Monday, October 28, 2013

Clothing Drive

By Radia Miqdadi

Winter is just around the corner, therefore the weather has been getting colder and colder! As we all know, the winters in Ukraine are both long and very cold. As winter is approaching, the Student Service Council has decided to start a clothing drive in order to help the orphans. The Student Service Council is hoping to collect warm clothing such as coats, gloves, and boots. These clothes are going to be donated to children in an orphanage near Boryaka that are seven years old and under. Their will be a box under the TV in the lobby where the participants can put in their donations. Start helping out, the deadline is November 20th!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Park Clean-Up!

Park Clean-Up!
By: Rebecca Rommen
Photos Courtesy of Kamilla Hák-Kovács
          A fundamentally important part of our high school is the “Student Service Council”, aka the “Help Club.” Volunteering students earn service hours by helping our community through projects, including helping local orphanages and finding more efficient systems for our school’s cafeteria food waste. Not only do these students get extra credit and get this bonus feature on their college applications, they get to be active citizens in their community and experience publicly demonstrating aesthetic appreciation and other success orientations taught at our school. This year our help club is booming with over 40 eager and enthusiastic secondary students participating. A lot of them aren’t in it for the beneficial application assets, but are really just there to help out in their city.

Polina, Alice, Paula, Kamilla (Sophomores!)

                Last week, on Thursday, October 10, a large group from the help club put on rubber gloves and dragged along [eco-friendly!] trash bags to the forest next to our school campus and spent a few hours picking up littered garbage and [potentially-harmful-to-the-environment] items strewn about. Everyone had lots of fun and got to help the environment.

After the event, Kirill Skorobogatov, environment group leader of the student service council, said this to participants: “Amazing job today guys! I was stunned at the amount of garbage that was collected. Today we helped the environment and the park bringing a change to the surroundings. Next time we will also gather together and clean up some more. Tears brought into my eyes after that realization of character and our willingness to help that we demonstrated today. I am proud of you all.”

Kirill Skorobogatov

                Linda Lastovych, a KIS senior optimistically reflected on their hard effort: “The park clean-up was a memorable experience for all of the SSC members. We collaborated together in order to achieve our goal of establishing a cleaner environment. It was a great opportunity to help create a clean environment. The Environmental Project was a huge success, as we were able to collect more than 20 bags of trash that was dispersed in the park. The SSC plans to continue regular clean-ups of the park. We encourage other students who are not ignorant, to participate in the project, which has positive effects on the environment, the participants, and the local population.”

Linda Lastovych

Another senior, Kunal Sharma said “It was well organized, well done, and overall it was a good project. The best part was just the joy of imagining that possibility we started something that will continue and soon enough this park will be clean; so I gained satisfaction of being able to help the environment around our school.”

Kunal Sharma

Most of our Student Service Council 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yearbook Pictures

By: Radia Miqdadi

The green room has been very busy and crowded! These two weeks have been very intense not only for the Yearbook and Media II students but also for the students and teachers. Yearbook pictures have started and are almost finished! Many students have been looking their best for their yearbook picture. The process has been long but is rapidly wrapping up. The photographer, Dimitry, has been working very hard to get individual portrait pictures of every KIS student and staff. It has been quite a challenge for the school to get everyones picture taken but the Media II students have done a great job taking care of everything. This week, the students will be getting their class picture taken. This means that all the students will have a picture with their classmates taken. This process will be shorter and a lot funner! The class picture also includes a silly face picture! By the end of this week, the yearbook pictures will be all finished!

Homework: A Problem At KIS

by Gregory Kulchyckyj

On the first of October, high school students in Kyiv International School were asked to respond to a survey created by KIS Today staffer Radia Miqdadi concerning homework in the 2013-2014 school year. By the end of the week, 81 students had responded to ten questions, including “How many hours a day to you spend doing homework” and “How much time are you given to do homework in class?”

Homework has been a continuous hot topic in KIS. Most students, especially in high school, have reported the problem of too much homework. This includes: reading, worksheets, essays, projects, and studying for examinations.

Of those who responded, over 90% felt that their homework load has been way-more-than-appropriate. Such statistics aren’t surprising, since 80% of the respondents describe doing homework 4-5 hours every weekday. To put this in perspective, one school day is seven hours long.  This creates a challenge when students have yet to participate in after-school activities, eat dinner and receive a good amount of sleep.

Such a large amount of homework – up to 25 hours a week – can be counterproductive. A BBC study recommends that high school should get no more than two hours of schoolwork. Otherwise, schools risk losing a child’s interest in learning. Also, studies show that students with a vast amount of homework are more prone to cheating. Furthermore, there has been no proof that homework actually benefits students. To this extent, the homework load can be seen as unnecessary and even harmful to the KIS student body.

While teachers may argue that all this homework is meant to help prepare students for tests, according to the KIS Today survey results, only 4% of students believe 100% of homework is directly beneficial, while 65% feel only half their homework is useful, and the other half meant to keep them busy.  

While KIS administration argues that students are given time to start on homework in class, one question put into the survey was “How much time are you given to start/do your homework in school?” The results were the most one-sided of the whole questionnaire, with 69% of students answering that they get almost no time to do homework in class. This is completely contradictory to the administration’s statement, and brings the cold hard fact that the KIS administration must change their homework policy.

QSI’s Homework Policy, posted in the most recent Kozak’s Korner, states: “If students feel overburdened with homework assignments, a "staffing" with teachers and administration maybe used to determine homework guidelines for the school or individual student.” The results make it clear that students are already overburdened in just the first month of school. There is a lot of pressure put on students to get outstanding mastery grades when we aren’t even given time to study for exams, and can barely get seven hours of sleep.

The Policy also says: “Homework should not repeatedly exclude students from joining family activities or other forms of childhood socialization.” The survey results raise questions about how much time a student is able to spend on family and social life when school takes up 12 hours of an average day. Such a feat would certainly be challenging. And weekends don’t offer too much free time either.

One-third of students who took the homework survey say that they spend 10 or more hours of homework during the weekend. Professors from Ivy League schools such as the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton say that homework is not the answer to better educational results. Homework should be merely used to practice and review what has already been taught. One of my IB teachers said, “I’ll admit, I didn’t even get this much homework in college!”

Overall, the survey can speak for itself. High school students spend about a whole day on schooling, while trying to balance out other aspects of life. Homework in KIS is seen as a challenge in itself, disregarding the QSI, AP, and IB courses. It is clear that respondents from the survey hope for more appropriate guidelines concerning homework throughout the rest of their academic career in Kyiv International School. 

Class Representatives

By Radia Miqdadi

      On Friday, October 4th class representatives were announced. A class representative job is to represent his or her class in StuCo meeting or events and to ensure that his or her classmates are informed.  Running for class representative allows one to have an opportunity to exercise leadership, opinions, concerns, ideas, and it looks great on college applications. All week, the secondary students worked hard to fill in their applications about their experiences in order to be nominated as a representative. Unexpectedly, it was decided that all those who wanted to run for class representative were accepted. All in all, the StuCo has twelve secondary student representatives. 

Gregory Kulchychkyj, secondary 3 class representative, explains why he ran for class representative, “Being a representative gives me the great opportunity to help strengthen the community in KIS, and allows me to make people happy and satisfied throughout their time at school. I plan to support and help this year's STUCO to create a favorable, fun, and successful environment for our high school. I also plan to take issues and advise from students in order to create solutions that will improve  all aspects of KIS. I ultimately want to finish the school year knowing that I have helped create a more perfect KIS!” 

Rebecca Rommen, secondary 1 class representative, clarifies the job of a representative, “We discuss ideas for school events and give our opinions. During events, we help set up, clean up, and ensure that everyone is having fun. Our task is to support tSuCo and enable them to have equal cooperation from all high school levels. If the StuCo memebers are unsure about a decision concerning an upcoming or ongoing event, they ask representatives for feedback. Also, as a class representative, it's our job to advertise StuCo organized events to the students in our grade."

Maria Rogova states her plan as a secondary 2 class representative, “My plan for this year is to unite our class and always be able to communicate with each other. As a class representative, I am responsible for expressing what my class likes, what my class's ideas are. I are sort of the messenger between the StuCo and my classmates. I am responsible for updating my classmates about the coming up events, making surveys, and making sure that the students in my class are willing and are exciting to participate. I am excited, because it is my first such kind of job and hopefully it will introduce me to how it all works, and by the time I try myself as StuCo, I will have some knowledge.”

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Clash of the Classes

Clash of the Classes

By: Rebecca Rommen

                On Friday, October 11, a StuCo-organized event was held at our school campus. It took place from 7:30 to 10:30pm and its purpose was to unite our high school grades and to emit a feeling of homeliness and comfort among the students.



This is the second time our school has organized this event. Last year’s was a huge success, and it was said by many of this year’s attendants that this one was just as fun, if not better.

Gio Nikolaishvili, StuCo president commented “Honestly, it is hard to compare the "success" of events. I really cannot say which one was better or which was worse, however, I can definitely say that the budget for this year's Clash of the Classes was larger, and the attendance was also more. Ultimately, I believe that both of the events were very successful, and everyone who attended was satisfied.”
The event included a bonfire, lots of fun games (including twister… with a twist! Shaving cream was sprayed onto the mats and the contestants had to work with that obstacle), free drinks and pizza, good music, a freshman-and-new-student-initiation, and 14 Chinese lanterns which were lit by class representatives and released into the sky.
               The bonfire was set up by maintenance and blazed strongly and warmly for most of the night. The music, taken care of by Vova (a junior representative), included everything from rock to Latin music to the Game of Thrones title song (played during initiation, in which students went in pairs around the bonfire and were “initiated” by Kunal and Dijana, seniors.) The games were competitive but fun, some divided by grades, and some mixed. The lanterns took a while to organize and light, but it was all worthwhile when on the count of three, they were all released from the field into the moonless sky, and then admired by the students.

“The lanterns […were the best part of the evening]. It was the first time for me to light one up and reminded me that I have only 8 months left in Kyiv”, noted Shi Hyun Kim.

“Everything went much better than expected. Although the planning process took a lot of effort, at the end it all paid off and the StuCo members were happy with the results.” Said Gio.
           What’s more is- the whole night was organized by students from our community, practically single-handedly (with just a bit of supervision, guidance and assistance from our secondary counselor, Mrs. Barton.)!
Student Council 2013, organizers of the event
(Chiara Poliak, Maryna Markowicz, Gio Nikolaishvili, and Lala Chzhan)

Chiara Poliak, StuCo treasurer said: “In the organization of Friday's event I contacted Coca Cola and organized the quantity and the delivery of all the drinks. I arranged for all the money that was needed for the event to be taken from the business office and then used that money to pay for different things (like the food, props for games, lanterns). On Friday afternoon, I worked with Gio and our class representative Vova to set up everything for the event. In my opinion the event was extremely successful. Everyone said they had fun, there were plenty of drinks and food, and all grades were brought together and new friendships were made.”

Maryna Markowicz, StuCo VP: "I believe the most successful part of the event was reaching our goal of uniting all of the grades together and enhancing the esprit de corps of KIS’s High School. One example of this was when all of the grades helped each other out during the tug-o-war activity!"

Shi Hyun Kim: “Honestly, I'll have to give it to this year's STUCO. Not only did they improve on our ideas, but were better organized. I supported my friends who ran against these guys, but I respect them for what they have them. Way to go STUCO!”

Nastya Kershaw, a freshman at KIS, had this to say about her first ever HS event- "It was exiting and funny especially since I got initiated first and I was totally lost and confused. The high school in general was very fun and exiting. BUT I liked the initiation process because it was very dramatic!"

Hopefully “Clash of the Classes” will be just as fun and successful for years to come!

Monday, October 7, 2013

MSG Soccer CEESA: Effective Sportsmanship Portrayed!

MS Girls’ Soccer CEESA: Effective Sportsmanship Portrayed!

By: Rebecca Rommen

Last weekend our middle school girls’ soccer team travelled to Moscow, Russia for their CEESA (Central Eastern European Sports Association) tournament, from October 3 to October 6. The event was hosted by AAS (Anglo-American School) and involved 7 Eastern European international schools.

Despite being defeated by 5 out of 6 opponents in the overall results, the girls did not come home empty-handed. We now have a new addition to our polished KIS trophies- MSG sportsmanship ’13! According to Kate Paugh, 12, they earned it by “by being nice to other teams on the field and interacting with them on a regular daily basis.” The fact that they won the sportsmanship award proved a much more important skill- friendship, aesthetic appreciation; this greatly sums up the success orientations we expect in our school environment.

Even then- the actual games weren’t to no gain. Due to a tight CEESA calendar, as annually promised, the girls had had scarcely enough practice hours to prepare for the approaching tournament. After 2 exhausting days of endless matches, their skills improved drastically and they fought hard to reach the maximum of their capabilities.

“I think CEESA trips are too soon in the year - a lot of people have never played soccer before, and people that have are out of practice. A few weeks into the season, BAM, a soccer tournament! I think that getting 6th place (not last), despite most of our team being new to soccer, is an amazing accomplishment. We really learned how to work as a team and learned from the other teams there. They helped us become stronger and we are now ready to kick ass in the Kiev League.”- Catarina Buchatskiy, 12.

“The memories I will cherish were made on the field. The thrill of playing soccer is unforgettable, and the friends that I made on the field have a special place in my heart.” Buchatskiy also reminisced with an aura of nostalgia.”

“I grew closer and got to know some of my friends better and I will always remember playing soccer and the amazing experience to travel to Moscow when I am only in middle school” reflected Maya Rondiak, 13.

It is evident the girls worked hard, and learned to appreciate some of the most important life lessons- friendship and sportsmanship! Great job Lady Kozaks!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

KIS Student Council: Re-Elected!

KIS Student Council: Re-Elected!
By: Rebecca Rommen

Last Friday, September 27, 2013, with less than a month’s worth of preparation beforehand, 10 student council candidates gave their final election speeches which would result in the submission of the student body’s ballots.

This year’s campaign proved to be competitive; before the actual Election Day, there were no obvious favorite candidates. During campaign week, creative posters (tagged “propaganda” by some) were put up around the school, adorning the walls and windows of KIS. Small pre-election speeches were made throughout last week as well, each appealing to their different audiences.

Since it was still a tight campaign, it all depended on the speeches made on Friday. Each candidate had a 3 minute time limit to speak. Some students showed small clips advertising themselves to their audience, while some got the audience all hyped up and cheering; whichever method they used, all presentations seemed to make a lasting impression: but only four students could fill the seats as Student Council representatives.

The four positions in the student council are: treasurer, secretary, vice-president, and president. The treasurer organizes the income and student council’s bank; money throughout the year is earned through fund-raisers/dances/lock-ins, etc. in order to host other entertaining StuCo-sponsored events.

To no one’s surprise, Chiara Poliak (Italian), 16, was elected treasurer. Presumably because she was the only one running for that post. Nonetheless she gave a convincing speech, persuading the crowd she’d do her best and put their money to good use.
I ran because I wanted to help make a difference in our school”, she said, “and because I think being treasurer will teach me skills that will be useful in my future. This year I plan to create memorable events along with my fellow StuCo members and make sure everyone's money is used in the most efficient way possible.”
Chiara Poliak, StuCo Treasurer
(C) Emma Alman
Three people ran for secretary: Albina Aliyeva, Lala Chzhan, and Max Nguyen. This position had the closest polls; it was the tightest campaign. In the end, after a reassuring speech about her positive aspects and responsibility, Lala Chzhan (Chinese), 18, was voted secretary.
“I want to bring more to this school and I ran for secretary because I have a lot of ideas and propositions for the school year” she stated confidently. “My main goal is to make this year unique and unforgettable for students and teachers. I want the whole HS to be united and have a lot of fun together.”

Lala, Chzhan, StuCo Secretary
(C) Emma Alman
The roll of Vice-President also had three potential takers: Vik Nguyen, Maryna Markowicz, and Ivanna Klymenko. All three of them gave inspirational speeches and brief backgrounds about themselves, before describing their goals for the upcoming year. Maryna Markowicz (American), 16, won through her bright attitude and enthusiastic speech & video.

“I believe I have the best experience to make a difference and improve the already great school environment we enjoy.  I felt my seven years at KIS gave me a good foundation to accomplish this challenge.”

Maryna, Markowicz, StuCo Vice-President
(C) Emma Alman
The president holds the most desired title, of course. Even the name boasts an air of superiority, but in StuCo- it’s not. The president’s job in StuCo is to ensure that fun and success are being had by all. They are in charge of a lot of decision-making and event-organizing, but it’s a strict democracy with the student body. Olexandra Rovinska, Gio Nikolaishvili, and Nikita Chadyuk were the three determined candidates for this head position. Gio Nikolaishvili (Georgian), 16, used props to entertain the audience during the prelude of his speech. The important content of his speech was still enticing to the audience, aiding him in his win.

Gio Nikolaishvili, StuCo President
(C) Emma Alman
I've been determined to run for StuCo president since the beginning of my sophomore year” says Nikolaishvili. “I've always considered being a Student Council president to be an opportunity to make sure people enjoy being a part of school, as well as an amazing personal experience overall.
“This year, my goal is to organize the StuCo system as well as possible in order to progress over the year efficiently while having tons of fun events as well as useful fundraisers. I am willing to sacrifice as much of my own time as necessary in order to give everyone a chance to enjoy school in the company of their friends.”
When asked about balancing out the four secondary grade levels to unite them and make them more equal, he replied-
“Concerning that issue, StuCo decided that its first task should be to organize an event sometime over the next month which would accomplish exactly that. Although nothing's set in stone for now, we're gradually coming up with a lot of good ideas.”

With this amazing, diverse group of StuCo representatives, let’s make this year a memorable one!