Upper School News

Upper School News

We are proud to announce a 100% pass rate on the Terza Media Exam (Italian 8th Grade Exam)!

After months of hard work and support from our Italian teachers, out of the 23 ASM students who took this exam, 74% scored an 8 or higher with 2 receiving a 10 (the maximum score)!

Each year our results confirm the high standard and excellent preparation of our students. Congratulations 8th graders, we wish you all a great summer!

Read more about We are proud to announce a 100% pass rate on the Terza Media Exam (Italian 8th Grade Exam)!
Praise Music: ASM's Upper School Choir Invited to Sing at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice

We are delighted to announce that the ASM upper school choir, led and conducted by music teacher Lindsay Fuson, has been selected to perform at a mass at St. Mark's Basilica on Friday, June 1st. The performance will be part of a larger Venice tour.

Forty-two of the 46 students in the choir will be making the trip to Venice. They will leave on Thursday, May 31, and return on Sunday, June 3. In addition to their scheduled appearance at St. Mark's, the choir will also perform at Villa Ducale, an old Doge's villa, on Saturday, June 2, at 9 p.m.

For the mass at St. Mark's, the group will perform four pieces, all a capella. Ms. Fuson has chosen historical pieces that complement that week's liturgy. "Most of the pieces are by Venetian composers," she says. "Two of them even held a position at St. Mark's during their careers."

For the concert at Villa Ducale, the choir has prepared an hour-long program of both sacred and secular pieces. Again, many of the works are by Venetian composers, and the overall program is based on the theme of travel and home, specifically on a traveler's journey home.

The students have been preparing diligently, with rehearsals becoming more focused in the weeks leading up to the performance at St. Mark's. "To be a part of such a rich tradition is something the students take seriously. We've studied at length the history of St. Mark's Basilica, the mass and each part we're accompanying, as well as the composers whose work we'll be performing," says Ms. Fuson. The choir already has a contingent of fans – a number of members from the ASM community, including ASM's Director, Maureen Madden, will make the trip from Milan to attend the mass.

But it's not all work and no play: over the weekend the students will be playing games and doing scavenger hunts related to their coursework on Venetian Baroque musicians. They will also attend a glass-making demonstration.

It promises to be a fun and rewarding weekend for ASM's upper school choir.

Read more about Praise Music: ASM's Upper School Choir Invited to Sing at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
ASM Students Participating in Seeds&Chips, a Global Food Innovation Summit

The fourth edition of Seeds&Chips, a global food innovation summit, kicks off today, Monday, May 7, with 17 upper school students from ASM participating as "teenovators" over the course of the four-day summit.

This is the second year that ASM students have been invited to take part.

The focus of the summit is on food innovation, with "food" being taken loosely; speakers will discuss topics ranging from water management to agricultural practices and food marketing. The "teenovators" (high school students from ASM and other schools in the city) will give minute-long introductions to these talks and panels in which they articulate why the topic at hand is important from a teenage perspective.

According to Marco Gualtieri, the founder and chairman of Seeds&Chips, "Our priority has always been to give young people a voice and a leading role at Seeds&Chips. We feel that by giving them the opportunities we can truly help them to shape their future. We cannot talk about innovation and be innovative without them." Students who have been selected as "teenovaters" also gain entry to the Seeds&Chips' other events, allowing them to participate fully and actively in the summit.

Former President of the United States Barack Obama, who gave the keynote speech at last year's Seeds&Chips summit, was so impressed by the teenovators that he asked each one to record a 30-second message about their thoughts on the future of food innovation, which were then compiled in a video for him to watch on his flight home.

This year's keynote speakers include Howard Schultz, the Executive Chairman of Starbucks, and John F. Kerry, who served as the 68th U.S. Secretary of State. The agenda also features talks by ministers, activists, entrepreneurs and more. As part of the summit, there is also an exhibition space where startups, corporations, institutions and organizations from all over the world can share their innovations and find new and interesting ways to collaborate for the future of food.

ASM is bringing the largest delegation of "teenovators" to the conference. Upper School science teacher Christopher Briner has taken the lead in organizing the students, all of whom expressed a keen interest in speaking at the conference. "They have been practicing in front of each other to prepare for next week," he said. "It's been inspiring to hear them work through their thoughts on these important issues."

The following students will present on Monday, May 7: Maria Franco from Colombia will introduce Nathan Myhrvold, ex-Microsoft CTO and founder of Intellectual Ventures; Savannah Bucciarelli from Great Britain will introduce a session titled "The Boom in 'Better for you' Foods: Pioneering New Products"; Camila Tinjaca Pino from Venezuela will introduce a session titled "Accelerating Markets for Food Innovation"; Luis Mendoza from Mexico will introduce a session titled "The Next Generation of Farming"; and Daniello Peano from South Africa will introduce a session titled "Food & Health: The Future of Nutrition."

And the following students will present on Tuesday, May 8: Marie Maeland from Norway will introduce a session titled "The Power of Women in Food Innovation"; Elisa De Caro from Italy will introduce a session titled "From Farm to Fork: Supply Chains and Innovation"; Alexandra Ciobanu from Romania will introduce a session titled "New World Ag: Emerging Opportunities/Innovations in Global Markets"; Noah Finestone from Great Britain will introduce a session titled "Precision agriculture: Updates in Monitoring, Sensing & Reporting Technologies"; Cristina Garibbo from Italy will introduce a session titled "Controlled Environments: The Future of Indoor & Vertical-Farming"; Alessandro Mazza from Italy will introduce a session titled "Food Safety and Transparency: From Supply Chain to Blockchain"; and Melaniya Benedichuk from Russia will introduce a session titled "Innovative Solutions to Food Waste."

The following students will present on Wednesday, May 9: Marta Pastori from Italy will introduce a session titled "Believing in a Better Tomorrow: Investing in the Future of Food and Ag Tech"; Sydney Hamilton from the United States will introduce a session titled "The Architecture of Disruption: Revisiting Open Innovation"; Stefano Romita Giorgetti from Brazil will introduce a session titled "New Forms of Food Experiences"; Mackenna Westerfield from the United States will introduce a session titled "The Next Generation and the Food System"; and Madison Westerfield from the United States will introduce a session titled "We Millennials."

For more information on Seeds&Chips, please visit their website.

Read more about ASM Students Participating in Seeds&Chips, a Global Food Innovation Summit
ASM Upper School Students take action after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

As the end of the school year approaches, a small group of high school students at ASM are gearing up for a special service trip to Puerto Rico from May 23-31.

This is the third such trip organized by ASM math teacher Dovid Fein, who has been focused on providing students with volunteer opportunities abroad.

While the past two years have seen the school send a small group of high school students to Nepal to participate in school building projects, this year their focus has shifted to Puerto Rico, which was hit hard by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The powerful Category 4 storm knocked out the island's electrical system and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes, and according to some figures, around 16 percent of the island remains without power. The ASM students will be working with the U.S. non-profit organization All Hands to help rebuild houses on the island. (Silvia Pocorobba, a Spanish and Italian teacher at ASM, will be chaperoning the trip with Fein.)

These service trips came about organically, a result of Fein's long history of volunteering in the U.S. and abroad. After the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal, he made the decision to spend his summer break in the country, helping out in any way he could. Fein was familiar with traveling for the purpose of volunteering, having been to New Orleans to aid in the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and leading groups of college students on similar trips to Louisiana and Mississippi.

Maureen Madden, ASM's director, heard about Fein's summer plans and approached him with the idea of developing a service trip for a small group of ASM students in the spring of 2016. Enthusiastic about the prospect, Fein agreed to do some research on the ground. So as he spent the summer rebuilding walls and working at an orphanage, he also asked around and made connections on the ground, which is how he first discovered All Hands.

On a return visit over the Christmas break in 2015, as a trial run of sorts, Fein worked on a project with All Hands and was impressed by their close communication with and involvement of the local community. As part of the final preparations, he set up appointments all over Kathmandu to lay the groundwork for the trip that following spring, including a meeting with the Lincoln School, an international school in the city that had begun working with All Hands.

This careful approach to finding and vetting a program was important for Fein and ASM – within the realm of international service projects, which are sometimes given the label "voluntourism," it can be difficult to differentiate between groups that are having a positive impact and those that are doing more harm than good on the ground. What was appealing about All Hands is their focus on integrating local labor and working on long-term solutions that will benefit the local community, something that Fein witnessed on his two personal trips.

The ASM service trips that Fein and Anna Vimercati, a science teacher at ASM, led to Nepal in 2016 and 2017 were a success, both for the unique experiences they gave the students and in terms of the work they accomplished: the small group worked with local laborers to help build schools in Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok, two districts hours away from Kathmandu, as part of a larger "schools building schools" project.

The decision not to return to Nepal this year and to instead turn their attention to Puerto Rico stems from a few factors, namely that many of the school-building projects in Nepal are wrapping up and also the immense need in post-Maria Puerto Rico.

Plus, the immediacy of the problems facing Puerto Rico can be quite powerful. In Fein's opinion, people feel a stronger connection to a place and the work they're doing there when the needs are so acute. Going somewhere new also opens students' eyes to what life is like in other parts of the world. "One of the most important aspects of these trips for the students is learning firsthand what it's like other places," he says.

He also hopes that by helping to rebuild homes, students will have more interactions with the local community. While the "schools building schools" project in Nepal gave students the satisfaction of increasing access to education, most of the time during the day was spent working on construction sites. But rebuilding homes, as Fein experienced in New Orleans, is an act of sharing directly with a community and provides more opportunities to get to know the homeowners, which in turn allows for more personal connections and stronger bonds to form. "The relationship you're able to build with the homeowner is profoundly deep, you really are able to get a sense that you're helping somebody," he says.

Even though the students, who are all 16 or older, miss a good chunk of school for these trips, the ASM community, including the administration and other teachers, are incredibly supportive, recognizing that the experience of volunteering abroad, with its hands-on knowledge and opportunities for developing new skill sets, will have a long-lasting impact on these students. It's an educational experience that is equally as important as what is taught in a classroom.

By keeping the groups small – a deliberate choice on the part of Fein and ASM – students can't hide in the crowd; they're forced out of their comfort zone and into situations where it's necessary to interact with locals and other volunteers. But Fein has been impressed by the students' adaptability and resilience. "It opened my eyes a bit," he says, "how open they were to new experiences and how they leaned into the difficult circumstances. They were amazingly resilient, more so than most adults I know."

On both trips to Nepal, ASM's students worked hard and led by example, earning the respect of the site managers, and many of the students asked if they could stay longer to continue their work. Their dedication was inspiring, says Fein, who is looking forward to seeing this year's group bring the same sense of purpose and drive to help the local communities in Puerto Rico.

Read more about ASM Upper School Students take action after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico