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Celebrating a Season of Gratitude at ISI

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
William Arthur Ward

For many of us, the holidays kick off a season of thanks and giving. This November, we are embracing the spirit of the season, and expressing our gratitude with a new social media series, “30 days of Thanks.” We have much to be thankful for here at the International School of Indiana:

Experiences: Welcoming 500 returning students and 100 first time students during back to school week; music and theatrical performances, cultural presentations, celebrations of school units and student-learner profile achievements; cross country meets, tennis matches, and volleyball and soccer games; and a host of club activities and enrichment classes.

Traditions: Ice Cream Social, Homecoming, Fall Festival, Math Night, College Counseling sessions and field trips. Our exceptional weeklong International Baccalaureate Program camp for 11th graders and our shorter overnight Happy Hollow trip for 4th graders.

People: Engaged students working hard in their classes and actively involved in school life. An excellent team of faculty and staff working to offer world-class academics in a supportive and close-knit setting. Superb families and friends supporting activities both in and outside of the classroom, and volunteering on committees, the Parent Association and the Board.

And so much more…
There is a saying that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. We don’t want this Thanksgiving season to pass without taking time to extend our gratitude to all those who make this a vibrant community. — Though there is not always a forum to share it, know we are inspired by your energy, attitude, and enthusiasm throughout the year, and we thank you for the difference you make to our school community.

Look for our social posts, pictures, and highlights daily throughout the month of November. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and watch for posts here celebrating ISI’s 30 days of thanks. We hope you’ll join us by sharing your gratitude with those who make your ISI experience meaningful. Share a note of gratitude with a student, faculty member, or family that you are thankful for, or give thanks by submitting your posts tagging the school at @theISIND and using hashtag #ISI30DaysOfThanks.

Our 30 days of thanks are just getting started.



Kicking off our 30 days of thanks yesterday, we asked Upper School students to help us make a gratitude tree. We had a table set with leaves for the students to fill out, telling us what they are thankful for in the ISI community. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude and love from the students and the thoughtfulness they presented as they filled out thier leaves. The reactions in the hallway as students and teachers alike pass the gratitude tree is priceless. Enjoy this video that marks day two of our #ISI30DaysOfThanks!



Today we are thankful for cultural diversity and having a community who values it.  Three components within the school vision statement focus on diversity:

  1. Effective communicators in multiple languages
  2. Able to collaborate with others across linguistic and cultural boundaries
  3. Individuals who value differences

This is for good reason; the school’s supportive, diverse environment encourages compassion and citizenship in addition to high academic and personal achievement with emphasis on the core values of respect, responsibility, and effort. Students are taught that differences in viewpoint and culture are to be cherished and appreciated and are immersed in a rich cultural environment that is far different from the microcosmic environment that is present at other local schools. A result of the school’s culturally-centered instructional approach is that it facilitates cultural pride. This pride was demonstrated last week at the school-wide Hispanic/Portuguese Culture celebration. Students celebrated their heritages by parading with flags as well as performing traditional dances and wearing traditional costumes.  Here is a short video of the occasion:



On day four, we have a special message from Mrs. Trina Haygaru, the Lower School Principal.  She expresses her sentiment so eloquently that no additional explanation is necessary. She is thankful for our parents and we know that our parents are thankful for her. Thank you, Mrs. Trina!



After yesterday’s nod to the Lower School, now we move to the far end of the continuum and have a message from our seniors of the class of 2018. They were asked how long they have been at ISI (they ranged from 6 months to from pre-elementary) and what they were the most thankful for. This film was made by ISI student, Margot Schwarz.



Today we are thankful for parents in our community! This weekend was the Wine Tasting event hosted by International School of Indiana parents. The pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was packed with ISI parents, board members and friends of the school. Guests enjoyed excellent hand-picked wines from France, Spain, and the United States as well as delicious hors-d’oeuvres and fine chocolate. Entertainment for the evening included music played by our own Head of School, Mr. Garner, local D.J., Daniel Roman, fast laps, a live auction, and a raffle.  The event was 100% parent-sponsored and all proceeds directly benefit the International School of Indiana. Thank you to all the family and friends who attended the event. A special thanks go out to the parent hosts who sponsored, planned and orchestrated the event: Jarrod and Megan Krisiloff, Dan and Amy Willis, Julie Moyers and Juli Nevin, Chuck and Kimmy Armantrout of New Home Realty, Inc,  Craig and Diana Caldwell, Dr. Terry Iwasko and Susan Holec-Iwasko, Darrin and Florence Belcher.

Enjoy this short video of the evening or you can see pictures on our flicker page.



Today we are thankful for our fantastic students and teachers embracing the school’s mission and vision.  As part of their unit of inquiry, “Water is Life,” Grade 3 students chose to collect water purification tablets for Puerto Rico which was recently ravaged by hurricanes, leaving the island with little power and no potable water.  Students and teachers requested tablets or donations from the ISI community and far exceeded their goal of 1000 water purification tablets. By focusing their efforts on helping Puerto Rico, students demonstrate that they are concerned for the well-being of others, as well as being global citizens and leaders in the school.



The High School students provide today’s message of thanks. They were asked what they loved most about ISI and provided very thoughtful responses: close knit community, language education, diversity and more. It is clear that they love the school. We are so grateful to our wonderful Upper School students who make our community so vibrant. This video was filmed and edited by ISI student, Margot Schwarz.



Mrs. Sinitsky has been a part of the International School of Indiana for over 20 years and has been a part of teaching many of the grades at the school. She currently serves as an Upper School teacher and the Head of Math as well as leading the Timmy Club. In her message, she thanks the students! We know that the students are thankful for her too.



Today we would like to say thanks to the crew that feeds the whole school. Mr. Vernon Kittrell and the Aladdin Food Services team work hard each day to have plentiful, nutritious and delicious food for the students and staff. They go out of their way to accommodate those of us with food allergies or aversions and do so with humor and love. Vernon has a message to go back out to the students and families in thanks as well.



Athletics are essential to the life and spirit of a school. Today we are thankful to Athletic Director, Mr. Joel O’Neil, as well as the coaches and ALL of our student athletes and supporters.



Today we celebrate all of our Lower School teachers but want to give special thanks to Lingyan Shao. She was selected as “The Teacher of the Year” in Chinese teaching by the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association. It is apparent why she deserved this award from this sweet picture drawn for her by Lexi Whiteside.

























Today we share a message from alumna, Monica Thomas Morrissey, of the Class of 2004 (our first graduating class). She is thankful for ISI broadening her worldview. We are thankful for alumni who come back to visit us.



Yesterday during their faculty meeting, Upper School faculty participated in a shout-out session where they acknowledged their peers for their efforts. What a great positive experience to compliment our fellow teacher and let them know that we see them and what they do. Enjoy some video snippets of the meeting. Today we are thankful for our teachers at all levels.



Last week we featured the Upper School students and what they were most thankful for in the school. This week we present the Lower School students and what they like most about the school- friends, art, community, lunch, gym and more. It is clear that these students love their school.
Video credit: ISI Senior, Nancy Huynh.



Today we are thankful for celebrations! Lower School parents are very familiar with the many celebrations that the school holds. There are cultural celebrations, learner profile celebrations, and end of unit celebrations. These celebrations are a chance for students to have an authentic audience of both their peers in their tracks, their peers throughout the school, and their families. Being able to perform in front of people integrates with the Primary Years Program curriculum and helps students build self-esteem and confidence. Just recently the kindergarten classes celebrated the end of their reduce, reuse, recycle unit. Check out this video highlighting their event.



Today we are thankful for the community support of the International School of Indiana Travel Auction, a 24-year tradition supporting programs at the International School of Indiana. From those who donate items, attend the event, bid on items, to those who assist in planning and orchestrating the event; the Travel Auction touches most of the ISI community in some way. Mrs. Sarah Payton, Director of Community Advancement, gives her thanks in this message.



One of my favorite events at the International School of Indiana is the Wax Museum organized and implemented by the Grade 4 students. Other schools may do a similar project as a way to bring history to life, but do they do it in 4 languages? Grade 4 students from the different language tracks research a historical figure that they will represent in the Wax Museum and decide what information is important to present, then they prepare that information in both English and in their target language and allow the audience to select which they would like to hear. Today we are thankful for opportunities to bring education to life in the way that only ISI teachers and students can.



Today we are thankful for our community being a part of the larger Indianapolis community. Recently ISI students took a field trip to the International Festival of Indianapolis and enjoyed the diversity and pluriculturalism present in Indianapolis. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to see a mosaic of cultures as rich as that which is within the school and attend an event that aligns with our mission.

International Festival of Indianapolis



Today we are thankful for our student-athletes. Last Friday we had a Fall Sports Assembly. All students who participated in Fall Sports received a certificate and students who played at varsity level got their letters. Students who were recognized by the IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletics Association), were also called up to be acknowledged for their achievements by their peers. It is truly remarkable how many students at the school participate in athletics! Thank you to all of our student-athletes for showing your #ISIPride by participating in sports for the school.



Artistic expression is an important part of the ISI curriculum and life. From painting, sculpting, and 3D printing, to singing, playing an instrument or acting, ISI students do it all (during the school’s Cabaret event, teachers and administration perform too). Enjoy this brief video with snippets of some of the school performances so far this year. Today we are thankful for art in our community!



Diversity in our community has been a constant theme throughout the thankful thread for our #ISI30DaysOfThanks. Today we are thankful for another form of diversity, diversity in traditions. It is amazing to see students working on putting up various holiday decorations to represent different traditions.




Mr. Garner, the Head of School at the International School of Indiana, provides today’s message of thanks and adds-
“I would like to thank all of you – parents, students, faculty, staff, Board members, friends and supporters of the school – for the opportunity to work with you all in creating our uniquely diverse and international community of learners right here in Indiana. In particular, I thank our adults for giving our students an education that allows them to be proud representatives of their own heritage, yet eager and able to embrace others, and for equipping them with the understandings and critical skills to chart a successful and principled course through our increasingly complex world. Happy Thanksgiving!”




The administrative assistants throughout the school serve as the front line for everyone who walks in the door. They serve as band-aid dispenser, adviser to all, keeper of the peace, biggest fan, and the person who knows everything about whatever is going on. We are so thankful to have this great team. Today’s message is from Mrs. Torres, Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Long and Mrs. Weiss.



Yesterday we had thankful messages from our front line, today we move into the classroom and some of our other administration. This is a video made by student Yuxin Mo. The people featured in the video were asked to describe the ISI community in one word.



We need to give our alumni a little bit more love. So today we are going to give our gratitude for all of our alumni. We are so grateful for their involvement in the school – from coming back for Timmy Games, coming to visit friends and teachers, to checking in to let us know about their successes. It is always exciting to hear from them!

Check out what Connor Gehlert is doing now:

Here is a message from Marcos Paya: “I started at ISI in 2001, graduated in 2009, and then attended Cambridge University in the UK, where I studied politics. I then went into strategy consulting (Monitor Group and Deloitte), based out of London but doing projects across Europe, in North Africa, Asia, and Latin America. I then completed my master’s degree in economics and public administration at Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris.

I am now living and working in New York City, where I advise organizations on political risk in Latin America. On the side, I advise a start-up political movement that is preparing to run in the 2019 European Parliament elections.

ISI gave me the invaluable tools to live and work in four languages and have friends who are now across the world. I very much miss the glory days of the ‘Erkut generation’ soccer sectionals champs!”



Today we are thankful for languages and language education in our community. Language immersion in French, Mandarin, and Spanish is a big part of the lives of our Lower School community and translates to students that are bilingual or trilingual in the Upper School. Language education has tremendous benefits to the brain as well as cultural understanding. Enjoy this brief video of our Lower School students embracing their languages.



Merci, 谢谢 Xiè Xiè, Gracias, Thank You

Today we would like to express our gratitude for those who support the school. This support is shown through a great number of activities – participating on the Parent Association, serving as class parent, attending school functions, funding projects to improve an area of the school, providing materials or outright donations. The generosity of our community makes a difference in each classroom, each day, each year, for each student.

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

Kathy Calvin



“The fabulous shelf end panels are now installed in the ISI Lower School Library! These are the final touches to the library relocation project at 49th. Many thanks go to Facility Concepts, the Weaver family, the Parents Association, and the ISI Sleepover Fund. Also a HUGE thank you to the volunteers and patient ISI staff. It could not have been done without you.” Lisa Engelhardt



On our second to last day, we have a special message from Mr. Tim Veale, the Upper School Principal.  Mr. Veale expresses why he is thankful for our community as both an educator and as a parent. Thank you, Mr. Veale!



There is so much to be thankful for in the International School of Indiana community. Each and every member makes a significant contribution to the life of the school. We hope you enjoyed our #ISI30DaysOfThanks series. Though the series may be done, the gratitude goes on. We invite you to continue to express your thanks by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and sharing your gratitude with those who make your ISI experience meaningful. Share a note of gratitude with a student, faculty member, or family that you are thankful for, or give thanks by posting to social media (tag the school at @theISIND and using hashtag #ISIPride).


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