Tuesday, August 28, 2012

School Spirit Week

My kids have adjusted to life here without a hitch. Maybe I am speaking too soon. Maybe I should knock on wood or something...

Seriously, so far so good. They were immediately brought into the fold at church and fit right in there.

They have also found their place at school. They are both involved in out-of-school activities and are busy-busy every single night.

School for them is different here, but not as different as it could be. They attend Nido de Aguilas  (which translates to Nest of the Eagle). As Eagles, they find themselves among a variety of kids.

50% of the school's population are considered Chilean, meaning they have residency here in Chile. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are of Chilean decent. There are about 400 kids total in 9th-12th grades, meaning around 100 students per grade level. They typically have 8-12 kids in each of their classes with the maximum class size being 15.

The kids here are academically focused. All of them. I had an 8th grader talk about the stress he is under to get on the swim team because it will look good on his college application for him to have a "better rounded school experience" apparently "good grades and volunteer work will not cut it". What??? College prep as an 8th grader? Let's just say - it's a major focus here.

Many of Andrew's peers are excited to go to the east coast and tour colleges for their Week Without Walls school trip. Andrew just can't understand that. Why tour colleges when you could go to the Galapagos? I have to laugh, because my husband and I totally agree with him. Touring colleges is important, but the Galapagos is a once in a lifetime experience.

Their friends are from all different areas of the world. Andrew said that he has made friends with a couple of Chilean natives, one boy from the US (Puerto Rico) and the rest of his friends are from all around the world. Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, etc. etc. He said all of his friends speak at least 2 languages. They all speak English (the school is taught in english), Spanish and usually a minimum of one other language - many 2 others.

It has been a great experience for my kids to realize that families relocate across the globe all the time. It isn't just something our family has done. It also helps to have them in an environment where "popularity" isn't really the focus. Grades and learning about one another's cultures are a big part of the experience here. The kids accept each other openly and freely. They don't have the luxury of being 'clickish' because they aren't here that long.

I know - it's high school. Status and clicks are a part of the school. You can't put a group of teenagers together and not find that. Here however, it seems to be less of a focus. They all worry like crazy about their grades, about preparing for the IB exams. Academics is the focus here and that, my friends, is a great thing for my boys to be a part of.

Yesterday, Andrew played on the Varsity team for one of the tournament games:

and Alex had swim practice:

Today is 3D Printing Club for Alex where they will continue printing 3D objects. Being involved in these out of school activities has been a real help in the transition process. They have made friends and feel a part of a group. 

This week is also spirit week for the High School. It is a week full of grade level competition. Monday was skit day. Each grade level was given the theme "High School Musical" and the junior class had Andrew be the main character. I am hoping a video will appear on youtube soon so that I can see it.

Today is birth country spirit day (our kids are wearing red, white, and blue). They had a pizza eating and karaoke contest at lunch. Alex sent a video. You'll have to follow the link to youtube to see it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjRozjFn_1U

Tomorrow is speech day. The kids will rotate through classes listening to presentations given by students - all day. No 'real' classes tomorrow. 

I'm not sure what Thursday will bring, but Friday is the high school BBQ sponsored by the PTA. School is released an hour early and students enjoy food and a "Battle of the Bands" competition. What a fun week.

Nido does a great job of bringing the kids together in a safe and fun way. Cheering on your classmates as they stuff their faces with pizza builds much needed unity in a school that is constantly changing. We are grateful to be a part of this amazing community.  

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