A little after 8:00am on a Tuesday morning, I left Mme. Greiner a confused phone message: “Would it be possible to have a recommendation letter for my son…today?” With collaboration from Mme. Lepert, a meticulous letter was ready at noon. When I came to pick it up, I was warmly greeted by Nicole at the front desk, I conversed with Ms. Schall, and I shared some precious moments with Mme. Greiner. This experience reminded me how much I truly miss INTL*.
Seven years ago, after a presentation to new parents, Mr. Dietz casually spent an hour with me answering all my questions, sharing his educational philosophy, his vision for the school, the challenges of education today, and his experiences as a teacher and a headmaster. Mr. Dietz’s thoroughness and thoughtfulness on that day only foreshadowed what was to come: a school that executes its mission to the letter, and much beyond.
That night, as my son was preparing to transfer from a private American school to a French immersion school, I was mostly concerned about the transition process. I was seeking reassurance that this time around, we chose well. In our school search, I had read many school mission statements. But as the years went by, I realized that it takes more than a mission statement to create an inclusive, welcoming environment that prepares a child for the world of tomorrow; it takes a whole committed community – the INTL community.
From the first admission tour led by Maggie Parkinson and the evaluation session by Mme. Hayat, I realized how special the INTL community is. Red Carpet Night, Arts Night, musical events, and theatrical performances by the students gave further proof. I will never forget the reassurances from Ms. Colin before the trip to Bléarncourt and from Mme. Greiner before the exchange program with La Source. They assured me, “we’ll take good care of him…he will be just fine…he will have a most memorable experience.” All this proved to be true. Through countless conversations with teachers, the transition to middle school, and counseling for high school, the school community was incessantly at work executing its mission. INTL created an inclusive environment that emphasized respect and collaboration, and provided a safe place for my son to grow intellectually and personally.
Now that my son has graduated I can see the whole INTL experience with a bird’s eye view. The different pieces of the puzzle, including the indispensible efforts of the advancement office and the collaboration of parents supporting the school, all came together to create an ideal learning environment.
In November 2010, Mr. Dietz posted a blog entitled “A Big Order,” about the personal letter President Abraham Lincoln wrote to the school’s headmaster when it came time for him to send one of his children to school. The words Mr. Lincoln wrote rang true for my own INTL experience: “Teach him, if you can, the wonder of a book...but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hill side… teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong… Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon...Teach him to listen to all men...but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through…Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.”
To every one at INTL, I wish to convey my deepest appreciation and my immeasurable gratitude for being there for my family and my son through the educational journey, teaching him not only the curriculum, but also so much more.
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.