DragonWaves - Podcast Series
During class suspension in the time of Covid-19, the HKIS community came together to support each other, develop creative solutions to continue learning, and think about how this situation has changed our world.
Dragonwaves - HKIS On The Air is a podcast series produced by the Advancement and Marketing Office and features guest speakers who share their perspective on home learning, school closures, and other topics related to our school. Hear leaders, experts in their field, and other members of the community share about their experience, some of their thoughts behind decisions that were made during the class suspension, and their views on education at HKIS and around the world.
What Makes HKIS Special? Community members at HKIS will agree we have a pretty special school, but what exactly is it that makes it so special? Hear from former Head of School James Handrich as he talks about his 24 years at HKIS and his perspective on what it takes to make a great school. Educators, HR professionals, and parents alike will gain amazing insights, while alumni and former faculty will enjoy hearing from their beloved leader from the 80s and 90s.
Guests: Jim Handrich
Hear from two HKIS Alums, Tyler Kusunoki ‘03 and Kevin Kusunoki ‘08, talk about the college application process, the effect it has on the mental health of teenagers, and some tips on how to manage the stress. Kevin is the Young Adults pastor at Island Evangelical Community Church in Hong Kong and Tyler is the Director of Admissions Counseling at Tokyo Academics.
Listen for some fun flashbacks to their days at HKIS! Today, our High School has eight counselors working in pairs to meet the social-emotional needs and academic planning challenges facing students in Grades 9 through 12. HKIS students and parents can get a full picture of student support, circa 2022 here.
Guests: Tyler Kusunoki ‘03 and Kevin Kusunoki ‘08.
Every year, 12th graders at HKIS complete a Senior Project, where they are challenged to dive into a passion project or try to go deep into a new topic.
This year, Dragonwaves is featuring two of these projects — first, Geneva Cheng and Hayden Ma created a prosthetic arm, and second, Lenny Luo, Benjamin Ting and Noah Livingston talk about creating a feature film.
As different as these projects are, all of these students have the same message to future seniors: Challenge yourselves! Do projects that push you outside of your comfort zone, and you will be rewarded with a great experience.
Guests: Geneva Cheng, Noah Livingston, Lenny Luo, Hayden Ma, Benjamin Ting
Music excerpt: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Opus 18, No. 4 (First Movement) by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by the quartet.
On April 1, pools and beaches re-opened for the first time in four months. Ella Healy, HKIS's Director of Aquatics, shares how she ran "online swimming" classes while pools were closed, and Andrew Bridle describes some scary moments on Hong Kong's beaches. Finally, David Pool, Head Coach of the Hong Kong Island Stingrays Swim Club, tells us how our competitive swimmers stayed fit and motivated during pool closure and why open water swimming is a great way for the club to adapt to these new conditions.
You might be surprised to know that Hong Kong has the lowest rate of family literacy in the world, less than ⅓ of the international average. We invited new HKIS Board member, Michelle Bang, and HKIS librarians, Laura Chesebro and Amy Robinson, to discuss the importance of promoting reading at home and an exciting new search engine called ‘Find Me A Book’ that helps parents identify the right books for their kids.
It wasn't until a friend convinced junior Juan Lucas Umali to run for Senator for Student Life that he realized he'd found his calling - to find a way to make sure everyone felt like part of the High School community. "I want to continue building that culture of love and collaboration [at HKIS]. No matter what grade you are, wherever you're from, who you are -- you have a place at here at HKIS." Tune in to hear more about Juan Lucas's journey to leadership, and how he wants to build stronger connections among the different grades in High School.
Guests: Dave Lovelin, Connie Kim, Ben Hart, Geoff Heney
Guests: Leontine Chuang '93, Rick Johannessen '92, Beth McNicholas
With classes suspended during the second semester of the school year, the pressure was mounting for Seniors who had conditional offers with colleges, and Juniors who were just starting the process of selecting desired schools and preparing for their applications. Aaron Hollingshead is one of eight High School counselors serving our High School students to help them through this precarious time of Covid-19. While the pressures are real, students have been resilient, and colleges have adjusted their expectations. In this episode, Aaron shares his insights with us on how the students are coping.
Guests: Aaron Hollingshead, High School Counselor
Classes have been suspended for 14 weeks, but many of our students remain passionate about service. Elanna and Annalise wanted to do something to help those in need in Hong Kong amid the Coronavirus crisis and looked for ways to do this while social distancing. Tune in to hear about their video project to bring exercise to kids in need!
Guests: Elanna (Grade 10) and Annalise (Grade 8)
The HKIS IT department’s most critical task: Keeping home learning up and running. Hear from Roy Bas, the head of IT, about his past week, and how an emergency kept him and his team onsite day and night to ensure our students can access home learning. An HKIS alumnus, Roy also shares about his days as a student at HKIS.
Guests: Roy Bas, Head of Information Technology
We speak with Brent Brayko, our High School Associate Principal of Teaching and Learning, about the challenges of switching to an online program overnight, how to make sure students are engaged and learning while off-campus, and what new discoveries may stay with us beyond the covid closure.
Guests: Brent Brayko, High School Associate Principal, Teaching & Learning
How does bookmaking and writers workshop transform our students into strong writers? Our Lower Primary teachers sit with us to explain the writing process and how they incorporate methods proven to help students progress from level to level.
Parents might find this podcast useful to understand how the writing curriculum was modified to complement digital learning for our youngest students at home.
Mekala Weerakoon, Grade 2 teacher
Priyanka D’Costa, R1 teacher
Kristina Kyle, Grade 1 teacher and literacy coordinator
Meet Jacci and Siena Grawburg, an HKIS family overcoming the challenges that develop between the parent and child while navigating through home learning.
Jacci Grawburg, HKIS Parent
Siena Grawburg, Grade 4 Student
Upper Primary principal, Ben Hart, shares his experience from the day the Hong Kong government announced class suspensions on February 1 to the first eight weeks of home learning for over 600 students in Grades 3 to 5.
Ben Hart, Upper Primary Principal
Hear from three of our counselors at HKIS as they discuss wellbeing for students and parents during the extended class suspension. Topics include social isolation, screentime, family dynamics, and social media.
John Everett, Grade 7 counselor
Kevin Fields, Grade 4 counselor
Kate Gardner, Reception 2 counselor
Special thanks to Weilyn Chong '20 for recording our intro, Laura Lorentzen and Danielle Solan, our Lower Primary music teachers, for creating our theme song, and to Hillary Sandeen from Alumni Relations for creating our Dragonwaves logo.