009. They also attended the India conference called for and paid for by HP in September. The three mentors from KIS are Rudy Wuthrich (ISM), Ranjan Biswas (senior maths teacher) and Anuranjan Shand (HOD Science). It is our hope that this initiative will help better facilitate the integration of technology in the learning process.



Congratulations to Jin U Bak (class of 2010) on his selection to participate in New York University Abu Dhabi’s first candidate weekend at Abu Dhabi. Jin U ‘s research paper on “The most effective design of a robot to withstand the weather conditions in UAE” was selected among thousands of papers submitted by students from 750 select schools across the globe. NYU AD’s candidate weekend is an opportunity for students meet with faculty and prospective students, attend classes and spend time with New York University President John Sexton, NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Alfred H Bloom, and members of faculty and staff. NYU AD will sponsor Jin U’s trip to Abu Dhabi.

Congratulations also go to Alan Alphonse and Min-Gyu Lee who stood first in the Junior High South Zone Division of the Indian Robot Olympiad 2009 at Bangalore. Alan and Min-Gyu have qualified to participate in the World Robot Olympiad 2009 to be held in South Korea in November.
To view the clip of the robot designed by Jin U Bak, Edward Oh and Byungchan (Charles) Han click here.


Field trip summary

Apart from being a break of sorts from the 'monotony' of academia, the numerous field trips organized by KIS every year provide a rich cultural experience and exposure to students, instilling in them values that will stand them in good stead for many years to come. For the students themselves, though, the field trip can mean all this, and even more: the chance for togetherness with their best friends, in completely different environments from the ones they are accustomed to, the chance to experience a gamut of new feelings and impressions, to be touched and sometimes disturbed, to gain a deeper understanding of life and society.

This year there were 15 trips organized for high school students, the juniors and seniors being able to select their destination of choice. The grade 9's went on a trip to two charming cultural hotspots in south india, Mahabalipuram and Auroville. Most of the students who went on this field trip are in agreement about the success of its main objective -- undoubtedly, of exposing students to unique cultural experiences. The visit to The Banyan, a home for the mentally ill, gave students an insight into the lives of those not as fortunate as themselves. The sophomore class went on a field trip to Coimbatore. The goal of this trip was to broaden the students' minds, as they interacted with people from different social classes. According to one of the members of this trip, “The best part of the experience was meeting the transvestites, knowing about their stories enlightened me and helped me understand why they're like that. It also made me learn a lot about the harsh norms of society.”

The Cannore Quest trip was one of numerous options available to the junior and senior classes. The students worked with an NGO that cares for the mentally challenged, both children as well as the aged. When asked what the best part of the trip was, one student said, “The meeting with the children was the best part of the trip -- because they were so happy despite their problems. It really makes you count your blessings”.

For the IB Art students, the school organizes an annual trip to Hampi. Full of beautiful heritage sites, the students appreciated the Art, Culture, History and architecture of Hampi. Everyone really enjoyed the trip. For some, the best part of it was merely experiencing Hampi in the company of their friends.

On a different note, the Emote field trip to Chennai was geared towards the media and the performing arts. Using various forms of expression, the students helped raise funds for Prathyasha, an orphange in Chennai. For instance, the students recorded a music video in a professional recording studio. Apart from this being a novel experience for most students, it was a really fullfilling experience, as proceeds from the music video were used to help the orphanage. The students featured in an article, published by a local Chennai newspaper.

As the name suggests, the Kerala Culture field trip was a cultural one, exposing the students to the vibrant and colorful customs, rituals, people and above all, the culture of the state which is described so often as “God's own country”. The students were split up into house boats, and lived on the picturesque backwaters for a few days. For a lot of the students, the serenity of the house boats, made this laidback activity the highlight of the trip. The Mad River field trip was another trip to Kerala focusing on the local people, their main resource (the river), and the teamwork surrounding canoeing. The students used canoes to to get to each destination, and by the end of the trip had acquired an insight into the lives of the locals, as well as an impressive familiarity with the delicate art of canoeing.

If wrangling snakes and tackling crocs is your cup of tea, the King Cobra Adventure is for you! The few brave souls who signed up for the King Cobra Adventure, got what they had bargained for. Learning about the reptilian family, students learnt how to distinguish the length, sex and weight of snakes. They also learnt how to handle snakes. That was not all. Covering its eyes with a cloth, and then weighing it down using the bodyweight of enthusiastic students, a crocodile was captured and moved to a safer place; this being one of the many highlights of the trip.

The Mysore Heritage field trip brought the students to the historically rich city of Mysore. Aspects of History, Culture and Sociology were critically explored. Students absorbed not only the history, and culture, but also had a glimpse into the true essence of this city and its residents. The animal safari was really enjoyed by all, and many point this out as one of the best experiences during this trip.

The 'Health is Wealth' field trip took students to a coastal area in South India, to learn from, and interact with, people from different sub-groups of local society, with the help of an organization called SARDS.. The students met with people infected by HIV, their children, and also learnt about the lives of fishermen firsthand, staying with them in the fishing village, and meeting their families. An annual crowd favorite, the Southern Tip Trip to Nagercoil and the region surrounding it worked out a good balance between social service and fun, or as the students describe it-- between work and play. The students visited a hospital and each student had to contribute in some way to the hospital. This contribution took the form of making posters, performing dances or, in some cases, even white-washing walls. The students also visited a school for the mentally and physically challenged. The students were amazed by the strength of character each of the inmates displayed, despite their disablities, and their final performance was much appreciated by all.

“Green Team Dream” to Mysore was another field trip to the same city, yet with a completely different focus. The objective of this trip was to learn about methods of sustainable agriculture and nutrition. “GETTING DOWN AND DIRTY!” was the response one student gave, when asked what the best part of his field trip was. The students enjoyed getting their hands dirty by not only learning about sustainable farming, but really experiencing all its nitty-gritty .

'Save the Children' was another social experience based field trip, where the students went to centres that sheltered orphans, and others, for mentally and physically challenged children. The Home of Hope is one such centre that cares for children who have lost their parents to land mines, or whose parents are too busy earning a living. Just the sight of a group of visiting students made the day for those unfortunate kids. These visits established for the students the simple truth that these kids just want a taste of the love and caring that they werent able to receive from their parents. The happiness that surges from within these children at the slightest gesture of kindness, despite their deprivation, is truly amazing. This field trip was a real eye-opener for the students, and the students were amazed at how much they were able to learn from those little children. Wilderness Wanderings was another trip, full of hikes and treks in the rainforest of this region. For a lot of students who hadnt been on long treks, this was a new experience and they learnt a lot about the environment, about the conservation of the rainforest.

The multi faceted nature of the experiences each of these fieldtrips offered the students comprise a unique and illuminating insight into individual aspects of the culture and people of this great nation which, by its very existence, celebrates the diversity of human kind.

Rushad Mistry
Class of 2008 - volunteer


Poondi field trip

For the month of October, the grades 3-4 learned all about the classification of animals, plants, recycling, pollution and outdoor survival for our field trip to Camp Poondi. We created a large diorama of Camp Poondi with trees, mountains, the lake, animals, tents and US! Unfortunately the trip to Poondi was rained out but we didn’t let that stop our fun and learning. We ended up camping out on Ganga campus, putting up tents, exploring our environment to find lots of bugs, and according to the students and their wonderful imaginations we saw bison, a fox and even a baby grizzly bear!! It doesn’t take much to get their imaginations going!! We had a blast!

Lynea Mitchel
Grade 3-4 teacher


Mad River field trip

The Mad River canoes were donated to the KIS activity program by alumni, Hank Moyers around 5 or 6 years ago. Since then, they've been used to do an unusual backwaters tour in Kerala, with staff and students propelling themselves through the canals around Alleppy, seeing life at eyelevel with the local inhabitants, as they canoe alongside the local wooden boats and past the houses and reclaimed paddy fields. Highlights are making eye contact, even being invited to come for a meal or cup of tea on occasion, being seen less as tourists and more as visitors!

This year 18 students and 5 staff did this wonderful trip. Pallavi Chatterjee, was one of them. The following are excerpts from her trip journal.

" Today was the first time at experiencing the sheer inexplicability of just "getting lost". Technically the others were ahead find yourself completely alone in this green, silent world where the only sound is the lapping of the waves on the sides of the houses by the canal shores, and the soft occasional murmurs of Malayalam you're able to faintly receive - and which is suddenly the most melodious sound in the world. Now there was only me, the canoe and this green silent world I neither wanted to enter nor leave."

For Pallavi, it was moments of solitude and the interaction with handicapped children at a school in Alleppy, that were the most meaningful parts of the trip - plus an unexpected feeling of homesickness - for Kodai!

For others it may have been swimming in the canals or jumping off the accompanying boat, watching the sunset off the beach in Alleppy, or walking through a small town temple, with a Barathnayam performance going on in the courtyard. Our last day on a giant floating hotel of a houseboat (7 bedrooms!) where everyone got a chance to really hang out together, and with the best food of the trip, was also memorable and restful after 3 1/2 days of canoeing.

Barbara Block Trip Leader
HoD Art


Basil field trip

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” Michael Pollan’s statement sums up just about all that we studied while at the Basil institution on the outskirts of Mysore, Tamil Nadu, India. This field trip was excellent and much enjoyed by the handful of motivated students and chaperones. Learning about agriculture on both a global and local scale opened our eyes to the many problems and beauties it encompasses. We watched videos, sat through seminars, worked on the organic farm, swam in the Kaveri river, visited the Mysore dam and a bird sanctuary and then reflected our learning in a presentation that we put together on the final day. Truly an eye opening experience that has changed our view on food and its production forever- a privilege to have been a part of the group to Basil, and a recommendation for all to visit.

Bryan Plymale
Field trip leader (SoEx, TOK teacher)
Excerpts from student journals:
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” Michael Pollan’s statement sums up just about all that we studied while at the Basil institution on the outskirts of Mysore, Tamil Nadu, India. This field trip was excellent and much enjoyed by the handful of motivated students and chaperones. Learning about agriculture on both a global and local scale opened our eyes to the many problems and beauties it encompasses. We watched videos, sat through seminars, worked on the organic farm, swam in the Kaveri river, visited the Mysore dam and a bird sanctuary and then reflected our learning in a presentation that we put together on the final day. Truly an eye opening experience that has changed our view on food and its production forever- a privilege to have been a part of the group to Basil, and a recommendation for all to visit.

Visiting Basil was an eye-opening experience and we discovered and learnt so much about food and agriculture in respect to the world today. Though it is a depressing thought to know how wrong we have gone as a race it was also highly motivating to discover all the possible solutions which are so simple to implement. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

WE will continue to work towards the betterment of our world, starting in KIS. I am sure many of us will return to Basil one day, for a visit or perhaps even to volunteer. We hope to see you in KIS one day too.

It was very well coordinated field. The field trip was very informative. I got to know a lot about the current global issues that I am unaware of. I personally loved the accomodation that we were offered. It was a perfect week off from our busy school life. It is definitely better than the ‘Habitat for Humanity’ field trip the previous year.

Staying at a peaceful place outside the clutches of the city, by the banks of river Kaveri was very relaxing. The trip also made me aware of a number of things , which I was previously not aware of. I came to know a lot about the importance of soil and its correlation with life. I also cherish the knowledge that I acquired about ‘healthy eating habits’.


Our Place - grades PS - 2 field trip

The PreSchoolers through grade 2 blasted off on their ‘Our Place’ field trip by first visiting “Mercy Home’. This was the first time the students had been there to interact with the elderly and bring smiles to their faces. Next we went to the ‘Polio Home’ where they saw the physically handicapped children striving to improve on their skills. They also learnt how to make paper bags and made some on their own. On the third day, we went to the Palani Hills Conservation Council where they saw how plants and saplings are grown and also a busy bee hive. Later we went to the Horticultural Research Station where they saw a herbal garden, a greenhouse and some rare fruits which we do not see ordinarily in Kodaikanal. A trip to Bryant Park on the last day ended it all when the children had fun and relaxed.

The children had an enriching and learning experience by going on a “field trip” and being exposed to the richness and wonders of our local places!!

Rhadika Sager
PS KG teacher


Ongole field trip

Our fieldtrip took us, 7 students from grade 11/12 and 2 chaperones, to Tangutur, a small town near Ongole in Andhra Pradesh. We went there to get to know the NGO (SARDS) that is active in that area and which concerns itself with children and education, HIV/AIDS & health, livelihoods promotion and natural resource management and irrigation.

Our focus was mainly on children and education and HIV/AIDS & health and in the light of this we spent a day and a night in a small fishing village where we interacted with the children, teenagers and fisherwomen. We painted murals on the walls of the small school which was set up by the NGO, there was a lot laughter and we really enjoyed interacting with the kids. We also spent time in a small AIDS hospital and painted some murals there too, following the suggestions of the 2 cutest kids there.

Then we went on to visit the STD screening centre for female sexworkers where we talked with the women who were working there, who were very keen to tell us everything about the precautions they were offering the sex workers. They explained the problems these ladies were facing and did this with such good humor that we couldn't help laughing.

All in all, our trip was a confrontation with a different reality, a confrontation with other kinds and ways of life and living that, given the choice, most people would not want. And with this kind of confrontation comes the realisation of how lucky we are to be here in this school, in this part of India and to be able to make informed choices for ourselves.

Elle Oenema
Field trip leader
HoD Health


Press release EMOTE in Chennai


24 September, 2009 (Chennai, Tamil Nadu) – A team of twenty Kodaikanal International School EMOTE students created two original songs to test how multimedia can inspire public opinion and action. The 2009 EMOTE project is part of an educational arts-based initiative by KIS, which includes theatre, film, art and music students who use their talents to raise global awareness. The 2009 team, called Elysian Rhythm, seeks to use music and film to influence positive change for social and environmental issues facing our communities. The students chose the name because “Elysia” is a place of Greek myth origin which represents a place in heaven reserved for heroes. The “rhythm” is the heartbeat of the people, the music common to all people. They hope to champion many causes through their creative talents.

Elysian Rhythm arrived in Chennai on 19 September to record two original songs and film two music videos. After a whirlwind week of production, the product will be unveiled on Friday, 25 September at their CD/DVD Release Party and World Premiere. The release will take place at 7:00pm at the popular Sparky’s Diner, #15, East Spurtank Rd in Chetpet. The press and public are invited to enjoy a live performance by the group’s band members, who recorded and starred in the songs.

The first song, “Be With Me,” is inspired by the HIV-affected orphans of the Prathyasha Home for Hope in Vellanoor Village. The students, who visited the dozen children aged 5 to 11 on Saturday, enjoyed creating art cards and murals, playing games of football, and singing and filming the footage for the music video. Elysian Rhythm members hope the song and video will inspire donations which will help with the completion of the orphanage building and ongoing living expenses for up to fifty children. “It’s really overwhelming to think that as a simple high school student, I might be able to bring about positive change through my music,” says the humble Bangladeshi 16 year-old lead singer for the song , Ridi Kahn. “This has been an awesome experience, and I have learned so much. I hope I’ll be coming back again next year.” The orphanage is part of the Mellow Circle Prathyasha Trust and can be reached through

The second song was penned by 11th grade student, Jehan Katrak of Mumbai, who also leads the song and video. It hopes to bring public awareness to the issue of natural resource damage and displacement of indigenous villagers by the proliferation of increasing hydro-electric dam projects across India. “It was really hard work producing two songs and two videos in less than one week,” says Jehan, “but it will be totally worth it if we can help save even one village from losing their water sources or their homes.”

Two KIS Alumni from the class of 1990, Rekha and Shanki Mahendra, donated their prestigious Studio BrandedFilmz for the video shoot. Full rock show lights, lasers and fog machines filled the colorful sound stage as the camera carne swooped just inches from the student performers. Other footage was filmed in Kodaikanal and in and around Chennai. Some footage of North Indian dam project damage was supplied by the Tripathagamini “Save the Ganga” Appeal Project sponsored by the Aryamaan Ashram in Uttarkashi.

Elysian Rhythm team members hope that their songs will be well-received by the radio and television media, earning them enough airplay to influence people across the country. The 2009 EMOTE Project team is led by American film and theatre director, Ellen “Dash” Walter, who is currently the Head of Drama at KIS. She can be contacted for more information on the project or the band.

The press is cordially invited to attend the premiere launch ceremony. Please plan to attend to receive your advance copy of the CD and DVD.

Date: 25th September 2009
Venue: Sparky's Diner, East Spur Tank Road, Chennai
Time: 6:45 pm

Ellen “Dash” Walter
HoD Drama


Cannanore Quest field trip

Cannanore Quest proved to be an actual quest for the small group of students and chaperones that ventured out on this path of discovery. We started out by visiting Calicut, the ancient port of Calicut, which is now a thriving modern city, with beautiful malls and hotels. However, the old exists side-by-side with the new. We visited the ancient Portuguese church, Matri Dei Cathedral, built in 1598 and destroyed by the Dutch in 1639. It is currently being renovated. The Tali Temple, built by Swami Thirumulpad (Zamorin) within his palace complex in the 14th century, was also very interesting.

The explorers then moved on to Kappad Beach, the landing spot for Vasco Da Gama in India. It was awesome stepping on to the beach, and being transported back down the ages to the Portuguese arrival in India.

From here we moved on to Cannanore,(Kannur) where after endless enquiries, we reached our destination- the beautiful Kairali Riverside Heritage resort on the Katampally River. We enjoyed the food and the facilities there, before we started a memorable period working at the Ashrayam School for Mentally Challenged children. This is an amazing school catering to children with different types of mental disabilities. The Principal,who has been a part of the school for over twenty years acquainted us with the type of work being done for children from 0 years to 18 years. It was overwhelming to see the spirit of service in action here- the teachers were dedicated and the parents cooperative, while the children themselves seemed to be gaining a great deal from a wide range of activities like yoga, physiotherapy, tailoring, weaving, candle making, book binding and elementary reading, writing and computing.

We were fortunate to witness the sports day and organized a puppet show for the children. Our students played games and did a spot of gardening.The painting activity was very successful and it was rewarding to see the looks of joy on the children’s faces after they completed their works of Art.

The Home for the Aged that we visited gave us a good insight into the lives of those who are old, forgotten and deprived. Thanks to Mrs Menon, we were able to understand the problems of the inmates there and empathise with them. We also had a taste of Kannur’s rich cultural heritage when we visited the Muthappan Temple, The Academy of Folk Arts, the Arakkal Palace and Fort St. Angelo.

Kannur also boasts of a huge handloom weaving industry and we were fortunate to visit a handloom industry, as well as ‘The National Institute of Fashion Technology’.

Our stay at Sunfun Beach resort was wonderfully peaceful. The sound of the waves, the golden sands, inspiring sunsets and delicious food make this destination worth visiting. The Ayurvedic massage was a rejuvenating experience too, for those who had one.

On our way back to Kodaikanal, we stopped at a modern mall in Calicut and enjoyed ourselves shopping and eating at Pizza Hut.
Marsha Joshi
English teacher


Wilderness Wanderings field trip

Eight students and three staff members accompanied by renowned ethnobotanist Madhu Ramnath set off on this field trip to the Valparai grass hills and to the Siruvattukombai PHCC center. Sightings of Nilgiri tahr, bison, wild elephants, langur, giant squirrels and several species of birds and butterflies were the highlights of this grueling 20 km hike to the grass hills through leech infested shola. The slippery descent in torrential rain was an unforgettable experience. At Manombally the group had the privilege to study field botany with Mr Ramnath whose wealth of experience and brilliant teaching skills held everyone enthralled. At Siruvatukombai, the PHCC staff guided the group on hikes into the jungle and Mr Kannan spoke on the history of the project, the local tribals and successful conservation efforts with the grizzled giant squirrel.


RSM results

Congratulations to the KIS music department and music students for the excellent results achieved in the recent RSM exams.
The final results showed 8 distinctions, 20 merits and 13 pass with only 2 failed. Our average score went up more than 6 points from last year. A grade 7 student Anup Gilson (RSM grade 2-trumpet), received the highest mark in the school which was 138. A grade 11 student, Cyril Cherian (RSM grade 6-euphonium), received the second highest of 134.

There were five students who attempted the highest RSM level exam which is a grade 8. Of those students Noah Chettri (RSM grade 8-violin), received the highest score of 125 (merit).


Kodai Open Basketball tournament

The 2009 Kodai Open Boys basketball tournament took place on the 9-10 October. Ten teams participated, traveling from areas such as Madurai, Batlagundu, Dindigul, and as far away as Chennai. The covered courts were buzzing with excited players, students and staff. The atmosphere was electric as the students readied to support their three teams participating in the contest.

The tournament opened with the KIS senior team taking on NSVV MHSS, while another KIS team—known as the “X” team, put together just the day before—taking on MCTM Chennai. Both Kodai teams played hard, with the KIS “X” team exhibiting a strong, solid team effort despite having never practiced together. Still, the more experienced MCTM team defeated them 41-28. On the other court, the KIS senior team trailed NSVV the entire game, but never gave up. With just minutes left on the clock, and with the support of the students and staff in the stands, KIS took their first lead of the game. NSVV came back with a three pointer to regain the advantage, but the KIS boys battled harder. Key baskets by Nihal Chowdhury and Abishesh Dhakhwa helped KIS forge ahead and eventually come up on top, 24-22, in a thrilling finish. Defensively, the senior boys were stellar in the 2nd half, holding their opponents to just 9 points, which is the total amount of points scored against them in just the first quarter! Worawit Singsomdee was the team’s leading scorer with 12 points.

The next game featured the KIS super senior team, who handled their first opponent with ease. Asef Ahmed led the team with 23 points as they put away the Government Boys HSS team, 37-5. Meanwhile, in the final two games of the night, American College HSS Madurai downed NSVV Boys HSS 67-39, while the Kodai senior boys met MCTM Chennai. MCTM outsized the Kodai boys, but again, the senior team showed determination and heart, playing hard to the very end. Worawit Singsomdee was the high scorer again with 10 points, and Nihal Chowdhury added the other 6 points in the 42-16 defeat.

Saturday afternoon featured two semi-final games that would determine the evening’s finalists: MCTM Chennai vs. MSP Solai Nadar MHSS Dindigul, and the KIS super seniors vs American College HSS Madurai. MCTM Chennai and MSP Solai Nadar played a tight game, with MCTM Chennai eventually coming out on top 65-59. On the inside court, the KIS super seniors again showed their skill and teamwork as they battled their opponent. Several players were in foul trouble early, but they settled down and cruised to a 71-42 victory. Varun Varadaraj racked up 18 of those points.

That evening, the final game of the tournament took place between the KIS super seniors and MCTC Chennai. Chennai got off to a quick lead. KIS responded, but the Chennai time out stifled the attack and KIS never recovered. MCTC was nearly perfect with their shooting, exhibiting an outstanding performance. The final score was 65-41, with Asef Ahmed contributing 14 points to the cause.

The tournament ended with KIS PE teacher and tournament organizer Mr Marvin Ambrose celebrating the finalists and congratulating the champions. The students showed their appreciation for the three teams who represented them honourably by singing the Kodai School song. Well played, Kodai boys! We’re proud of you!
Beth Dagitses
PE department


The 40 miler

The long weekend in the beginning of October was the date for another 40 mile hike! Most people had only just recovered from the fieldtrip and here we are, off again!

We had a very small hiking group this year, only 5 boys from grade 7, accompanied by 4 lady chaperones and our guide, Peter. On our first day the weather was overcast, with bouts of drizzle and varying patterns of fast moving clouds, which at times gave us some wonderful views! The damp weather was of course ideal for leeches and we met quite a lot of them along our way. Some of them liked us so much, they just wouldn't let go and they held on all the way to Poondi camp, where we parted with them (and our (very) bloody socks)!

At night none of us slept much as the wind took off and we were lying awake, wondering whether the tent would collapse, a tree would land on us etc. The boys were up before 6 am and us, chaperones, joined them for our first cup of tea. All the tent poles had come down, but luckily no trees, so we set about resurrecting poles, tarps and tents and then we went for a long walk, picking mushrooms and enjoying the sun which had come out by this time. After lunch the boys went rafting and had a great time. Late in the afternoon it started pouring and so no campfire, but the coal fire in the covered area was nice and cosy and we were fell over each other laughing at the very silly jokes we all came up with.

The next day we hiked all the way back , taking a different route with a different guide. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the kids wanted a car to take them up that steep hill, but we all enjoyed the many little breaks, sitting down in the many lovely spots on the way.

It was a wonderful hike and although we were of course tired, we really enjoyed our 3 days out!

Elly Oenema
HS Hiking Coordinator
HoD Health


November calendar dates

2-3 November - Girls' basketball in Ooty
10-11 November - Gymnastics show
13-14 November - Winter music concert
18 November - Christmas assembly
20-25 November - HS exams
21 November - Christmas banquet
24 November - ES music recital
26 November - Last day of classes / closing assembly
28 November - Id Ul Fitr / operational staff lunch / staff meeting and departure


KIS Giving

In these tough economic times, it is the loyal donors who are vital to KIS fundraising efforts. Many of you have shown your loyalty by supporting KIS over time. We would like to take this opportunity to say that we value your continuous support and the trust you have in KIS.

The following KIS supporters have made gifts, large & small, to KIS every year for:
21 years, George & Anne Althouse
14 years, John E & Lillian K Camp
15 years, Robert H & Lucile Carman
23 years, Bruce & Louise Cummings
15 years, Garrett E DeJong
16 years, David & Lois Dickason
14 years, John & Dorothea Helms
9 years, Gene & Kristie Hennig
17 years, Andrew M & Dorothy Hume
8 years, Benjamin & Mary Johnson
10 years, Kunal Kapoor
14 years, Eleanor Macfarlane
22 years, John & Patricia MacKay
8 years, Daryl & Elsie Miller
9 years, Ernest & Edna Nunn
9 years, John & Dorothy Nyce
15 years, Richard & Joanne Patton
17 years, John E & Lorraine Rittmann
13 years, John & Ruth Ruggiero
18 years, August F & Alice Schmitthenner
9 years, Sandra Schoeninger
10 years, May L & Charles Votaw
13 years, Andrew W & Wilma Wilch
15 years, Theodore W & Gwendolyn Zwemer

Judy Redder & Alika Khosla
Foundation Officer & Development Officer


Appreciation & Accomplishments

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
- Antoine De Saint Exupery

KIS Archives
Many of you already know that the KIS Archivist resigned and left KIS on 30 September. The search for a new archivist has been underway and a short list of new candidates is being reviewed.

The KMU building has been shut down to begin renovation for the KIS Archive Museum. Thank you to the Class of 1961 for your continued support on this important project.

Social Experience Tree Planting
In response to the Wish List, Sushma & Nimish Shah, current KIS parents made a very generous contribution to the SoEx department for their major tree planting campaign. We are very grateful for your support! The Green Team transplanted 60 indigenous Shola tree saplings and the Youthrise group painted and interacted at the Tribal Orphanage.

An important message from KIS
Earlier this month we broadcast an important video message to all of you. For those who may have missed it, please follow this link


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, staff and students who believe in “giving back”.

Bryan Plymale
SoEx, Theory of Knowledge

“Giving back is what it’s all about. This is our purpose and the real reason we are here.” - Bryan Plymale

Hometown: Born in Corning, New York. Has lived and worked in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, California, Brazil, Haiti, Singapore, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Puerto Rico and India.
Years at KIS: 1998 – 2001 and 2006 to present. Bryan has served KIS in many roles, such as Science teacher, World Religions, Ethics, Theory of Knowledge, Social Experience, field trips, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball coach, NHS Selection and Residential Life committees.

Organizations: Ultimate Frisbee Players Association, Palani Hills Conservation Council, Vattakanal Conservation Trust, World Gratitude Gathering, International Kite Surfing Association, International Mountain Biking Association, Classroom 2.0, Sierra Club, Green Peace.

Sports: Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, biking, kite surfing, snow and water skiing, beach volleyball, in-line skating, martial arts, yoga.

Hobbies: Most sports, photography, reading, traveling, dancing, gardening, eating, social media, film.

Music: A very eclectic taste in music from Flamenco to Jazz, Classical to Ambient, Progressive to Social, children’s songs to Reggae……especially Camp Fire Jams & Drum Circles.

Languages: Has studied with various degrees of success, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Tamil, Bahasa Indonesian and Italian. Plus a few words in Thai, Swahili, Bahasa Malayu, Hatian Creole and French.

Family: Married to KIS Spanish teacher, Isabel Fernandez and has a beautiful baby daughter, Daniela.

“I would like to see KIS become a model of holistic social, spiritual and environmental education.” - Bryan Plymale

Kavitha Selvaraj
Grade 12

“KIS has given me a path for which to explore the world.” -Kavitha Selvaraj

: Auroville, India

Years at KIS: 4 years

Organizations: Youthrise, dance club, SoEx, Vice Principal’s List

Sports: Swimming, dancing, horseback riding

Hobbies: Painting, sketching, dancing, working with children and spending time on the beach

Music: Listening to reggae

Languages: English, Tamil, French, Dutch

Favorite teacher: Mr Menon

Favorite class: Art

Future: To study sustainable development at university in Holland

Inspiration: “Growing up in Auroville, and now having spent my last four years in Kodaikanal, I feel my home and my communities are truly these two and believe that I will one day return to “give back” in some way. My parents, friends and teachers have shaped my life and built me as a person encouraging me and supporting me in becoming the individual I am today. They have also been the people who have given me the opportunity to first leave my home in Auroville in order to have the privilege of studying at KIS. And now KIS has given me the opportunity to go abroad and pursue my studies at a college level studying Sustainable Development. I am sure, one day I will return and contribute to both communities as both Auroville and Kodaikanal have instilled within me a need to help the environment and my community. Though I am still growing as a student and am struggling to realize my dream I do believe that with the education and motivation from teachers such as Mr Bryan Plymale, Dr Mathew and the Social Experience department, that I will return to my roots in attempt to make my home one that will nourish and motivate the generations to come, just as it has done for me.”

“I would like to see KIS become more open and grow as a multicultural community” - Kavitha Selvaraj

Ananda Boga
Grade 12

“KIS has given me the ability to be proud of what I believe no matter what others think.” - Ananda Boga

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Years at KIS: 2

Organizations: Founder of Youthrise, an organization of youth who are making their own generation aware of the importance of Unity, Environment and Leadership. To learn more about Ananda’s vision and Youthrise’s initiatives follow this link: If you are interested in receiving the Youthrise newsletter, email

Sports: Cricket

Hobbies: Playing Ccicket, editing movies, drama

Music: Listening to calm music & Hindi music

Languages: Hindi, English, Marathi

Favorite teacher: Dr Mathew

Favorite class: Math

Inspiration: “My grandfather….he always said to try and make a difference and help people. For me personally, giving back is extremely important and plays a significant part of my life. I have been brought up by always being told to be gracious, kind and caring towards others. I believe that society has given me a lot, even Youthrise for that matter: it would not have been possible without the support of a community or a group of people. Hence for me to do something good back for society and a community is extremely essential.”

“I would like to see KIS students be more accepting and open to new things and ideas.” - Ananda Boga