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Jay Pritzker Academy is dedicated to educating academically talented and motivated students from families in rural Cambodia, to maximize their potential and their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their country

Jay Pritzker Academy (JPA) is a Pre-K - 13 co-ed day school, located approximately 16 kms (10 miles) from Siem Reap, Cambodia. JPA provides a challenging college-preparatory curriculum taught by inspired and inspiring teachers. Our English-medium curriculum is based on the successful and highly regarded Providence St. Mel approach to research based instruction. Currently, 462 girls and boys from surrounding villages attend JPA. We have a faculty of over 80 ex-pat and Cambodian teachers and aides delivering our English medium and Cambodian National curricula.

BOOK WEEK

Monday, 12th November 2018

Story Time in the Library. Book: The Day the Crayons Quit

Poems by Grade 6 Inspired by
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Once again this year our lower school celebrated Book Week. Classes spent the week examining a selected character, book, author or genre. Teachers organized numerous activities to promote the love of literature.

The most popular activity was ‘reading buddies’ as students across the school partnered with younger students to share their favorite books.

Roattana, Grade 3, said, “I partnered with Panyapich from Grade 2 and we read Amelia Bedelia on the Job which is a great book. It was my favorite part of the week as I love reading books and it was so much fun to share with someone else.”

Dany, Grade 3, said, “We chose our favorite characters from all of the books that we had ever read. There are so many good books to choose from. My favorite book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I read it in Grade 2 and again this year. I love it when Charlie finds the golden ticket.”

At the end of the week, classes visited the library throughout the day to listen to guest teachers from both lower and high school reading their favorite stories. Grade 1 teacher, Ms. Brady, read a book, new to many, called The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This hilarious book has quickly become a new favorite with the students as well as the teachers.

Thanks to all the lower school teachers for providing such enjoyable opportunities for students to learn and explore the wonderful world of reading.


Story Time in the Library. Book: The Gruffalo

MODEL UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE IN PHNOM PENH

Tuesday, 6th November 2018

Students from our Model United Nations (MUN) class recently participated in an MUN conference at the International School of Phnom Penh, joining over 15 schools from across South-East Asia. The conference covered topics such as: cyber-warfare security, regulation of cryptocurrencies, digital privacy, and the preservation of indigenous culture and language.



KhemaraRatanaSophairathSenglySrey OnMonikaSokhvisal

Mr. McBride, MUN co-ordinator, said, “Highlights of the trip included the first JPA student to hold the position of Head Chair at a senior MUN conference and the fact that a number of our students were nominated to draft and submit resolutions. Whilst there is room for improvement, these are sure signs of the growing confidence of our students.”

Students shared their reflections below:


Right to Left - Thida, Lin, Sokuntheary

Vanny, Grade 11.
“As a delegate in General Assembly three, it was enjoyable to be part of some passionate debates. The discussions over the question of the preservation of language and culture and the rights of children were particularly engaging. Delegates all had a say when deciding how to ensure that children of imprisoned parents should be protected and raised properly.”


Komin (front)

Sareth, Grade 11.
“I represented the country of Nepal in the Human Rights Council. I took on the challenge by drafting and submitting a resolution on the topic of preventing the exploitation of youth for military purposes. Being the delegate responsible for writing a resolution means having to make many speeches to convince other delegates to support your proposal. However, I and the other delegates managed to write what I thought was an exceptional resolution. Others agreed as many delegates voted for our resolution and it passed. During the debate, there were two delegates who were particularly skeptical about our resolution. As their countries permitted child soldiers, they repeatedly demanded that I make an amendment to allow for voluntary child soldiers. I didn’t attach the amendment, so those countries abstained from voting. It was such an enjoyable debate as I was able to connect with some of the topics I have learned in political science class such as human rights, social dilemmas, and citizenship for refugees. In the end, I was glad to write a resolution and proud that it passed.”


Chantrea (center)

Ratana, Grade 12.

“We debated cryptocurrency regulation. We discussed the growth of electronic payments across the globe, leading towards a cashless society. However, we voiced concern at the lack of regulation that is in place to protect consumers and the danger that cryptocurrency can be used to trade in illegal goods.

“This was my first MUN conference, and it was unforgettable. It was great to see students of different nationalities come together to debate global issues.”

Chanmolis, Grade 12.
“This year I held the role of Head Chair of the Economic and Social Committee, and I enjoyed every single moment of it.

“On the first day, I had to manage the committee alone as my Deputy Chair was delayed at the airport. However, it was a positive day as we prepared many written resolutions. When I got back to the hotel, I shared the resolutions with my Deputy Chair, and we set about preparing feedback on each of them for our committee members.

“MUN protocol states that delegates are to refer to themselves in the third person. However, I was continually forced to remind delegates to refrain from using personal pronouns such as, “I think that,” and “I would have to respond,” rather than, “The delegate thinks...”. Thankfully, there were only a few instances where I had to call for a formal break in proceedings. On one occasion I had to bang the gavel to stop the delegate for Japan from speaking as she had gone over her time limit. She wasn’t going to stop until she had finished her speech.

“In the end, only two out of the five resolutions put forward were passed, one written by a JPA student, Srey On, Grade 10, who told me, ‘I was amazed that no one went against my resolution. Instead, they helped by adding multiple amendments to improve it. I was extremely proud when everyone in the house voted to pass it.’ ”

Congratulations to all the participants, particularly Chanmolis, the first JPA student to hold the position of Head Chair at a senior MUN conference. Thank you to Mr. McBride and Mr. Van Hilten for preparing students for this year’s MUN conference.


SokunthearySarethSopheakro (left)Sampoas (right)

AN EMAIL FROM SOPHEAK ’20 IN SWITZERLAND

Monday, 29th October 2018

Sopheak ’20 is settling into Aiglon College, Switzerland, where he will study for the next two years.



CELEBRATING PCHUM BEN FESTIVAL AND DISCOVERING THE CENTER FOR KHMER STUDIES

Monday, 22nd October 2018

Each year, school breaks for a week as Cambodians celebrate the important national festival of Pchum Ben. Srey On, Grade 10, shared her story.


Srey Mech ’19, with a tray of OnsormRatana ’19, performing the Dak Bart offering

Around late September or early October, Cambodia celebrates the fifteen day religious festival of Pchum Ben or Ancestors’ day. We prepare food and travel to nearby pagodas to give food to monks and make offerings to our deceased ancestors. I am not really a religious person or a person who believes in spirits, but I participate in the celebrations out of respect for our traditions and for fun.

I helped my mother prepare the traditional Cambodian cake, ‘Onsorm’. My mother molded rice, stuffed with bananas, into cakes and wrapped them in banana leaves and I tied them up. Once we were finished, I went all around the village giving the onsorm and a little money to the elderly. My mother told me we were giving alms for the spirits of our ancestors, but I saw it as giving to other people who needed it as well as showing respect for the older generation.

On the fifteenth and final day of the festival we went to the pagoda. Waking up at four in the morning, I helped my mother prepare different dishes for the monks. I was so tempted to eat the food, but my mother told me I could only eat once we had set food aside for the monks and my grandmother. Once we arrived at the pagoda, we gave food to the monks as it is a traditional way to ‘transfer merit’ to our ancestors. The pagoda was raucous, with people, talking, clanging dishes and monks chanting. Despite the chaos, I enjoyed interacting and celebrating with the people some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. In the end, I was tired from all the walking around and helping, but I appreciated the festival, the relationships and the interactions with all the people around me.

Center for Khmer Studies. Images: khmerstudies.org

The festival had ended, but our break from school had yet to come to an end. Before the break, I had heard about the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS) in Wat Damnak, Siem Reap. Using the time I had left before school started again, I decided to go to visit. My first impression was how beautiful and calming it was. It’s located in the middle of a pagoda and I was surprised at how peaceful it was, even though it’s in the middle of the city. I noticed many students sitting in and around the library. Some were reading books, some were doing research on laptops, and some were silently doing work. The environment was so different from my home and was a perfect place to study, work, and read. When I went into the library I was amazed. There were countless shelves with books about Cambodia in both Khmer and English, its history, politics, economy, and society. Not only that, there were computers to use for free. I picked out a book called ‘Cambodian Interlude,’ about Cambodia emerging from the time of the Khmer Rouge regime, during the United Nations’ preparation for elections in 1993. The next day, I went back and took some work to do. Unlike home, I was able to concentrate on my work which included writing this story. I like the place a lot and plan on going there more often.

I feel fortunate that my break from school touched on both the traditional and modern ways of life. My ancestors have participated in Pchum Ben festivities for centuries and I was glad to participate to continue the tradition. At CKS, I saw lots of young Cambodians studying. Many of them, I’m sure, are like me; the first in their family to pursue a higher education. Hopefully, that too, will become a tradition.

SOKHCHAMROEUN ’15, COMPLETES HIS INTERNSHIP AND GRADUATES COLLEGE

Monday, 1st October 2018

Chamroeun ’15, has just graduated from Stamford International University in Bangkok with a degree in Information Technology. Recently, he completed an internship at EZECOM, an internet service provider based in Phnom Penh.