Year In Review

Your continued support goes a long way.

Dear HKIS Community,

On behalf of the entire PFO Board, I would like to once again thank you all - the parents, faculty, students and administration of HKIS - for your extremely generous support this year, whether it be of your time, talents, financial resources or donations. As always, your contributions helped the PFO to put on multiple community events and projects while at the same time raising the funds that we give back to the school to make it an even more phenomenal learning environment for our children. It has been my absolute honor to serve as PFO President the past five years and as the VP of Community for three years before that. I am thrilled to be handing over the reigns of leadership to my very capable fellow board member and friend, Karena Belin. Her energy, enthusiasm and talents will take the PFO to the next level and I look forward to continuing to be involved with the PFO’s activities and projects next year.

So much has gone on again this year with the PFO, perhaps most notably our two major community events and fundraisers! Who can forget the amazingly fun Pumpkin Festival that almost didn’t happen because of Mother Nature? The turnout at that fair was fantastic! I think that everyone was ready for some entertainment after being cooped up for a couple of days. Our other big event, the 50th Anniversary Vintage HKIS World’s Fair was one for the record books, both financially and from the standpoint of community bonding and celebration of history. Vintage HKIS was visually stunning and nostalgic in every area of the fair, and the incredibly delicious offerings from our impressive Family Food groups were highlights once again this year. These hardworking families blew past last year’s numbers to make this World’s Fair the most successful event in PFO history! More important than the financial success to me, though, has been watching how these groups have grown and welcomed new members to their ranks, fostering the sense of community that is the embodiment of what the PFO stands for. Teamwork really does make the dream work!

In addition to our two main events, the PFO continued to sell, support, plan and/or fully sponsor many projects this year. This list evolves and changes based on different priorities both for the PFO and the school. I wanted to give everyone a heads up that in 2017-18, we will no longer be offering the PFO wall or pocket calendars. The reason for this stems primarily from our commitment to support the school’s efforts in the area of sustainability, as well as from our desire to make sure that you have the most updated information at all times. The past few years, late changes to the calendar have resulted in several significant incorrect dates. Previously, HKIS was unable to provide a high-level overview, printable calendar option like what was offered by the PFO, but going forward this option will be available on the HKIS website. Not only will you be able to have all of the major holidays, school-wide and divisional events on your mobile and PC devices, updated in real time, but if you do want printable monthly versions in either A3 or A4 size, they will be available for download as well! The handy contact list in the back of the calendar will be on the website as a PDF, too.

In 2016-17, the PFO’s projects and contributions included the following:

  • Pumpkin Festival.
  • Vintage HKIS World’s Fair.
  • LP, UP and MS Book Fairs.
  • New Family Meet + Greet.
  • New Parent Breakfast (August) and New Parent Lunch (January).
  • Parent-to-Parent Mentor Program.
  • Hong Kong Walkabouts.
  • Back to School Nights.
  • Chinese New Year Assemblies + Commemorative Bookmark.
  • Chinese New Year Staff Dinner.
  • LP and UP Library Donations.
  • High School and Middle School volunteer rewards.
  • PFO Calendars & Cookbook.
  • Beautiful Wrapping Paper with a Hong Kong theme.
  • Year of the Rooster Chinese New Year and 50th Anniversary Apparel.

The PFO’s financial contributions to the HKIS community totaled more than $600,000 for 2016-17, some of which are described below:

Divisional Allocations – Each division is entitled to up to $50,000 from the PFO to fund projects that support the SLRs. The divisions spent their money as follows:

  • Lower Primary used their allocation to fund a visit from Estêvão Marques as part of the artist-in-residence program for Global Arts week and International Day Spring 2017.
  • Upper Primary once again used a portion of their money to support the very popular IMAGINE HKIS, which took place in May for the 5th year in a row with more than 400 people participating! They also hosted a well-attended Family Author Night with Michael Buckley.
  • Middle School purchased mini classroom libraries for all 10 Language Arts classes. The books are benefiting all MS students and the LA teachers are very grateful.
  • High School found a variety of uses for their funds this year. Dr. Anisha Abraham returned to talk to seniors, some Spanish students learned some Latin dancing, and the Math and Science Center applied for some supplies. Bubble soccer on the field debuted as a new fun activity for Spirit Day on May 19 as well.

Faculty Education – This year we were excited to use $20,000 of the proceeds from our Cookbook sales to sponsor faculty participation in a fantastic literacy conference, and we still have a bit more money left to support more faculty education in 2017-18.

Teacher Appreciation Week is one of our favorite and most fun weeks of the year and we couldn’t do it without you! The PFO provided a metal water bottle to all the teachers and treated them to a special lunch, too. The delicious lunch from NOSH was very well-received, and the desserts you provided may have been even more popular! You donated nearly 500 gift cards, allowing us to give a $100 gift card to every single person who works at HKIS! Additional wine donations from parents will be used at end-of-year faculty celebrations. We have received so many messages of thanks and we wish to underscore that we could not have done it without your generosity!

We are very proud of our High School Merit Scholarships. This year the PFO will award merit scholarships to eight deserving students from the Junior and Senior classes. Each scholarship is worth $12,500 for a total contribution of $100,000.

Volunteer Programs – We could not have our events without our amazing MS and HS volunteers! They comprise the majority of our volunteers at both of our two major schoolwide events. High School students earn money that they can put toward their classes, clubs or charities. Middle School students who volunteer are treated to a pizza party at lunch and a free dress day after the events. In 2016-17, the PFO paid $33,330 to these hard-working students.

Parent-to-Parent Mentors – I want to stress how incredibly crucial and important your support is for this program! This coming school year, we will be welcoming 445 new students from 367 new families. (Yes, you read that correctly!) Please consider volunteering to serve as a mentor, particularly if you are a Lower Primary family. This does not have to be a huge time commitment. Most new families are just looking for a point of contact in their early weeks and months in the community, but you could end up like me with some wonderful new friends from the process. We hear time and time again how grateful people are to know they have someone they can email or text when a question comes up, whether it be how to find the class list on PowerSchool or who your favorite dentist is.

Extended Community Contributions and Partnerships - Word has gotten out that the PFO loves to support other groups and we were thrilled to see our leftover books go to many worthy causes this year, including some outstanding student-sponsored projects. We also worked with the Lower Primary, High School and Scouts with the World’s Fair in terms of sharing of resources to maximize value and reduce the environmental impact.

I want to reiterate that it would be impossible for the PFO to accomplish all that happens each and every year without the help and support of the entire community. Whether you volunteered for one hour or many hours; served as a mentor; donated gifts, food, toys or vouchers; purchased our products or attended our events with your families, you contributed to our efforts and we appreciate it. There are no words for how gratifying it is to see people work together to help us give such a significant amount back to the school both financially and from a community-building perspective.

I am pleased to announce the PFO Board for 2017-18:

President – Karena Belin

Senior Vice President – Celine O’Connor

Secretary – Renee Yip Tang

Treasurer – Renate Chu

Past Officer – Sharene Mak

VP Events – Dominique Bradley

VP Communications – Eva Lind-Mallo

VP Community – Prescille Cernosia

VP Membership – Amy Turner

VP Hospitality – Karen Wells Jackson

LP Divisional Rep – Michelle Bang

UP Divisional Rep – Namrata Dhanuka

MS Divisional Rep – Jill Nielsen

HS Divisional Rep – Pattie Gordon

Dr. Alan Runge and Dr. Ron Roukema, Maziar Sabet, Dean McLachlan, Maya Nelson, Jennifer DeLashmutt, Paul Passamonte and Patrick Hurworth - it has truly been my honor and pleasure to work with all of you and your teams over the years. Alan and Patrick - I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors. I also cannot thank my extremely capable and hard-working board and all of the committee members enough for your commitment to the PFO and to making HKIS the strongest possible community it can be. You made my job easy, and for that I am humbled and forever grateful.

Have a fantastic and rejuvenating summer and to those who are moving on, best of luck to you! I look forward to seeing the rest of you when we all return in August.


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Beth McNicholas
PFO President 2016-17

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 2016-17 in Pictures



Pumpkin Festival

Chinese New Year Assemblies

50th Anniversary HKIS PFO World's Fair

Vintage HKIS: A Trip Down Memory Lane

A very special Thank You to all of our amazing volunteers this past year!

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See you in August!

PFO Slideshow