A group of 7 Ermitage students, Ayila H, Maria R, Misheel D, Tamzin A, Tabata DF, and Luca M spent 3 days at the Outward Bound Aberdovey center in Wales challenging themselves. They did high ropes courses, kayaking, canoeing, gorge walking, caving...all designed to help them learn to leave their comfort zone and push their limits. The motto of the weekend was "make your life a mission, not an intermission" and our kids impressed by their hardwork and participation.
On Tuesday evening, June 2nd, parents, students and alumni gathered together to support relief efforts in Nepal. The program included a variety of inspiring presentations and reflections to build awareness about humanitarian efforts abroad.
The program began with a series of thoughtful reflections from IB1 students who participated in the India trip in February 2015, including Nina S, Franck V, Bart C, Nathan B, Oliver V, Franco P, Farah V, Laetitia L and Gauthier L. Themes included perseverance, empowerment, faith, contrast, perspective, chaos, sharing and the aromas. Students work tirelessly throughout the year to promote their efforts in India, and then have the opportunity to travel there to see the projects through. These experiences leave lasting impressions, which the students carry forward with them not only in their studies, but in their personal lives as well.
We were proud to have IB 2014 alum, Marine Vasseur, present on her recent volunteer experiences in Nepal, where she had been spending part of her gap year when the devastating earth quake hit in April 2015. Marine quickly went to work with other volunteers to prepare care packages for rural communities that did not have access to aid and resources necessary to protect their families. This care was so needed and appreciated by those who were coming to terms with the enormous impact the earthquake has had on their lives, but it is just the beginning.
There is much work to continue in the effort to rebuild the areas impacted by the earthquake. Should you wish to participate, donations can be made through Global Giving
Mr Tony Hyde, Honorary Member of Round Square and Former Round Square Representative for Europe, later presented his challenging trek through the Himalayas. This trek embraces the Round Square Ideals in the spirit of adventure and cultural understanding. Mr. Hyde describes the trek below:
"In winter, the kingdom of Zanskar, in the heart of the Himalayas, is cut off from the rest of the world since all the walking trails and roads are covered and blocked by snow. Avalanche dangers are also contributory to this situation. However, what is a raging grade 7 rafting river. running through deep sided gorges cutting through the 6000+m mountains in the summer, is frozen in the winter and provides a spectacular passage, which the locals and intrepid trekkers alike can use.
For the local school kids in boarding schools in Leh, the Ladakhi capital with access to the outside world in winter because of its airport, it is as the "School Run" and what a "Run" it is!!!!
The Tchadar (the Blanket) is the name of this venture and requires not only rigorous preparation but also fortitude and equipment to withstand the temperatures on the scale between Baltic to Siberian."
These efforts are remarkable and we are proud of all students, alumni and friends who continue to help others, explore and connect globally in the spirit of Round Square.
For their annual school trip, the Foundation 123s had tremendous weather and a lot of fun during their 5-day trip to Serre Chevalier. It was exhausting, but also exhilarating according to the stories they have told. Activities included rafting, airboating, hiking, Via Ferrata, a night in a mountain hut, swimming and rock climbing. A lot of students challenged themselves by facing their fears head-on and learned a lot about themselves and their abilities.
For their annual school trip, the Foundation 4-5s had incredible weather for their sailing trip in the Mediterranean. A blue sky, warming sun but still enough wind, made for the perfect setting to explore the coast. Students had a positive experience where they learned to even cook and clean for them selves, help with the sailing and work as a team both on the boat and inland. Congratulations to all who took up the challenge (and perservered despite feeling green in the gills in the water)!
April vacation seems like it was a long time ago for most of us but for the 14 students and 3 staff who visited the Bement school in Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts the morning chill and genuine warmth of our friends from across the Atlantic still lingers. For over 16 years Ermitage has had an exchange with the Bement school and for those 16 years our mutual appreciation has crystallised into a magnificent friendship.
For those that haven’t yet visited this quiet town it is one of the oldest settlements in all of New England. Incorporated almost 100 years before the Declaration of Independence Deerfield has a long history (by American standards at least). I won’t go any further into the historical background of the town and leave the rest of your curiosities to be answered by wikipedia and move on to the trip itself.
The majority of the trip was spent immersing ourselves into the lives of our American friends at school and at home.
We went to class and played sports…. And, of course, the worm...
Halfway through our trip we took a bus 2 hours south to Mystic Connecticut to the worlds largest maritime museum called….Mystic Seaport. But, this was no ordinary museum as we were traveling with no ordinary group of students. We were traveling with protegé whale hunters and as such we had to hone our skills and understanding of the business.
To begin, our guide explained what the whaling industry was and why Mystic became so big. Then it was time for our fitness/accuracy test…. Jade, clearly, was a natural…. After all the students and staff successfully threw the harpoon into the water (pointy end first) it was time to explore the hunting vessels.
We first explored one of the longships that would be sent out to actually hunt with 4-6 men in each. Once the whale was harpooned the men and the boat would go on a “Nantucket sleigh ride” for as long as several hours where the angry and injured animal would tow them all over the open ocean. Once the whale had exhausted itself the men in the boat would then have to tow it back to the main ship for processing. Sometimes the return tow could take an entire day.
The second part of the visit was aboard the Charles W. Morgan, one of the world’s last wind powered whaling vessels, used just until the US transitioned to petroleum based oils in 1845. Holding around 33 sailors it made it’s trip from the coast of Connecticut to oceans all over the world but primarily hunted off the coast of California by way of Cape Horn. Trips lasted from 9 months to 5 years.
After another very short week it was time to say “see you in June” to our Bement friends and hello to Boston! We left our mark… Saw some old stuff…Got a little silly. Had some pizza for dinner and went bowling...
Sunday we started off with a breakfast of pancakes at the South Street Diner before heading off for our Ducktour of Boston. Students visited the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the inhabitants of Boston and also where Boston gave Queen Elizabeth a check for $1,300 to settle the debt of all the tea that was thrown into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party.
These pictures are only a small fraction of the trip and it is only a teacher’s view of it. For the students, ours and those at Bement, individually and collectively, there is so much more to tell. The exchange program at Ermitage is not only an essential part of the Round Square mission but also an innate curiosity within each and everyone of us. The desire to explore new corners of the world and the people within them is one of the greatest lessons learned outside the classroom and ultimately teaches us all more about ourselves and where we are in life and the world. They help enlighten and remind us that for any lasting relationship one must give and take, be a guest and a host, be a follower and a leader so that in the end the group is stronger because each individual within it is too.
The Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams competed in the Round Square Basketball Tournament 2015 hosted by Herlufsholm School in Denmark. The Mustangs proudly represented Ermitage, taking home the following trophies:
2nd Place Overall: Ermitage Boys Varsity!
Tournament Most Valuable Player: Malo C, FND5
Best Sportsmanship: Ayila H, FND3,
Most intense player: Anna S, IB1,
We are all very proud of our 2 Mustangs teams, not just because they worked hard and did well on the court, but also because every coach and all the Herlufsholm staff members congratulated us on their team spirit and how well-behaved and kind our students were. This is exactly what Ermitage is about!
Starting from November, Ermitage has had the privilege of hosting Huw Knox, an Australian student who has become an important factor in our community. Unfortunately, our dearest friend leaves this Friday. That is why I have interviewed him on his thought of his experience.
How has your experience here been for you?
My experience here has been incredible. I never thought that I'd enjoy my time here this much. Everyone here is really warm and welcoming, which definitely enhanced my time here.
How have you enjoyed France?
I've really enjoyed my stay here. Being in the boarding house, surrounded by kids speaking so many different languages and the freedom to go into Paris has all been highlights. Overall, the best thing during my experience here has been the people I’ve been with.
What did you learn from this exchange and would you motivated others to do a similar program?
I've learned many things from being on exchange. It has helped my language skills immensely, and it has shown me a side of the world, which I didn't think I'd get to see for many years to come. I would encourage other to take on any possible opportunity for exchange!
Is there a big contrast between the IB classes and the Australian educational system?
The classes in IB and the classes in Australia are very closely connected, with many of the same things being covered. However, in Australia it is not required of us to do TOK or EE.
We thank you so much for having come to our school and we will miss you as a true friend.
Since the beginning of 2015, we where glad to host Cesar Rios, a Peruvian student who has not only become part of our community, but also a true friend! Unfortunately for us, Cesar is leaving on Friday to rejoin his family in Peru. Luckily I have had the chance to interview Cesar on his experience.
Cesar, welcome and thank you participating in this interview. How has your experience in Ermitage been? I have found my stay here to be very enjoyable. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people here and have made many friends. I found the environment to be very cozy and I felt comfortable since the day I came here. In general, I haven’t had any inconveniences besides not being able to go out to Paris as much as I would have liked.
Since you have had both the IBDP classes here and in your school, what can you tell about it? I think the IB is pretty universal, however the way in which each school teaches the IB is different. I find the approach here to be different from my school since my school is stricter in general. I think the way they teach the IB here is a little more enjoyable since you get to do the IB but experience less stress and study in a “nicer” environment.
After staying here in Maisons-Laffitte for 5 weeks, how have you enjoyed France? Maisons-Laffitte has really had an impression on me. I think it is a lovely community and I liked staying here. I find France to be a very interesting country. It is a place full of culture and Paris is a lively and interesting metropolis.
What did you learn from this exchange program and would you motivated others to do a similar program? I believe this experience has been very beneficial for me. This has been an important experience for me not only because I got to travel and know other places but also because I’ve met people that hail from all different kinds of places. I have been studying in what I’d call a truly international school and I have learned so much from the multiculturalism in this school. I would recommend anyone to try and go on an exchange because I can guarantee that you will have an amazing time as well as expanding your horizons and learning about al sorts of places.
We thank you so much and we will miss you so much!
Each year, a group of Ermitage Upper School students venture to rural India to contribute to the community in a positive way and be transformed in the process. This trip is part of a 2-week service learning and exchange program in partnership with fellow Round Square schools the Daly College of Indore and the Dhirubhai Ambani International School of Mumbai.
Hosted by the Daly College during the first week, 23 Ermitage students focused their efforts on women's empowerment and access to education. The 2015 projects included the construction of waterclosets at small village schools. Given the conservative nature of the Indian culture, many young girls actually drop out of school without proper access to toilet facilities. This basic necessity has an important impact on girls' access to education.
Ermitage students enthusiastically constructed waterclosets at two different community schools, collaborating to efficiently prepare the grounds and produce the final structures. While on the project sites, Ermitage students also had the opportunity to interact with children from the local village in their classrooms, transcending cultural boundaries and sharing heartfelt experiences from dancing to language lessons. A particularly touching moment was when Ermitage students were invited to participate in a local wedding ceremony, where a very antimated and international dance party ensued.
Students also explored a women's opportunity center which is dedicated to providing women unique education opportunities as well as sustainable farming practices to bring back to their communities. Similarly, students interacted with women from another empowerment program, where women are able to earn a fulfilling and dignified income through handloom weaving. Both organizations aim to aliviate poverty in unique, sustainable ways.
During the second week, Ermitage students experienced family life in Mumbai, where they were hosted by families of the Ambani School. Their enriching program included a variety of tourism and humanitarian activities, ranging from teaching French to conducting eye exams. Ermitage later welcomed their host students for a visit to France, where they explored Paris and its surrounding communities.
Upon returning from their experience, students have helped the project live on throughout a variety of presentations and events, including the Benefit Presentations in May 2015 to raise funds for relief efforts in Nepal.