Monday, June 17, 2013

Preschool Promotion

The 2012-2013 school year at KIS is soon coming to an end. Graduates are now preparing for college, 8th graders for secondary school, 5th graders for middle school, and preschoolers are not an exception. They are preparing for elementary school!

On May 31st, Preschool Promotion was held in the Multipurpose Room under the direction of Ms. Dubose, Ms. Katya, and Ms. Laura. The morning was filled with dances and songs carried out by the youngsters. The audience was filled with proud parents, as the students received professional, adult-like diplomas.

The event concluded with refreshments and an overflowing exchange of compliments. Ms. Dubose, the preschool director, was very pleased with the turnout and provided some positive feedback:
This was the first year we have done this special promotion. It was a huge success. All the children performed wonderfully and the parents were very excited and thankful. We had some mothers who came and volunteered their time especially to decorate the MPR room for the performance.
This delightful gathering opened a new level in the children's life. They have now officially "graduated" preschool. After an exciting and enjoyable summer, new challenges are waiting for them, just as there are for the rest of our returning KIS students.

By Olexandra Rovinska

Friday, June 7, 2013

20th Anniversary: Mr. Prima

Mr. Prima with Daud Kyarizov (right), varsity boys' soccer player
20 years ago KIS was this small little International school just starting up in downtown Kiev. Teams didn’t travel to CEESA tournaments. There were no local sports leagues. In fact, there weren’t even sports teams at the time. KIS didn’t even have a gym of their own at the time. In the beginning, KIS shared a Ukrainian facility with another Ukrainian school. Yet, looking at KIS now, not only do we have one gym but in 2010 a second gym was added, the new artificial turf soccer field, the new track, and the new workout location with machines also have been added. Now there are over 20 teams of various sports on both the secondary and middle school levels, many of which travel to various CEESA tournaments throughout the year. As well as the establishment of a local league for most of these sports and the junior league for elementary kids for both basketball and soccer, which has been, in large part, the work of Mr. Anatoly Prima.
In the infant stages of KIS, 17 years ago in 1996, Mr. Prima knew the school. He was working in Ukrainian school 106 at the time. KIS was so small that it was sharing school 106’s athletic facilities. In fact, this was how the local league got started. Through sharing and having to work around each other’s classes, he and Mr. Zeegers met and got to talking. They then decided to do something between the two schools and each put a girls and boys basketball team together and started to play in competitions. Then with the aid of funds from the Canadian embassy, the Canadian Basketball League was made. The name would be changed later after other sponsors such as Coke-a-Cola came into the picture. These beginning investors helped to get the league going by purchasing new basketballs, new backboards, and a new paint job for the gym, and more. However, Mr. Prima did not stop there.
Mr. Prima teaching one of his P.E. classes
About 7 years ago, the director of KIS at that time asked Mr. Prima if he wanted to start a program for younger kids, of elementary age. Mr. Prima then began the junior league for both basketball and soccer. At first, much like in the case of the local league, it was a slow to start at the beginning, with only enough kids to have a couple of teams. Yet, step by step by step, this has grown into a huge program. Before, they allowed and invited kids from other schools to come and join the league. However, in recent years, there have been so many kids trying to join and spots have filled up so quickly. In fact, part of the money made from junior leagues has gone into the new machines and the set up of our recent weight room.  Mr. Prima however isn’t alone in these endeavors, his wife, Mrs. Prima, and two sons who also attend KIS are always there at his side helping him along the way.
Mrs. Prima
In fact, interestingly enough, his wife Mrs. Prima, came to be a part of the KIS staff about 2 or 3 years before he did. At that time he went from teaching and working at school 106 to working at the American Embassy for a short time.  During Mr. Prima's short time at the American Embassy,  he received the guard of the year award and was nominated for many other awards. However, when KIS offered him a job, even with a much lower salary then what he made at the American Embassy, he gladly accepted. “It was great money at the American Embassy but, I didn’t want to do that…I wanted to go back to teaching.” So that’s what he did. In Mr. Prima's experience, teaching at KIS is much different than at the Ukrainian school. It’s a completely different curriculum and way of teaching as compared to the Ukrainian system. Therefore it was a challenge to transition between the two systems, as well as, the language challenge. Mr. Prima needed to learn athletic terms in English, but step by step it got easier.  Mr. Prima likes work, and being a part of the KIS staff and community. 

By: Tim Roby

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

20th Anniversary: Changes at KIS

The Kyiv International School was founded in 1992. Over the 20 years of its existence, numerous changes have taken place. Locations were changed, new structure have been added, and old facilities have been renovated. In short, the school has been getting bigger and better.

These are the 9 major changes that have been made in the past:

1. The main building used to be designed differently from the outside. It was made out of bleak-white  tiles. About 5 years ago though, it was re-built into what we see right now. Currently, the school is a smooth yellow color.

2. Before, KIS consisted solely of the main building. As the number of students increased, containers were added one by one. The most recent one was installed this year at the end of the elementary school structure, where an additional 5-year old class is located.

3. Up until 2 years ago, the lobby was styled completely differently. However, the gray images have already faded from our minds as today, the reception area appears bright and red, matching our school colors.

5. The mini-pitch which we see today used to be covered with grass. There was a spacious area with a large playground. Now, 3, spacious and  newly-equipped playgrounds are placed in the front of school. The mini-pitch is often used for PE and other activities.

The Start of the New Gym in 2010

6. Throughout most of KIS' history, there was only 1 gym. It used to have a green floor, unlike the red one we can see today. A second gym was added to our facilities in 2010.This serves as a useful contribution for CEESA tournaments, musical productions, and other school-wide events.

7. Cars used to park on the school grounds all the time. During KIS community gatherings like picnics, the whole street was filled with vehicles. This year though, the problem has been eliminated as a new parking area has been built in front of the school entrance.

8. Up until 5 years ago, KIS had no seating on the black top area between the buildings. The students had limited opportunities for outdoor relaxation. Today, there are picnic tables and benches provided throughout the school grounds for everyone to enjoy.

9. The school did not always such an excellent sports field. At first, the terrain was covered with grass and the track was made out of asphalt. Presently, the artificial-turf field is outlined by a rubberized running track. Additionally, our sports complex includes a sand-pit, a scoreboard, and lights for evening activities.

As for the future, Mr. Rehberg highlighted 3 main renovations which are being planned for KIS:

1. The preschool area is intended to be reconstructed in order to meet the growing needs of the community.

2. The school is looking to reconstruct the cafeteria. It will remain in the same place, but color and design will be added for a warm and enjoyable dining environment.

3. In the distant future, a new dramatorium/theater is necessary. Because of the increasing numbers in our school, student and staff meetings require a larger room for sufficient seating.

With every year, KIS is rapidly growing. As for the 2012-2013 school year, there were 147 full-time faculty members and 723 students. Reassuringly, Mr. Rehberg concluded, "We'll look at every way we can to be able to build and expand."

By Olexandra Rovinska

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yearbook Drama

A great ceremony took place last week where the yearbook staff presented a KIS legacy - the yearbook. Throughout the week, books were bought, sold, and signed. Finally, the secondary drama class put a closing point to the yearbook production.

On Friday, the 31st of May, students of Mrs. Jones' class performed the final production of the year - YEARBOOK. Under Ani's direction, the cast combined all major aspects of the Kozak life in a 60-minute show.

The whole crew worked together to put on this play. Kamilla took care of the sound and lighting, while Lucia managed the stage. The rest of the students, using their acting skills,  demonstrated KIS as it is. Some of the scenes included the following features: Miranda Curry opened up the unfortunate story of Kozak basketball players, Stacy Zeegers revealed the girls' anticipation before prom, and Maria Rogova showed off her wonderful singing talent.

YEARBOOK was a great success. The audience was very pleased, as were the producers.  Ani Yoseliani summed up:
All I can say is that this was a journey. The 12 people that were a part of my cast were simply 12 secondary students, who got together and produced an entire play. There are many aspects that go into a production, from raising money, to re-writing the scripts, to making sure every prop is accounted for. This was a very challenging but rewarding experience for me and my cast. My class gave me creative freedom and helped mold my ideas into a fantastic play.  The show was a hit!

By:  Olexandra Rovinska

20th Anniversary: Born to Be a Teacher

Bora Bora, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Vienna, Seattle, Amsterdam, Krakow, Belgrade, Cairo, Istanbul, Prague, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki are only a few of places that Mrs. Smayeva has visited. As you probably have realized, traveling is her passion, but it's not the only passion that she has.

When Ms. Smayeva was 5 years old, she already knew that she would become a teacher. She gathered all the small kids in her neighborhood and gave out candies. Now the same tactic works for Ms. Smayeva's students.  "Students deserve a little treat at the end of the day," she says. Ms. Galina believes that in order to be a teacher you need to be born that way. During one of her travels to India, she was told that it is her destiny to teach, but she gives up a lot of energy to doing what she loves. "Students that like to learn and consume the information that you give them" Ms. Galina explains, " teaching takes a lot of my energy, and I am so exhausted after a good lesson". This is why she chooses to travel, as her way to relax. Ms. Smayeva prefers to travel by herself, so that she gets to see the places that she would like to see.

Ms. Galina's favorite place to travel: Bora Bora
Ms. Galina has been teaching for 40 years, half of which she has spent at KIS. Initially, she was working here as a Ukrainian teacher that didn't speak a word in English,  then, she began teaching what she was meant to: Russian language and literature.  As a former student of Ms. Galina, I have to say that those were the classes that everyone was waiting for.

In Ms. Smayeva's opinion,  our school went through many changes, but the students stayed the same, because no matter who she taught and how long ago it was, they still stay in touch with Ms. Galina. While Ms. Smayeva was talking about her students, the unchanging smile was shining on her face. As Ms. Galina explains: "When I see my students perform well in their life, I realize that I didn't live for nothing".

Teachers like Ms. Smayeva, make our school traditions and keep the connections, even after 20 years of its existence.

By Anastasiya Zamula