Parents express appreciation in end-of-year celebration
In a region as highly saturated with international schools and elite academies as eastern Switzerland, how does an institution stand out from its peers? Academics, scholarships, sports, and extracurricular activities are a few reasons, and we are lucky to live in an area wherein our international schools excel in each of these disciplines while continuing to strive for improvement.
When we further consider the rich history of international education in Switzerland it would seem that an older institution would fare better among its competition, harnessing a wealth of experience and clout within the community. But in a unique and admirable twist, one international school in Etoy is using its youth to its advantage.
GEMS World Academy-Etoy will soon complete its second full school year through the guidance of its larger global parent organisation, GEMS Education Group, who draws from over 50 years of quality experience in education. So while this specific academy may be new they have already earned a sterling reputation. At a recent reception for teachers I was able to speak with some of the parents about why they chose GEMS World Academy-Etoy for their children and the impact it has had on their education. Many parents believe the momentum of a young school creates an atmosphere of potential and positive risk-taking. No idea put forth by the parents seems too big or too grand. In fact, parents are regularly invited into the school on an informal basis to become better acquainted with the goings-on. There is a transparency among the enthusiastic and knowledgeable leadership that suggests youth and collaboration.
The reception itself was testimony to parental satisfaction with the school and its progress; the clear rapport between parents and teachers was truly celebrated. The event was organised by a mother who strongly believes in the global ethos that propels the open-minded culture found within the school. She currently has one student at the school and will soon be enrolling her other children, as well.
This mother, along with a committee of similarly engaged and appreciative parents, wanted to host an event to thank the teachers for their commitment to the students and the community. The teachers were praised for their ability to teach children to take ownership of their ideas and creativity; to help them feel validated, and that they have a voice that deserves to be heard; and to make them accountable for their actions and ideas. One young student I visited with mentioned that her favourite part about the school was that she “never felt bored. There is always something to do, which is really fun.” The students are continually encouraged to investigate and pursue their interests by a devoted staff.
Furthermore, I spoke to several parents who had moved their children to GEMS World Academy-Etoy from other schools because of the whole-child approach to education that is intrinsic to the school. Parents have found that their children thrive in an environment where traditional educational methods are supplemented with technologically rich curriculum and student-driven learning.
The collegial relationship between parents, teachers, and administration, coupled with the enthusiasm and vibrancy of a relatively young school helps GEMS World Academy-Etoy distinguish itself among a pack of similarly excellent academies. The recent addition of a new sports facility will help further characterise the school as forward thinking and well rounded.
Designed by the architects at CCHE Architecture et Design SA in Lausanne, the complex is comprised of a 25-meter swimming pool, a large multi-sport hall (including basketball, netball, handball, badminton, and football courts), a climbing wall, a fitness room and dance studio, as well as locker rooms and areas for spectators. Its sleek design and multisensory approach to fitness and physical education make it prime for young athletes, as well as people outside the school. “There are also allocated times for our staff and parents to use these facilities, as well as local public schools, clubs, associations, and companies,” says the head of school, Audrey Peverelli.
In yet more exciting news for the school, GEMS World Academy-Etoy recently obtained its accreditation as an IB World School, meaning it will now deliver the International Baccalaureate Diploma to all its graduates. This prestigious accomplishment places GEMS World Academy-Etoy among elite schools worldwide and grants its graduates an exceptional education. This degree perfectly complements the school’s existing scholarship program. Peverelli explains that, “families can apply for scholarships by contacting our admissions office who will guide them with the documentation needed. Scholarships are given for merit and achievement in academia, sports, the arts, or for outstanding community and service.”
The reception earlier this spring was a testament to the limitless enthusiasm of the teachers, administration, and parents. The mother who organized the event looked on with hope and excitement for the future. Her favourite quote by Carl Jung can be seen as a mantra by which many of the teachers and administrators operate: “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” It is the shared mission of parents and staff—the fact that each child’s success is what truly matters—that makes a lasting impression.
Article by Kristina Held