With the support of our local politicians and community leaders, East-West celebrates its 10th Anniversary and highest graduation rate of 97% with the Class of 2016.
Presenting our Color Guards; Mr. Coreas, Mr. Gyatso, Mr. Mohammad, Mr. Seo.
In full attendance, our East-West Teachers and Staff.
Our middle school students serenading to the Class of 2016.
Middle School Pianist, Mr. Cui, playing our National Anthem.
Salutatorian for the Class of 2016, and Student Government Vice President, Ms. Lin.
NYS Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, NYC Councilman Peter Koo, NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim, addressed the Class of 2016 and offered their words of wisdom.
Ms. Yee receives the NYC Councilman Koo Student Achievement Award.
Mr. Chen receives the NYS Assemblyman Kim Student Achievement Award.
Ms. Lin receives the NYS Assemblywoman Rozic Student Achievement Award.
Ms. Yee, Valedictorian for the Class of 2016, addresses the audience.
The David Lew Scholarship is awarded to Ms. Santa.
Representing the PTA, Ms. Denise Eng, presents scholarship awards for the following languages; Japanese-Mr. Lieu, Korean-Ms. Chau, Chinese-Mr. Fan.
Mr. Lin, proud recipient of the Chinese American Parents Association Scholarship Award.
Ms. Carol Barrone , Ms. Brenda Tow, and Ms. Denise Winters, representing the Holly Civic Association, presents a certificate and scholarship award to Ms. Cheung.
Mr. Kenneth Cohen, President of the NAACP NEQ Chapter, joined by his two grandchildren, presents Ms. Roberts her certificate and scholarship award.
Mr. Don Capalbi, President of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association, presents the Tina Capalbi Memorial Scholarship in honor of Mr. Capalbi’s mother whose hard labors enabled him to attend college. Joining him on the stage is Mr. Alfred Rankins, Board Chair at the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, and scholarship contributor. This year’s scholarship award goes to Ms. Cuello.
The Rachel Carson Community Association, Inc. in partnership with University Park Tenants Council recognized Ms. Chowdhury for her outstanding leadership potential.
Representing the East-West School Foundation, Mr. Manfred Korman and Mr. Ben Sherman, present scholarship awards to Ms. Bakr (Manfred Korman Scholarship), Mr. Rosillo (Rose Tifford Scholarship), Ms. Ren (Rhythms of the Globe Scholarship), and Mr. Cheung (Irwin White Scholarship).
Ms. Denise Winters, President of Holly Civic Association, presents Ms. Gao, a certificate and scholarship award on behalf of Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy.
East-West Alumni Scholarship goes to Ms. Wahid, and Ms. Chen.
Ms. Washington, our Director of College Counseling, is recognized for her hard work and dedication, including, but not limited to, securing over $3.5 million in scholarship awards for our graduating seniors.
Applause, applause, applause…
Founding Principal, Ben Sherman, celebrates the 10th Anniversary at East-West School of International Studies with the highest graduation rate the school has achieved thus far of 97%!
Congratulations to the Class of 2016! May you continue to shoot for the moon.
Click here to view the full Class of 2016 album
Our school is sending a delegation of teachers and students to Japan for the fifth time. Mr. Bantz, Ms. Minckler, Ms. Binaso, and the nine student participants will all experience a homestay experience. During the day, the group will participate in school visits and cultural activities such as a traditional dance lesson. One of our students, Cheyann, will actually live in a Buddhist temple for 9 days. Her host father is the priest who runs the temple. Please look out for daily reports and pictures about our travels.
Ms. Minckler writes,
This is our first official group email from Japan. We have arrived safely in Nagoya and are currently on a train to our host families. Everyone is in good spirits……a little tired from so much flying……but super excited to begin our Japanese adventures.
After almost 20 hours of flying…
From Ms. Binaso,
Greetings from Nagoya!
After two flights, a train ride, and nearly twenty hours of traveling across the globe, we wearily stumbled off the train at Nishiharu Station, exhausted and dreaming only of sleep. However, as the students exited the train, their faces lit up as they saw their host families, holding beautiful signs welcoming them.
The host families greeted the students with hugs and to the outside observer, it didn’t look like a new meeting, but rather a family welcoming home a son or daughter who had simply been away on a long journey.
Each family quickly retired to their home, and each student was welcomed with a traditional Japanese meal. In the tradition of a true “Okaasan” (the Japanese word for “mother”), many parents ensured that their children felt at home and were well-prepared for the next day. Young Keun and Michael’s host “Okaasan” gave them each a large bowl of authentic Japanese snacks, and Katie’s mom wanted to make sure that she stayed hydrated under Japan’s scorching sun with a water bottle.
In the morning, each student was impressed by the delicious breakfasts, many a blend of traditional Japanese and Western dishes, that were prepared for them. With full bellies, eager to explore Japan, we all met at Noriko’s café. Then, we took a short walk to take the train to exchange our dollars for Yen. Many students, like Grace, Cheyann, and Philippe, stopped to take photographs along the way.
Several commented on the architecture of the houses, and Mr. Bantz stopped numerous times to point out beautiful gardens and explain tidbits about daily Japanese life. We were all also surprised to see that people drive on the left side of the road. Similarly, we must stand on the left side of the escalator and walk on the right to pass, which we finally all mastered by the end of the day.
Riding the subway gave us an insight into a lot of cultural norms in Japan. When waiting for the subway, everyone is very quiet, waiting on orderly white lines along the platform. We all also excitedly made our first purchase from a Japanese vending machine.
Students helped each other read the Japanese labels, and each tried a drink that they couldn’t get back in the States.
After exchanging money, we excitedly continued our journey to Nagoya Castle, where a Japanese television show was being filmed outside.
Mr. Bantz was interviewed for the program, where they asked him about which specialties from Nagoya he enjoys and whether Americans can eat miso- to which, he responded, “Of course!” Upon entering the castle gates, we were greeted by two Samurai warriors. As we ventured onto the grounds, students were struck by the beauty and size of the castle.
We took an elevator to the top of the castle, where many of our students, excited by all of the new, uniquely Japanese items and eager to put their Yen to good use, spent a little too much time at the gift shop. Britney had just enough time to purchase a beautiful pink scarf before Mr. Bantz reminded them to go explore the rest of the castle. It’s a good thing he did so, because our students were able to see huge scaled models of the castle grounds, Samurai swords, and traditional Japanese paintings on the various floors of the castle. Grace, Kaiwen, and Katie were particularly impressed by the Kinshachi, or elaborate, golden dolphins that adorn the castle.
After the excitement of exploring the castle, we headed to Nagoya University for lunch. After students asked Mr. Bantz for some recommendations, they were tasked with ordering their own food and greeting the cashier. For example, Young-Keun and Katie enjoyed delicious udon and ramen dishes, while Philippe selected the fish because “we’re on an archipelago!”
After lunch, we headed to the Osu shopping arcade, where students had some free time. We were all very surprised to see some Sumo wrestlers lunching at a café there! Most students made tiny purchases related to their interests, such as calligraphy pens, led pencils, and “gashapon.” By this time, it was time for us to head back to Noriko’s café so that the students could meet with their host families. As we returned, young children, on their bikes at dusk, greeted us with smiles and bows. The students were delighted to see that Noriko had prepared a delicious homemade cake for us that everyone enjoyed. Students topped their cake with ice cream and fresh fruits like bananas, pears, and cherries. When Grace didn’t know the word for “cherry,” she shyly asked her host mother, who happily replied, “sakuranbo.” Kevin, Philippe, and Michael excitedly shared their stories with each other, and then all of the students were picked up by their host families, who had prepared dinner. Later, students played games with host siblings and practiced calligraphy before going to sleep in preparation for our trip to Kyoto tomorrow! Tomorrow, we will take an early train to Kyoto, where we will visit many temples, see the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine, and have lunch at Kyoto University.
More to come tomorrow!
Greetings from Mr. Bantz,
Greetings from Kyoto! Today was a full day for our group with a packed schedule from early morning to late evening.
After having breakfast with their host families, the students traveled together with us to Kyoto by bullet train. Riding the bullet train is not just a means of transportation, but an experience in and of itself.
After arriving in Kyoto, we visited the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto Tower, Doshisha University, Kiyomizudera, and the Kawaramachi district.
The weather was on our side all day even though it rained heavily through the night and the forecast had called for rain.
Here are some pictures from today.
The full report will follow tomorrow.
As promised, a full report from Ms. Binaso,
Greetings from Japan!
This morning, Noriko’s cafe was brimming with creativity, heartfelt gratitude, and the blending of cultures. Cherry blossoms, lotus flowers, anime characters, cats, pagodas, and the Statue of Liberty were just a few of the images that adorned the fans our students created to thank those who have helped make our trip so memorable.
We have learned that the presentation of a small gift as a token of gratitude is a very important part of Japanese culture.
After creating our thank you gifts, we had a special meeting with Bunmei Yoshida, the Superintendent at Kitanagoya City Board of Education.
He spoke passionately about his educational philosophy, which centers around high standards for all students. He also showed our students workbooks that skillfully teach English and math at the same time, and our students agreed that this sounded like a great method!
After meeting with Mr. Yoshida, our students went to Tenjin Junior High School where we were welcomed by the school’s Principal. We were divided into groups, given a brief tour of the school, and then had lunch with a class.
Katie said she appreciated that so many students made an attempt to talk to her and ask her questions.
After lunch, the entire student body gathered in the gym. Each of our students garnered a resounding round of applause, as he/she confidently greeted the crowd and introduced him/herself in Japanese. The Japanese students had prepared introductions to some important aspects of Japanese culture, such as anime and food. Following an amazing taiko drumming performance, students from Tenjin taught our students how to play the drums as well as make colorful, intricate origami figures like cranes and boats.
When a special needs student, Rena, presented a beautiful, ornate piece of origami to each of our students, they thanked her profusely in Japanese.
Kaiwen, Katie, Britney, and Cheyann gave her a group hug, showing that friendship and empathy transcend oceans and differences.
After the origami workshop and the presentation of gifts, our students had worked up an appetite and enjoyed a traditional Japanese snack, dango. Then, each student participated in a fun bon odori dance hosted at the community center.
The volunteer dancers helped our students put on their yukatas, prepared by their host moms, of course, and we performed several traditional dances.
Some students chose to give a member of the dance troupe a fan from the morning as a token of their appreciation. Many of the host parents were filming the class, beaming with pride, as their new children, dressed in yukatas, performed the traditional dance, counting each step in Japanese.
More to come tomorrow!
More updates from Ms. Binaso,
Laughter pours from a calligraphy class in Nishio High School, as small groups of students collaborate to translate a student’s name into Kanji.
Students are seamlessly switching between Japanese and English, smiling, giggling, asking each other questions, and helping each other with brushstrokes. If not for the blue uniform, you may not have noticed that one high schooler from each group is actually an East-West student! Bonds are forming quickly! After their task is completed, Katie’s group surprises her by writing the Kanji symbol for love in calligraphy and addressing it to her, saying that they will miss her. She later tells me, “Japanese people are so nice!” A student from Britney’s group asks me to take a picture of them, as they all flash peace signs.
Upon our arrival to Nishio High School, our sister school, we were graciously welcomed by the Principal, Assistant Principal, and former and current teachers. The school had arranged for our students to be paired with a buddy for the day from Nishio. Their day commenced by going to two classes with their buddies.
Nishio teachers made sure to integrate our students as much as possible in the classroom. For example, Michael was asked to come up to the blackboard and show his work in Math class, while Katie was asked to read a paragraph aloud in English class. Kevin, Philippe, and Britney went to P.E. and joined in the Nishio ondo, the school’s take on a traditional Japanese dance.
In Grace’s classroom, three students had a birthday, and she loved watching how they celebrated (and pranked) each other.
After class, it was time for our much anticipated bento lunch! Many host Moms had woken up as early as 4 a.m. to prepare this traditional Japanese lunch for their host child. A typical bento includes fried chicken, multicolored vegetables, rice, potato salad, and even a “tako weiner” (So kawaii! Google “Tako weiner” to see what we are talking about.)
After lunch, which our students ate in their buddy’s classroom as per the Japanese custom, our students had so much fun learning judo and kendo.
The instructor was very impressed when he learned that some of our students had already taken judo classes back in New York.
Then, we participated in a traditional tea ceremony in which we were served matcha and traditional tea ceremony seasonal sweets.
The relationships between our students as well as between our students and Japanese students are flourishing.
Nishio students had prepared a large bag of Japanese snacks, each with a special message written on it. Philippe and Kevin are already plotting to come back to Japan in two years on the next East-West trip! And several students are even talking about living in Japan for some time in the future!
More to come tomorrow!
Today was Family Day, which means that our students spent the whole day with their host families. Many host families asked their host child what he or she would like to do on this special day.
Grace’s family had a barbecue in her honor.
Kevin’s family hosted a welcome party for him.
Michael’s family took him to the aquarium and anime shops.
Later they went to a kaiten zushi restaurant.
Katie and Britney enjoyed some teppanyaki with their host families.
Kaiwen spent some quality time with her host sister.
We can’t wait to hear what Philippe, Young Keun, and Cheyann did today!
More to come tomorrow!
We are happy to report that the last day of activities went smoothly and that a great time was had by all. Many of the students are saying that they are not ready to go back home yet and that they want to stay in Japan longer.
Our group will meet just 10 hours from now to travel to the airport and begin our return home. Please arrive by 6:30 PM on July 4th to JFK Terminal 1 arrivals area to pick up your child. We’ve taken this same flight in the past and it usually arrives early and then we go through immigration and customs fairly quickly.
All of our students have shown their best sides and demonstrated significant personal growth to represent themselves, our school, and our country well. Each participant will return with a richer understanding of Japanese culture and a different worldview, in addition to their stories and pictures.
Kyudo, which means The Way of the Bow, or Japanese Archery.
Thank you to everyone for your support in making this trip a success. The trip would not be possible without the dedication and perseverance of each family. Special thanks to Mr. Sherman for creating this vision of an immersive cultural experience that is unmatched at other schools, to Ms. Noriko Aoki, who screens our host families and dedicates herself to taking care of our students and teachers, to our PTA for supporting our trip, and to Ms. Minckler and Ms. Binaso, who soaked up as much of the Japan experience as possible while keeping busy taking care of our students.
See you Monday evening.
Click here to view more photos of our experience in Japan.
High School Students and Ms.An making Kimchi
East-West is offering the opportunity for interested students to apply to the 2nd Annual StarTalk Korean Language and Culture Program. This is a FREE 5 week summer enrichment program for 30 High School and 30 Middle School students. The program is designed to give students the chance to learn about Korea through cooking classes, formal language instruction, Taekwondo classes and much more.
The program will start on June 30th through August 5 from 8 AM to 2 PM, Monday through Friday.
For more information, please contact Kent Kleiman, StarTalk Program Director at the East-West School of International Studies by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past summer, East-West offered students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Korean Language and Culture through the StarTalk Program.
Making and sharing kim chi.
Middle Schools learn how to make bimbimbap
Class trip to H Mart, a Korean supermarket.
Trip to Korean H-Mart
Our hardworking, dedicated PTA Parents wowed the staff this morning with a cornucopia breakfast spread of baked goods, fruits, coffee and juice from Panera Bread. A centerpiece of inflatable balloons in the shape of flowers in a vase added to the festive event.
Many thanks to our PTA parents for not only supporting our teachers and staff, but for nourishing our soul.