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ES Weekly Bulletin | March 9, 2018
Posted 03/09/2018 03:00PM

All the world's a stage.

– William Shakespeare

It is said that an organization’s culture is like an iceberg, where what is not visible is much greater than what can be seen. Above the surface are behaviour and practices; below, down in the depths, are values and beliefs. “The way we do things around here” is the result of those hidden and powerful ideals and principles.

We have all heard that “beauty” is one of those values that lies at the foundation of the culture at TASIS. Mrs. Fleming spoke of it often, and former headmaster Lyle Rigg’s The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming contains a whole chapter of her quotes on the topic. As we consider the graceful architecture and lovely setting of the campus, the (generally) courteous conduct of the students along with the (mostly) warm relationships in our community, and the style and splendour of the major school-wide events like the commencement ceremony, we can see that beauty is not just a “nice-to-have” characteristic but a more essential and intrinsic quality of our culture.

Why is that? Why did Mrs. Fleming believe that beauty was so indispensable? I recently came across a statement that suggests a possible answer. I found this hint in Cosmos and Psyche, a work of intellectual history by Richard Tarnas. This book is a sequel to his equally magisterial and probably more accessible The Passion of the Western Mind, which is a textbook in university humanities classes throughout the USA and from which I have used selections in my Senior Humanities and Theory of Knowledge classes over the years.

After Tarnas says in the conclusion of Cosmos and Psyche that he believes “that our intellectual quest for truth can never be separated from the cultivation of our moral and aesthetic imagination,” which in itself is a mighty chunk of our cultural iceberg at TASIS, he says the following:

“A fundamental yet virtually unexamined issue in cosmology today is the question of whether all beauty in the universe is merely a random product of blind evolution and subjective circumstance or whether that beauty is in some sense significant and intentional, an expression of something more ensouled, more profound, intelligently relational, mysterious.”

The idea here is so grand and strange that it is hard to take in. It seems to be proposing that there is not only an intelligible order to things and a discernible purpose in events but also a boundless beauty at the hidden heart of reality. It seems to be saying that beauty matters in our surroundings and lives because it really matters. I admit that Mrs. Fleming never said anything quite like this, yet I think that only such a deep conviction explains the importance of beauty at TASIS.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote that behind all our experience and existence is “an abyss of light.” It seems that Mrs. Fleming was committed to an idea that probably appears just as outlandish to many people today. Yet it is ideas like this that distinguish TASIS from many other fine schools. There are a number of values and beliefs that go way down in the culture at TASIS, but at the bottom is Beauty.

– David Jepson, Director of Studies (TASIS Switzerland and TASIS England)

Upcoming Events

Friday, March 16 Easter Egg Hunt at Focolare (shhh…it’s a surprise)
Saturday, March 17 Easter Egg Hunt • 10:30–12:00, Hadsall
Easter Family Brunch • 12:00–13:30, De Nobili Dining Hall
TPA Used Uniform Sale • 10:30–12:30, Hadsall Playground
Usborne Book Fair • 9:30–15:30, Hadsall Dining Room
March 24—April 8 Spring Break
Friday, April 13–Sunday, April 15 HS Spring Musical
Friday, April 13 Focolare Open House: 9:00–11:00
Wednesday, April 18 ES Parent Coffee for 2018–19 students entering grades 2–5 • 8:30, Casa Fleming

Saturday, April 21

TPA Spring Gala: Building the Future
Wednesday, May 16 ES Parent Coffee for 2018–19 students entering grade 1 • 8:30, Focolare
Thursday, May 17–Sunday, May 20
Spring Arts Festival


Upcoming TPA Events

The Focolare Egg Hunt and Easter Surprise will take place at Focolare during school on Friday, March 16. We are looking for five volunteers to help out in Focolare at 14:10. Please contact Brunella Pignaton if you’d like to be involved.

The ES Easter Egg Hunt will be held at Hadsall on Saturday, March 17, from 10:30–12:00. All ES students (including those at Focolare) are welcome to enjoy this fun annual event. We are also looking for five volunteers to help out at the Egg Hunt. Please send an email to if you’d like to volunteer.

A Family Easter Lunch will follow the Easter Egg Hunt in De Nobili from 12:00–13:30. Parents are asked to bring some desserts to the lunch, and we are looking for three volunteers to serve desserts in De Nobili. Please send an email to if you’d like to help out.

  • If you plan to come to the Family Easter Lunch, please confirm your attendance by sending an email to your room room parent by March 12. Please state how many people will be in your party so that we know how many guests to prepare for.

There will also be a Used Uniform Sale in Hadsall during the Easter Egg Hunt. We are looking for three volunteers. Please email if you’d like to help.

The ES Used Book Sharing Fair has been postponed until May. Details to follow.

Usborne Book Fair in Hadsall Dining Room on March 17

Open House at Focolare on April 13

We will host an Open House at Al Focolare on Friday, April 13, from 9:00 to 11:00. All are welcome to come and learn more about the TASIS Early Childhood Program, which beginning in the fall of 2018 will include an expanded Pre-Kindergarten program for students as young as age three.

The Open House program will begin promptly at 9:00 AM and will include the following elements:

  • Welcome from Christopher Nikoloff, TASIS Headmaster
  • Description of the Pre-Kindergarten 3-year-old and 4-year-old programs from Carol Hinchliff, Early Childhood Coordinator
  • Highlights of the TASIS Elementary School program from Theresa Cullen Hill, Head of Elementary School
  • Highlights of the Italian Section from Guia Berera, Elementary School Assistant Head and Italian Section Coordinator
  • Tour of Al Focolare facilities
  • Tour of main TASIS campus

Questions about the Open House or general inquiries about TASIS may be directed to the Admissions Office at or +41 91 960 51 51.

Upcoming ES Parent Coffees: Understanding Our New 2018–2019 Schedule

  • April 18 for students entering grades 2–5 • 8:30, Casa Fleming
  • May 16 for students entering grade 1 • 8:30, Focolare

Parents, please save the dates to meet with ES Head Theresa Cullen Hill and ES Assistant Head and Italian Section Coordinator Guia Berera to learn about next year’s combined homerooms (and other changes to the academic program). These coffees will help to answer any questions and review next year’s schedule.

ES-MS Transition on April 18

Parents of students in grade 5 are invited to attend Middle School classes on Wednesday, April 18. Details will be shared in the coming weeks.

Carnevale Presentation in the Palmer Center

Elementary School students in grades 2–5 had the pleasure of learning from our very talented HS Theater Director Valerie Bijur Carlson during our Carnevale Assembly on Friday, February 23.

Ms. Carlson presented the Commedia dell’arte and introduced this theater art to our students using masks and props, as the tradition began in Venice many years ago. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about the origins of Carnevale and some of the most significant historical figures.

Save the Date: Just for Grade 5

  • Shadow Day for 5th-grade students • Tuesday, April 17, from 8:00–14:15
  • Pizza & Movie Night for 5th-grade students • Tuesday, May 1, from 16:00–18:45 in the Belvedere Salon

IB Visual Arts Final Exhibition Opens Today

All members of the TASIS community and the general public are cordially invited to join us in the Palestrina and Ferit ┼×ahenk Fine Arts Center to celebrate the IB Visual Arts Final Exhibition beginning this afternoon at 16:00. Come and enjoy some refreshments while discovering what 17 of our senior artists and designers have been up to in the studio over the last two years.

The exhibition will also be open on Saturday from 12:30–18:30 and on Sunday from 10:30–18:30.

Reserve Your Seats for the HS Spring Musical: Annie Get Your Gun

Annie Oakley is the best shot in Darke County, Ohio, and she manages to support her little brother and sisters by selling the game she hunts. When she's discovered at a shooting contest, Col. Buffalo Bill persuades her to join his Wild West Show (“There’s No Business Like Show Business”). It only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for dashing Frank Butler, who headlines the show. She soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction, which, while good for business, is bad for romance (“Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”). Butler hightails it to join a rival show, his bruised male ego leading the way, but is ultimately pitted against Annie in a final shoot-out. While highly fictionalized, the musical pays affectionate and humorous tribute to the real-life stars of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the love match (as well as the shooting match!) of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler.

Annie Get Your Gun will premiere in the Palmer Center on Friday, April 13, at 19:30. Two additional shows will be performed on Saturday, April 14, at 19:30 and a matinee performance on Sunday, April 15, at 14:30.

To reserve seats or learn more about the show, visit

More Upcoming Cultural Events at TASIS

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