International Week is a treasured annual tradition at TASIS The American School in Switzerland, and Headmaster Mr. Christopher Nikoloff opened this year’s festivities at an all-school assembly on the morning of February 10 by sharing the inspirational words Founder M. Crist Fleming wrote in a letter to alumni in 2001: “I want to believe as I age that the dynamic of TASIS will go on forever—that it will continue to bring young people of the world together with a shared vision that the world is really one big family, that no matter what our color, race, or creed, we are all part of the human species, we are all human beings. All we need to bring us together is education, education to give us freedom from poverty, disease, and war. It sounds like a tall order, but through education it can be achieved, and TASIS must take the lead.”
“I would like to say to you today that you are the community that Mrs. Fleming envisioned,” continued Mr. Nikoloff. “You are the dynamic that she wished to go on forever, bringing together young people from around the world to share in the common values we have as humans—such as those inscribed over our library—together with the common goal of improving the world through education through a focused bettering of ourselves so that we may bring good to the world.” He closed by describing International Week as both a celebration and an affirmation of these values.
Mr. Nikoloff then called Giulia de Cristofaro ’19 and Eduardo Vasino ’24 to the podium to kick off the 62-nation Parade of Flags, which opened with Albania and concluded with a proud Venezuelan contingent 14 minutes later.
IB Theatre students then took center stage and delivered an engaging presentation that sought to provide context to TASIS’s position in the world as a truly “international” school.
The annual presentation of Torch Awards, which are granted to one student in each grade who embodies cross-cultural understanding and makes a significant effort to reach out to students from other countries and cultures, was led by Lower School Head Mr. Tim Fitzgerald, Middle School Dean of Student Affairs Ms. MJ Breton, and High School Dean of Students Mr. KC McKee. This year’s recipients were Ulyana Smyslova (Pre-Kindergarten), Keira Pavlinger (Kindergarten), Nicole Unzeitig (grade one), Aron Colombo (grade two), Rafaela Mendes Andrade (grade three), Maria Sole Agostinini (grade four), Levi Gras (grade five), Alessia Primo (grade six), Kyla Bodnar (grade seven), Benji Palacios (grade eight), Helga Gradeci (grade nine), Anastasia Besanidou (grade 10), Kelly Zhao (grade 11), and Omar Rahal (grade 12).
Sprinkled throughout the Opening Ceremony were a number of excellent music and dance performances, all of which can be seen in the clip below. Vocalists from the Elementary School, Middle School, and High School Choirs performed Beyonce/Diane Warren’s “I Was Here,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and Chawki’s “Time of Our Lives” under the direction of High School Choir Director Ms. Samantha Forrest, Middle School Choir Director Ms. Yara Rubb, and Elementary School Choir Director Ms. Melody Tibbits Zanecchia. The Varsity High School Cheerleading team, guided by Ms. Natalie Philpot and Ms. Borana Sarcevic, performed a dance routine called “Level Up!” before Mr. Nikoloff returned to the podium to thank International Week Coordinator Ms. Eleonora Pinton for all her organizational efforts and wish everyone a wonderful week.
International Week photo galleries can be found in this SmugMug folder.
Nations represented in the 2020 Parade of Flags