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	 The 2015-16 school year started out with Typhoon Soudelor hitting th...
Table of Contents
Teachers 3
Elementary Reflections 4
Secondary Reflections 6
Sports 17
Clubs 18
Academic Achievements 20
The Legend of Taga
A Marianas Legend
Retold by Christian Newman
The Legend of Taga is about a strong man,
named Taga, who ...
G9: World Literature
	 Our overall class goals are to enhance our analytical and
critical th...
Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos
Advanced Placement(AP)Literature and Math:
I believe th...
AP History:
	 One of the important skills that SIS students learn in Advanced Placement
(AP) h...
Art + Math = Fun
	 The 8th grade class mixed art with
math this quarter, and the results were
By: Stephanie Lee(G11)
Mrs. Ayeras teaches Physical Science to
the 8th graders, Bi...
Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos@SaipanGeckos
Instead of just sitting and li...
	 Saipan International School 1 recovered from a
slow start to beat Mt. Carmel School, 25-22, ...
Saipan International School - MP, 96950 @SaipanGeckos #sisgeckos
Clubs: A Great Choice or A Bl...
K5 G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10 G11
National Average S...
International Feast
The SIS Thanksgiving Feast was on the 25th of
November and many people of ...
	 Destino Peru was founded
in 2005 as a language immersion
opportunity for hig...
	 ETC’s are very important to us.
If you own a business on Saipan,...
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The Gecko Echo(selected pages)2015-16


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Selected Pages of the Mid-Year Newsletter created by the teachers and the students of SIS.

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The Gecko Echo(selected pages)2015-16

  1. 1. T H E G E C K O E C H O SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL The 2015-16 school year started out with Typhoon Soudelor hitting the island, but the SIS Geckos didn’t let that hold them back. After pulling together to recover from the storm, we displayed our perseverance by pushing forward with school for three weeks with limited power. Fans and Wifi were all we had, but it was enough for us to continue the distinguished teaching and learning that goes on at SIS. Despite the complications of Soudelor, we were able to establish a remarkable K4/K5 program thanks to the talents of Mrs. Basa and our teacher aides. It really has been a team effort with Ms. Julie doing Movement and Ms. Clarita helping with recess and lunch. The Little Geckos not only are learning the sounds of the alphabet, how to read and write, count, and number sense, but also how to socialize with others regardless of age. By the time the end of the year comes, the K5 students will be well beyond ready for the challenges of 1st Grade. In addition to the Little Geckos, our students are enjoying Art in various grade levels thanks to Ms. Emily Morrell. Hallways are now radiant with stunning artwork of the #sisgeckos. Our Math program is also moving forward thanks to the skills of Ms. Deatrich, who is our new certified math teacher. We are already experiencing significant improvements in our math curriculum and instruction. Off of the incredibly strong showing by SIS Mathletes last year, our program has exploded with more than 40 students competing at the local level. Research suggests that student choice leads to improvements in student efficacy, stronger engagement, and increased student ownership of learning. With that in mind, we renovated the schedule. We inserted the last block club time where students had an opportunity to take control of part of their schedule and engage in a positive social environment where they can explore academic and/or physical interests. Although the clubs are an extra duty for the secondary teachers, they are excited to be able to offer new and interesting opportunities to our students. The clubs have ranged from Chess, to Strength Training. These new opportunities came by removing the AR course scheduled in the secondary, but rest assured that AR lives on through the English curriculum. To date, our students have read 3,162 books (over 15 million words) which is very close to where they were last year. Another first was the inclusion of Yearbook as a class. The new course is going to lead to the first student produced Yearbook under the guidance of Mrs. Bray. Last year with Mrs. Bray working mostly alone, we were able to improve the Yearbook and sell 40 more copies than previous years. With the students actively working to create the Yearbook we will pave a new road for future yearbooks at SIS. Social media has been employed to continuously engage the SIS community through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. This necessary and noteworthy addition not only allows parents to get involved with their child’s education, but also promotes all the great learning that happens on our campus and in the community. Some outstanding successes that we have seen this year include students participating in international tournaments in soccer and tennis. Currently the tradition of dominance by SIS Gecko volleyball is continuing in the CCOPS league, where more than half the teams are from SIS. Our students are placing in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Forensics; plus, we were honored when SIS students won first, second, and third places in the CNMI VFW Patriot’s Pen competition. Needless to say, I am very proud of our students, parents, teachers, and staff. As the Headmaster, once again, I would like to thank the community for the continued support and trust you show by allowing us the honor to educate your children. SIS will continue its commitment to providing a quality education for all students. NOTE FROM THE HEADMASTER School Year 2015-16 MidYear Newsletter Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos1 @SaipanGeckos Tim Bray
  2. 2. Table of Contents Teachers 3 Elementary Reflections 4 Secondary Reflections 6 Sports 17 Clubs 18 Academic Achievements 20 Events 21 Destino Perú 23 ETC 24 Credits 24 SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Saipan International School opened in 1994 with 45 elementary students after a group of parents identified a need for a quality educational program that would foster academic, emotional and social growth. A four-year high school was later added. In 1998, a new four-classroom building was constructed as a new science lab, media center and classroom building. Most recently, a new building, housing grades nine through twelve and a library, was completed in 2008. Presently, SIS enrollment is approximately 200 students from K5-12th grade. HISTORY Saipan International School is a private, non-profit organization that offers instruction in preschool through twelfth grade. Instruction is theme oriented and based on national standards and benchmarks from the United States. SIS is fully accredited through the year 2017 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) from K5 through 12th grade. The school is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students. MISSION AND PHILOSOPHY The mission of SIS is to help each child reach his or her full potential by providing a positive environment that fosters academic, emotional, and social growth. This environment is created when trust, respect, and acceptance are values shared by students, parents, and school staff. Saipan International School is committed to creating an educational environment that affirms a wide variety of learning styles, experiences, skill levels, and interests. SIS also maintains the highest academic standards, and challenges students to perform at the peak of their potential. Each child is encouraged to develop creativity, enhance problem solving and critical thinking skills, and build a feeling of self-worth. Small class sizes, averaging 18 students, give teachers an opportunity to meet the needs of a diverse student population in a secular, nondiscriminatory environment. Students explore multiculturalism both in theory and practice. Our students originate from locations around the world, including the Pacific Islands, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. Daily interactions give knowledge that leads to a deeper appreciation and respect for all people. At SIS, I learned to be confident in my abilities. Through activities like L/D Debate, Destino Peru, volleyball, and Student Council, I learned how to lead, how to write and speak well, and how I shouldn't let any opportunity pass me by. Carpe diem, as a former teacher once told me. All of this created a solid foundation from which I was able to successfully pursue my studies at New York University. Henry Chan (2007), New York University SIS as an institution supported me in everything that I did, from school to volleyball to Lincoln-Douglas debate, and I found that support to be an incredibly profound part of my high school experience. SIS teachers and faculty prepared me for life post-graduation and pushed me to strive for more, giving me the extra push to apply to universities like USC, Middlebury, and Stanford. They wanted me to be the best that I could be, which inspired me to be the best that I could be. I have nothing but love and respect for SIS now, and hope it continues to inspire students as much as it inspired me! Amber Roberts (2012), Stanford University Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos@SaipanGeckos WHAT DO GRADUATES SAY? 2
  3. 3. The Legend of Taga A Marianas Legend Retold by Christian Newman The Legend of Taga is about a strong man, named Taga, who was chased by his father to the end of Guam. When his father caught up with him, Taga jumped from Guam to Rota. His footprints were found on both islands. Years later, when Taga’s wife had babies, he tried to kill the youngest one because he thought that the child would be stronger than him. When he did this, Taga's wife died of a broken heart. Soon one of Taga's daughters killed him, and then she too died of a broken heart just like her mom. The Legend of Sirena Retold by Kyla Park Long ago, there was a girl named Sirena. She loved going swimming in the river. She would spend all day in the water. Then one day, her mom was really busy because the girl's cousin was throwing a huge feast. Sirena's mom told her to help and get breadfruit from her auntie. But instead of listening to her mom, she swam in the river. When she went back home Sirena's mom was so angry that she cursed her to become an ugly fish if she swam in the river again. Sirena, did not listen. She went in the water and swam anyway. Her godmother prayed and said ''Please, please, don't make Sirena into a disgusting, slimy fish''. The spirits heard her prayers. So instead of turning into a fish, Sirena was turned into a mermaid. The Legend of the Warrior Dance A Marianas Legend Retold by William Sosa In the Legend of the Warrior Dance, a Carolinian stick dance, the men dance, jump, and pour coconut oil all over their bodies. These men do traditional slap dances. One dance is called Nemin. It is a dance that chants about a man's love for a woman. Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos 4 @SaipanGeckos Legends are a major part of each culture. These are stories passed down through generations. Stories that make us laugh because of the clever trickster, or even make us sad because of their tragedy. The 3rd Grade students took some time, during the 1st Quarter, to read and learn about the Legends of the Marianas compiled by Bo Flood. As a culminating activity, they created a replica of the illustrations and summarized a well-known legend. Kathy Ruszala G3 ELEMENTARY REFLECTIONS
  4. 4. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 7 G9: World Literature Our overall class goals are to enhance our analytical and critical thinking skills in addition to creatively expressing ourselves through discussing, reading, and writing various forms of literature. We have learned about annotations and started delving deeper into figurative language. We will continue to engage in discussions and activities to further explore themes and other devices in literature. This will help us to gain a deeper understanding of and learn to connect with literature in a new way. Ninth graders have learned about beauty ideals around the world through reading a narrative by Fatema Mernissi, and various articles related to the topic. They have written reflections and essays making connections to the standards set around the world. We have also covered various conflicts and crises around the world. In literature circles, we read stories dealing with crises such as Johnstown Flood by David McCullough, and The Race to Save Apollo 13 by Michael Useem. We analyzed these stories by identifying themes, author's purpose, and figurative language. We then extended these lessons by not only writing our own fictional stories dealing with crisis but also creating games based on these stories. The students are now learning about conflict in Afghanistan, researching famed Afghani author Khaled Hosseini, and reading his novel, The Kite Runner. Students have created literary blogs exhibiting opinions of, and connections to literature they read both in and out of class. G10: American Literature: This course is broken into units based on time period. We started with Native American myths and narratives and Explorer narratives. After reading and research on what it was like to live in the precolonial and early colonial periods, we wrote short stories (historical fiction) from the perspective of someone alive in that era. Students worked in literature circles as they analyzed stories, worked on various activities and gave presentations. After that, we moved on to Puritanism. We delved into studies on the lifestyle and beliefs of Puritans and read poetry and biographical articles on famous Puritan writers. We used our annotations to help guide us through the connotations and figurative language found in Puritan literature. We created archaic language and inverted syntax charts to help us understand the language used. We are currently reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is part of American Romanticism. We have divided our notebooks into vocabulary, journal, and note taking sections in order to help stay organized. All students are learning to not only analyze stories, but also to make inferences, draw conclusions, identify purpose, use context clues, and make predictions. We answer journal prompts every day, which helps us gain further insight and think critically as we read this classic novel. We are currently holding two Scarlet Letter related debates. One debate is focused on the characters' actions and inferences we make based on those actions. Students refute or support that Chillingworth's sin is worse than Dimmesdale's (two characters).The second debate topic is based on the public humiliation the main character, Hester, faces throughout the novel. Students must debate whether public humiliation is appropriate. Shirice Bevas English
  5. 5. Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos 8 @SaipanGeckos Advanced Placement(AP)Literature and Math: I believe that good teachers are intentional teachers and good students are intentional learners. Everything that we learn and do has specific goals. For example, in my AP English Language and Composition class, students will be given very specific composition goals. In the first quarter students will be given handouts and workshops to master "precis" writing, in the second quarter "connecting rhetoric to meaning" writing, in the third quarter "synthesis" essays, etc. All the writing assignments will b e accompanied by model composition handouts and classroom discussion. These pieces, when completed, will help students to write meaningful and coherent essays in May. Another thing that I try to do is to prepare students for reality. Students are given "real" AP questions every Thursday and Friday, and we discuss the questions and answers right after the test. The questions are extremely difficult, but my students are not surprised by the real AP test in May. Practice does not make perfect, but practice does make students ready. Ingur Lee Literature/ Math SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL The Lightning And The Lightning Bug Article by Kye Tamm(G11) People say you can tell a lot about a person from their favorite quote. Written on the board of Mr. Lee's classroom is a quote from Mark Twain: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” From this quote, one can assert that Mr. Lee is, most definitely, the kind of man who'd take teaching – and his students – very earnestly. But he is also a student of his own, at heart, stating, “I am a student because I enjoy learning, and I am a teacher because I enjoy learning with others.” Mr. Lee is what some students may call a rare gem, for it is his engaging attitude and charming aura that transform the classes he teaches into something intriguing and challenging. He has been teaching for 25 years now, both in MBA and in SIS, and, according to him, “10 years at SIS says something about all my students.” He thoroughly enjoys both the faculty and the students who fill his classroom with innovative ideas and interesting views on distinct topics. The students have also been known to respond to his activities with bright faces, for he teaches in a way that entices his students, submerging them in his activities and stories. He often relates problems to real-life situations, which gives students, who are constantly questioning the relevancy of school in general, a sense of accomplishment. Although his classes are indeed challenging, Mr. Lee offers extra credit to improve a student's grade, given that they complete a particular assignment. Most times the assignment relates to the course and helps the student improve the subject matter, which, in turn, will help the student in future tests and quizzes. For 10 years now, Mr. Lee has been teaching AP Statistics, AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature to the juniors and seniors of SIS. He is believed to be one of the first teachers on Saipan to adopt an AP curriculum. He stated, “Marianas Baptist Academy was the first school to adopt AP into her college-prep curriculum, and I was a part of that decision since I taught at MBA at the time.” To him, AP classes are “more than honors classes in that in order to have AP, the school needs to have a vertical curriculum that extends to middle school classrooms,” which SIS provides, and he states AP classes are also “valuable because they not only prepare students for college, but also give them an impression of what college classes are like.” To this he adds a cheeky, “and can also give them easy credits.” Recalling a memory of when I sat in his class, listening to one of his lectures, he spoke to us of what being a good teacher meant to him. It is a common belief to think students' test results are the key determinant to identifying a good teacher. But, to Mr. Lee, it is how well his students do after they graduate from college, and step into the terrible realities of the real world, that determines his ability. That, he states, is when he rates his worth.
  6. 6. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AP History: One of the important skills that SIS students learn in Advanced Placement (AP) history courses is how to analyze and synthesize historical documents in order to create an effective essay for a document-based question (DBQ). DBQ essays require the sort of higher-level thinking skills that SIS students will need in college. Each one of the AP courses I teach (AP United States History, AP European History, and AP World History) requires students to write a DBQ essay on the national exam, which is administered each May. In each of those courses, therefore, we spend a great deal of time discussing and writing DBQ essays, along with traditional essays, which also appear on the May exams. A document-based question is what it sounds like: it is an essay item that is partly based on a set of historical documents that are provided to the students along with an essay prompt. The documents may include photographs, diagrams, maps, charts, tables, editorial cartoons, personal letters, or excerpts from historical documents such as treaties or Supreme Court rulings. The number of documents can range from half a dozen to a dozen, depending upon the AP course. Some of the documents may be rather simple and straightforward, while others may be more complex or require high-level historical interpretation skills. In all cases the student is asked to correctly interpret, analyze, and synthesize the documents, along with other relevant historical information not provided to them in the essay but learned in the course. If done well, the result is a comprehensive analytical essay that incorporates the documents and other information to address the essay topic. Historical analysis and synthesis require higher-level reasoning skills, and high school students who are adept at those skills are usually well prepared for the rigorous coursework offered at American colleges and universities. Although many SIS students find DBQ essays stressful, after writing a few of them they typically feel much more comfortable, and they begin to view them not as forms of intellectual torture, but as intellectually challenging tasks that allow students considerable latitude to create an essay that reflects not only their knowledge of the topic, but also their own interpretations and opinions. Keith Tessen History Putting the “T” in History, By Natalie Hardt(G11) A good teacher is one who instills a desire to succeed and learn; they care about their students and make each person feel unique. They don’t need to resort to theatrics in order to get the students interested in the subject matter; yet they motivate them to want to learn more and flourish. Mr. Tessen fits all these criteria and much more. Mr. Tessen has been teaching AP History courses at SIS for 11 years and has become an integral part of our school. These courses include American History, European History, and World History being taught to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, respectively. The classes are, obviously, very difficult, but Mr. Tessen manages to make even the most boring sections somewhat interesting. In discussing how he tries to achieve this, Mr. Tessen said, “I look for seemingly insignificant facts or events concerning the topic at hand and try to show how what might seem insignificant can teach us a whole lot about an event or a person or a place.” He has expressed clearly how positively he feels about his students, calling them the “kindest, most thoughtful group of teenagers in the history of the universe.” These AP courses, along with those taught by Mr. Lee, are also relevant to the students’ futures. Those who put in the effort and succeed in these advanced courses have a greater chance of getting accepted into top colleges and receiving better financial aid offers. Receiving qualifying scores on the cumulative May exams can allow students to test out of the equivalent classes in college, saving them and their families tens of thousands of dollars. Mr. Tessen also pointed out that “these courses can also instill a love of history, politics, and comparative societies.” When people reflect on their high school days, the memories that are often mentioned are the school dances and the ball games that were won. It is a true accomplishment on the part of a teacher if twenty years down the line, their history class is remembered fondly for the good memories it elicits. Mr. Tessen is one such amazing teacher who will join those ranks. 9
  7. 7. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Art + Math = Fun The 8th grade class mixed art with math this quarter, and the results were fantastic! In order to help us more deeply and fully understand the concept of symmetry, Ms. Deatrich assigned a fun and creative project. Every student was required to make a symmetrical drawing, meaning that if you drew a line through the center of the design, both sides would be identical. To prepare, each of us had to take 5 pictures of things that have symmetry, and sketch 5 symmetrical objects. We then brainstormed, and looked to both each other, and the internet for inspiration. The project took almost two weeks and we all wanted to incorporate our artistic skills and mathematical abilities to create a piece that we would be proud of. "I thought that the project was fun, and we learned a lot”, said Hannah Chan, an 8th grade student, and I definitely agree with her. The assignment was the most fun that I have ever had in a math class and definitely helped me to understand the precision and accuracy that symmetry requires. I enjoyed this assignment very much, and look forward to doing more of these creative projects in the near future! By: Shea Hartig(G8) Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos 10 @SaipanGeckos Kacey Deatrich Math/Physics
  8. 8. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 11 SCIENCES By: Stephanie Lee(G11) Mrs. Ayeras teaches Physical Science to the 8th graders, Biology to the freshmen, Marine Biology to the sophomores, and Chemistry to the juniors. She is also the homeroom teacher for the sophomores. When asked why she teaches science- related subjects and what she likes about teaching those subjects, Mrs. A. answered, “Science interestingly allows me to create art while doing something with my hands. Also, it’s a class that can wake up kids from boring lectures by performing different types of lab experiments related to science. The sparks of curiosity and interest return to the kids.” I asked Mrs. A about the benefits of her teaching. “I myself learn more about the subjects I teach at the same time. In my time, we didn’t have technology the students nowadays enjoy. So as I teach them the traditional way, I myself learn new approaches. I love it when the students go home to their parents and give either positive or negative feedback to their parents.” Mrs. A writes all the assignments the students are required to do in a very orderly and neat fashion, so her students won’t get confused when the assignment is due, and what the homework even is. Skimming her whiteboard, I asked about the “Rocket Project”. The 8th graders were assigned to design 3 different types of rockets with ordinary materials and were required to test them and record the outcomes. Ms. A further explained the 8th grade rocket-blast project, “Everyone has the general idea of how rockets work, but don’t dare to experiment by using other easily-accessible materials. This makes the concept a little closer to our world by using daily objects; it’s not actually inventing, but it’s an innovation. We designed the rocket’s propulsion by using a film canister, balloon, and straw. I like to teach with experiments instead of restricting only to the textbooks and connection in real life, like food, like we did in the sophomore class.” Isaac Jang, a sophomore, said of the use of food for education, “Mrs. A has the ability to make people laugh and cry. She is a wonderful teacher that I love spending time with. She’s so funny. We (our class) just had a Seaweed Festival. Learning is much more exciting when there’s food, like sushi.” Marifi Ayeras Science/ Chemistry
  9. 9. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos@SaipanGeckos Instead of just sitting and listening to the teacher’s lecture, the students in Chinese class have a much more interesting and active class. The Chinese course includes two parts: the Rosetta Stone program, which is great for immersion into a foreign language and culture; and Mrs. Jang’s lectures, exams, and other communication activities which teach the class enough Chinese to raise our Mandarin level. In addition, Mrs. Jang is a very understanding and considerate teacher who strives to fit our senior year schedule. Rosetta Stone not only teaches us new vocabulary words and basic grammatical rules related to daily life, it also lets students practice the pronunciations of various words. After finishing the Rosetta Stone lessons, Mrs. Jang regularly makes the class talk in Chinese using terms learned through the Rosetta Stone program, and she kindly helps everyone with their grammar and pronunciation. The combination of the Rosetta Stone program and Mrs. Jang’s assistance and teaching skills present a unique chance to develop Chinese speaking skills. She also administers practice for each lesson, which helps us check what we know. All of the material is pulled directly from the program, so we can go back to practice what was missed. Chinese class is also unique and enjoyable because we are able to experience Chinese culture as well. Last semester, students went to Four Seasons, a Chinese restaurant. It was the first time many of us had northern Chinese cuisine, and at the restaurant we learned how to make dumplings. It was such a great experience! This trip allowed us to gain an understanding between the northern and southern style cuisines. Mrs. Jang also taught us about the similarities and differences between China and Korea in class, especially with regard to language. For example, there is a word in Chinese, “ (nin),” that has a Korean counterpart which refers to elders. The ability to learn about China through these teaching methods, coupled with the fact that the seniors in the Chinese class are all friendly and respectful, goes to show how important and entertaining Chinese class is within our curriculum. Chinese class at Saipan International School not only teaches students how to learn both independently and dependently, it also touches on some aspects of Chinese culture and language. Mrs. Jang is such a wonderful teacher who always answers our questions with detailed explanations and helps us work on our developing pronunciation of various Chinese words. , ! (Thank you, teacher Jang) By: Minjin Jang & Quintin Ramsey(G12) Chinese 13 Celia Jang Mandarin / Music
  10. 10. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Saipan International School 1 recovered from a slow start to beat Mt. Carmel School, 25-22, 25-13, in their title match in the boys high school division of the 2015-2016 Coalition of Private Schools Sports Association Volleyball League yesterday at the Geckos’ court in As Lito. The Geckos fell behind early, 3-11, before rallying back in the first set. Then in the second set it pulled away after MCS knotted the count at 5-all to clinch the division championship. The Knights enjoyed the 8-point advantage in the opening set behind the booming spikes of Seok Jun Yun, who also drew some help from Quinn Amog, while SIS 1 could not get their offense going, starting out flat in its home turf. Sensing trouble, SIS 1 coach Mychal Omar sued for time and told his boys to hit down the line, just like that they did against GCA in the semifinals, going for the spikes outside the Knights’ blockers and looking for open space at the back line. When the game resumed, SIS outscored MCS, 13-4, to force a deadlock, 15-all. Luther Lizama had several points in the rally off his spikes and on a few occasions also tricked the Knights blockers with his dinks. Credit also went to Allen Cepeda and Colin Ramsey, who set up Lizama for those spikes. After the first standoff, the opposing teams went back and forth in the ensuing plays with the set tied for the last time at 19-all after SIS blockers foiled a spike from Amog. Another SIS block—against the lanky Yun—gave the Geckos the lead and they moved within two points from wrapping up the set after a dink from Colin Ramsey, 23-20. However, two errors from SIS—Allen’s short service and Lizama’s wide spike—kept the Knights’ hopes alive, 22-23. Amog then tried to knot the count with a spike, but was blocked by Daniel Lim. Lim served for the game point with the ball dropping to the right back corner of MCS’ court and two Knights players struggling for the dig. The Knight failed to return the ball after three touches with the third shot hitting the net. Article from Saipan Tribune, Dec. 4, 2015.(To read more, scan the QR code above) HS BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL Saipan International School avoided another bridesmaid finish after outlasting Grace Christian Academy in a three-set finale, 25-18, 13-25, 15-6, in the middle school division of the 2015-2016 Coalition of Private Schools Sports Association Volleyball League last Friday at the Whispering Palms court. The Geckos, who lost to Mt. Carmel School last season, gained enough cushion against an erratic Eagles team in the early part of the deciding third set and kept their momentum, despite a nearly 20-minute lull in the finals due to rain, to bag this year’s middle school championship. Article from Saipan Tribune, Dec. 7, 2015.(To read more, scan the QR code on the left) 17 MS VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONS
  11. 11. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Saipan International School - MP, 96950 @SaipanGeckos #sisgeckos Clubs: A Great Choice or A Blunder By: Stephanie Lee(G11) Clubs were added this year for the students of SIS to enjoy, for the first time, “elective” classes. The different classes are similar to extra-curricular activities – they enable students to learn in depth what students enjoy and love. This is a list of current clubs at SIS and several quotes from the club members describing the clubs: American Math Challenge:“We sit down and solve math problems,” Minha (G11) answered when asked about the club. Michael (G9) explained, “We solve 15 to 30 extremely difficult questions every day, then our coach comes and asks us how many questions we were able to solve, and gives step-by-step solutions.” Art: “Having to release our creativity in school time is a great idea. We learn new artistic skills every time we go. The club is very cool and peaceful for one to concentrate and depict what is in one’s mind,” Kye (G11) described the perks of being a member of art club. Basketball: “We play basketball and do drills,” Seung Mock (G8) answered, “School stress disappears after the club,” Jieer (G11) added, “We get to know other graders, and we basically have fun with one another.” Calligraphy: Matthew (G6) explained, “Calligraphy is a very relaxed club, and is also very fun and benefits you in an educational way by writing in Chinese characters.” Cardstock Architecture & Engineering: “Without this club, I would have never known I could make so many things out of cardstock,” Michael(G10) answered. College Essay: Mr. Bray, the advisor, described the advantages of the college essay club: “The purpose of the club is to help the seniors to write better, edited college essays. Because the college essay became a club from what it was a class before, it lessens the pressure from the seniors, because it is not graded. Also, preparing for college in school time is an advantage for the SIS seniors.” Allen (G12) explained, “We write essays not for fun, but we write essays a ton.” Lu (G12) said, “All the seniors write our college essays, give them to Mr. Bray for him to edit, and then we send it to Mr. Tessen, then he will at least read it twice, and then we send it to the colleges.” Chess: “The chess club atmosphere is not like any other clubs. All the members are serious to play, and hopefully win. But the seriousness is not at all choking, still some jokes go around,” Daniel (G11) noted. Jason (G11) added, “Board games are actually fun, it’s no less than some of the video games. I’m getting addicted to chess.” The 2015 champion of this club, Myung Jae (G11) said, “It’s the most fun club. Allows us to see a step forward of our opponents’ moves.” Film: “We are assigned projects and formulate our own ideas within certain boundaries. It is fun to do and gives us a challenge to create new films. Our last project was a silent movie. It was really fun,” Colin (G11) said. Juliana (G11) added to the praise, “I love film club. It’s interesting to make our own movies and direct.” Kery (G11) said, “I enjoy making our own movies, and getting a chance to show our creativity in a film.” 18 CLUBS
  12. 12. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS 0 45 90 135 180 K5 G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10 G11 National Average Score SIS Score This fall the SAT 10 Reading test results came and we are proud o f # s i s g e c k o s a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s . These scores once a g a i n s h o w t h e outstanding academic abilities of our Geckos. SAT 10 Reading Results Where are #sisgeckos of Class of 2014-15? 20 0 25 50 75 100 K5 G2 G4 G6 G8 G10 Percentage above 50th percentile SIS Math results s h o w t h e percent of the SIS students who are above t h e 5 0 t h percentile, that is the average. SAT 10 Math Results US Korea China Japan Philippines Others Demographics of SIS for SY 2015-16 Nicole Arenovski, University of Nevada, Reno Hatsuko Bearden, Norwich University Chris Cepeda, University of Hawaii Victoria Chentsova, Williams College William Fong, Santa Clara University Phalai Frink, University of Portland Da Hae Han. University of Portland Andrew Johnson, California Polytechnic State University Jehn Joyner, University of San Francisco Hwan Ho Kim, Suny: Stony Brook University Nam Ki Kim, University of Portland Yong Kwang Kim, Hong Kong Polytechnic University Yuta Kitami, University of Hawaii at Manoa Byung Chan Lee, Korean University Seoung Hyun Lee, Northern Marianas College Chris Park, University of Portland Tiana Ranjo, Temple University in Tokyo, Japan Sophia Tenorio, University of Washington Lynette Vasquez, Lynn University Yuqing Xing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Jiabao Xu, Northern Marianas College Li Zhou Xu, Northern Marianas College Fusheng Yang, University of Massachusetts Jiny Yang, Union College Minori Yoshida, Barnard College Joey Nigh, Providence University, Taichung Life as A Senior Decide on a college? Check. Make the housing deposit? Check. Pass the final semester? Uhhh...
 It’s finally May, the month that all Seniors are waiting for – and dreading. May is when our glorious graduation countdown begins, as well as the month that AP exams, major papers, and final assessments decide to show up all together. In short, May is our juxtaposition of euphoria and chaos. From the moment I wake up in the morning, I freak out about the amount of homework I’ve received from teachers, whether or not I should study more for AP exams, and when my Housing Application will be available. However, I also get ecstatic over the fact that I’m a day closer to graduating from high school and the fact that I’m going to be on my own in a very different area! May, for Seniors, is full of stress and excitement – but it also reveals the heartbreaking concept that we are finally grown-ups pursuing our own individual paths once high school is over. And that day of bittersweet freedom, in the words of Headmaster Mr. Bray, “is not very far”. BY: Minori Yoshida, Class of 2015
  13. 13. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL International Feast The SIS Thanksgiving Feast was on the 25th of November and many people of the SIS community worked hard to make the feast a memorable one. SIS had many kiosks set up separately by nationality, and had most of the food representing Asian cultures. This Thanksgiving, just like any Thanksgiving, reminded us that it's important to know what you're thankful for. This is exactly what I asked our headmaster Mr. Bray. He responded as fast as I finished the question answering, “I'm thankful for the support of all the families we have here at SIS because without them, we’d have a very hard time getting by.” When questioned about the reasoning behind having this SIS feast, Mr. Bray responded, “Everyone will celebrate their different ethnicities that make up SIS. We plan to have many ethnic groups present from different nationalities, and maybe some costumes.” The purpose of the SIS Thanksgiving festival is to celebrate the different ethnicities that make up the SIS community and to give thanks to anything you have in life, such as family and friends. Although Thanksgiving may not be a holiday in most countries outside the US, SIS connects its students to this important holiday. No matter what country you're from, you should always be thankful for what you have in your life. -By John Stewart(G12) Saipan International School - MP, 96950 #sisgeckos 22 @SaipanGeckos CELEBRATING DIVERSITY
  14. 14. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL DESTINO PERU 23 Destino Peru was founded in 2005 as a language immersion opportunity for high school students taking Spanish. Since then, the trip  has evolved, shifting its focus from language- learning to the exploration of the cultural, historical, natural, and economic reality of Peru. The result is a learning adventure that would simply be impossible to replicate in a classroom with even the most cutting-edge educational media. 
 In conjunction with this exploration, we strive to inculcate in our young visitors t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h a t responsible traveling means giving as much as one takes. Over the years, visiting students have given their time and energy to a number of community programs and service providers, including children’s hospitals, orphanages, and nursing homes. The work we do in Peru is valuable, impacting and life- c h a n g i n g fo r o u r y o u n g travelers.  Peru is a beautiful country, one that holds one of the eight man-made wonders of the world —Machu Picchu.  Its life is rich, varied, and cosmopolitan.  During this trip the students visit Lima (the capital), Cusco (the Inca City), Nasca (the mysterious lines), Colca (one of the deepest canyons in the world), and Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world). Although Destino Peru takes a full year of preparation, when t h e s t u d e n t s return and they s h a r e t h e i r “most amazing t r i p a n d experience”, it gives me the m o s t v a l u a b l e incentive to prepare the next one. Mili Saiki What do #sisgeckos think? "Destino Peru was one of the formative experiences of my teenage years. I still use the Spanish that I learned there in my work as an immigration attorney, and can't wait to return to Arequipa someday!" Carolina Lochabay, DP, 2005 and DP, 2007 --- "Destino Peru is a very good experience. I encourage everyone else to take a part in. Go there, you will see why." Daniel Lim, DP, 2013 --- "Destino Peru was the most unique and amazing trip I have been on so far. It is definitely one that I will never forget and one that I encourage everyone to take a part in." Quintin Ramsey, DP, 2013
  15. 15. SAIPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL EDUCATIONAL TAX CREDIT(ETC) ETC’s are very important to us. If you own a business on Saipan, you have an opportunity to directly help any school on the island through Public Law 10-73. Please consider giving your ETC to SIS to help purchase new books, materials and technology for our students. 1. Write a check to SIS for between $10 and $5,000. 2. SIS will give you a receipt. 3. Attach the receipt to your monthly or yearly tax return. SIS is one of only a few schools on Saipan that operate without regular funding from a religious or corporate organization. Please help continue the SIS tradition of excellence in education. Donate if you can or kindly help spread the word about ETC donations to friends with businesses. Please contact Mr. Bray or the office should you need more information. We have ETC information p a c k e t s i n E n g l i s h , K o r e a n , J a p a n e s e , Chinese and Russian. ACA Corporation AIC Marianas, Inc. Bank Pacific Ben’s International Corporation Berline and Associates LLC BFJ Corporation City Trust Bank Commonwealth Industrial Supply Co., Inc. Danbi Choi LLC Ginen Saipan J & H Co.Ltd. Joong Ang, Co. Ltd.- Judy’s JP World Corporation Jung Ja Kim L & F Incorporated Law Office of Bruce Berline Law Office of Sean Frink To watch SIS Video, you may scan the QR Code on the right. To visit SIS homepage and get an application form you may scan the QR Code on the right. To visit our Facebook page you may scan the QR Code on the right. This newsletter was brought to you by the efforts of the students and teachers of SIS. Special thanks go to Mrs. Aysem Bray, who dedicated her time to create our first and second The Gecko Echo Newsletter and Mr. Tessen who edited this edition. CREDITS 1. Get your smart phone out. 2. Find an application called QR Code Reader and download the app for free to your smart phone. 3. Once the download is finished, open the app and scan the QR Code you see in this newsletter. You will be directed to the webpages, youtube videos, and many more items of interest. No more typing long web addresses into your computer and finding out that you made a tiny mistake and you need to retype the whole address. You now have QR Codes all over. Simple, fast, and secure! S a i p a n I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l A s L i t o R o a d , P O B o x . 5 0 3 1 2 1 T e l : 6 7 0 - 2 8 8 9 6 6 0 LeeAhn Investments Minori Saipan Corp. Modern Stationary & Trading Co., Inc. Pacific Fertility Institute, Inc. Quincy Corp. Salty Saipan Corp. San Vicente Estates, Inc. Seashore, Inc. So-in Corporation The Insurance Service Group Tripple J Saipan, Inc. UMDA Wholesale/Retail, Inc. Smile Marianas Victoria Vaughan Wing Corporation Winners Life, Inc. and ZhongWang International Trading And a big thank you goes to: You are on our Honor Roll! How do these funny shapes work?