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.


Monday, 17th September 2018

Once again on September 13th this year, we paid homage to the all-time children’s favorite author, Roald Dahl. Lower school teachers decorated the school with a decidedly Roald Dahl twist and dressed as some of his most notable characters. Our cooks made some fantastically gruesome worm-spaghetti covered with nasty bits and pieces from Mr. Twit’s beard, (The Twits), horrible snozcumbers, (The BFG) and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake, (Matilda). High School teachers used their planning periods to come down to the library and read Dahls’ books to the younger learners. All day long the lower school students tried their very best in class as they knew they had a chance of winning one of the prized “Wonka Golden Tickets.” The lucky winners in Grades 1-6 each received a copy of a Roald Dahl novel.

A “Dahl” Day at School
Winners of the “Wonka Golden Tickets” Receiving Their Prizes

Thank you to the events committee for organizing Roald Dahl Day.

Monday, 10th September 2018

Sokhoeun ’19 has returned to school to finish his senior year of high school after he spent last school year in the USA at Perkiomen School in Pennsylvania under the ASSIST scholarship program. He shares his story below.

The past year at Perkiomen School, in Pennsburgh, Pennsylvania, proved to be an excellent year during which I challenged myself. I had so many new and interesting experiences and learned to be more independent. I learned a new language, took AP courses, tried new sports and enjoyed trips to various places including New York. Upon arriving, I was pleased to meet the friendly and supportive staff who helped make my year there so special.

I enrolled in some new and challenging classes. At Perkiomen School, there are about 30 AP courses and four language classes to choose from which is many more than I can take at JPA. I enrolled in AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, which were not offered at JPA until this year. I had a tough time with this class as I had never taken any economics classes before. I was up to speed halfway through the year, and I finished with respectable scores of 4 and 3 on the AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics tests respectively.

Sokhoeun (center) with Fellow Perkiomen International Students

I also took a Chinese language course which was enjoyable. After about a month I felt able to use a little of the language that I had learned from my Chinese friends. Then, after another few months, the pace actually became too slow for me, so I enrolled in a higher level class - from level 1 to level 3 - where I felt more at home.

Perkiomen spends more time on sports than JPA. At home in Cambodia, I would practice running for a few hours in the weeks leading up to the marathon in December each year. I soon learned that at Perkiomen we were to spend about two hours on sport after school every day. At first, it was quite exhausting with up to four or five competitive sessions per week. I had previous experience with running, so I chose to be part of the cross country team. In cross country, we ran 3 miles, and I started with a time of about 24-minutes. The captain of the running team then challenged me to get my time below 20 minutes. During practice, he encouraged me by suggesting I focus on trying to keep up with him. After much training, I was eventually selected as one of the seven runners from my school for the Tri-County League (TCL) championship (a meet with 8 or 9 competing schools from adjacent counties). I placed 13th overall and 4th from my school, and I beat my record and goal by running a time of 19:26. Our school won the championship, and I was so pleased that my effort had played a part in the victory. This accomplishment demonstrates how I can succeed as long as I continuously keep putting in my best effort and commitment. Importantly, having a supportive team played a major role helping me attain my personal best time.

First Experience SkiingVisiting Baltimore

In the spring, I decided to try a new sport - lacrosse. I had no clue as to what lacrosse even was, but, I looked it up and decided to join the team. When I began, I could not even catch the ball in the cradle of my stick. I spent about six hours practicing every weekend with a friend who was also new to the sport. My coaches gave us tips when they saw us practicing, and the captains kept checking up on us and offering help. I would have never imagined that I would end up scoring four junior varsity goals, two varsity goals and earning a position as a junior varsity captain. I learned that you cannot let yourself be intimidated by a bigger or more experienced opposition. Dedication to practice and lots of preparation allowed me to perform to the top of my ability. I now have the utmost admiration for this sport and its’ players.

Top Clockwise: Sokhoeun, Host Family, Mr. and Mrs. Deratzous and Advisor, Mrs. Weirsmith; Cross Country Team;
Perkiomen Cross Country Team Captain Congratulating Sokhoeun

Almost every weekend on campus, there were concerts or plays to watch and I was lucky to see the wide array of talent at Perkiomen. Students would sing, play instruments and perform plays, some written by the students themselves. Some of the musicians were new to their craft, however, they were amazing performers as they used all their free-time practicing.

There were also many off-campus activities. The first excursion I took was 100 miles away to New York City to attend a Broadway musical at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. When we arrived in New York, I could see why so many people love the city because of its bustling city life, skyscrapers and so many attractions. It was a stark contrast to Puok in Cambodia.

It didn’t matter to me that I was new to Perkiomen, what mattered was how much I wanted to get from this experience and how much effort I put in – in the same way that the musicians applied themselves to their instruments, I applied myself to my classes and sports. For example, after selecting lacrosse for my spring sport, I began to envision myself as one of the players on the field, rather than a spectator on the sidelines. This change of perspective motivated me to improve my skills, observe how the most skillful players played, ask for advice, and finally incorporate all of this into the long hours of practice that I dedicated myself to. Similarly, I would not have been able to understand any Chinese if I had not been passionate about learning a new language. I devoted numerous extra hours of my time, watching extra lessons and practicing with native speakers on campus. I became a more self-directed and independently minded person.

This past year was a great experience for me to learn more about myself, acquire a bit of a new language, play new sports, and broaden my academic skill set. I would like to thank JPA, ASSIST, and the Perkiomen School community for all of their help and support. I want to send a special thank you to the Deratzous family, who hosted me for the year and to my advisor, Mrs. Weirsmith, for taking care of me so well.

Sokhoeun (in purple) Playing LacrosseThe Perkiomen Lacrosse Team - Sokhoeun (bottom left)

Thank you, Sokhoeun, for sharing your story and we wish you the best in your final year at JPA.


Monday, 3rd September 2018

Two more graduates from the Class of 2016 have just started university life in the US. Sreynich (left), who was our student council president, will study at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania and Sinet (right), who was the leader of JPA speech and debate club, will study at Bucknell University, just a couple of hours to the north in Lewisburg. Both graduates were selected by SHE-CAN and worked hard over the last 2 years to earn their scholarships. Please click on the articles below to read their stories.

Click on the image above to read an article by Sinet ’16 about her internship at the HALO Trust


Monday, 27th August 2018

Chivit ’18 in his role as AUPP Student Government President

Chivit, Class of 2015, is currently studying IT at the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP). He has been elected as president of the AUPP Student Government. The entire student body elects the government as it plays a vital role in representing the students and is directly involved in university-wide decisions. The members also raise funds and organize social events to support community projects for disadvantaged people. Chivit shares his story below.

Standing for election forced me out of my comfort zone. I could see potential problems ahead, but I was hungry for success and found the energy and mindset to run for office. I tapped into the same energy that made my ancestors great hunters, leaders, and builders. I have learned that what I have to do to be successful is to release that energy.

I thought that the chances of me becoming president would be slim. Perhaps my comparatively humble background would make my ambition seem misplaced. However, there is one thing I knew for certain: I could, and I would run. After much hard work, I ran a successful campaign and became the AUPP Student Government President.

My primary goal of becoming president was to bring the student body together. I wanted them to be inspired, hungry for knowledge and united. I believe that when a group of ambitious, goal-oriented and strong-willed young people come together, anything is possible. The AUPP Student Government members have created seminars that allow inspiring juniors and seniors to talk about their stories of success and share the lessons they learned trying to be successful. This has influenced the rest of the student body who have realized that they are part of a strong, supportive and ambitious community with great role models.

We have invited prominent business people, ambassadors and politicians to show our students what is out there and all the opportunities available in the future. Currently, we are working on establishing a mentorship program that aims for freshmen and sophomores to work with experienced juniors and seniors.

Becoming the president has been a formative experience. I have learned what it takes to step out of my comfort zone and where it can take me. I have developed habits of staying sharp and critical. I feel that I have grown during these challenging times. The most important thing it has taught me is NEVER to settle for the status quo, but always seek to learn and grow.

Congratulations Chivit, for your success and thank you for your story.

Photo: AUPP

“WE’RE BACK!” 2018/19 BEGINS

Monday, 20th August 2018

The 2018-2019 year is off to a great start. We started the year by welcoming the students and parents back to kick-start another action-packed year. On the first morning, the canteen was abuzz as students shared their stories of summer trips around the world, internships, and final preparations before heading off to college.

The first day began with an assembly where we reiterated our school’s values and parents renewed their commitment to school expectations. Following the assembly, parents and students visited the classrooms to meet their new teachers and hear about new courses. Grade 5 students were thrilled to hear about their new robotics class, and high school students listened to Mr. McBride outline further details of his upcoming AP macroeconomics and AP microeconomics courses.

Our 60 new pre-kindergartners had already spent summer-school with us, so were quite familiar with their new classrooms and teachers, and confidently showed their parents around.

Summer trips this year were almost too numerous to mention. Students headed off to enjoy summer experiences in different parts of the world across four continents. Some new experiences for our students included aeronautical engineering in Florida and Alabama, our first foray into Scotland, to the University of St. Andrews and our second trip to Oxford, UK as well as a return to Australia and Singapore.

Teachers, new and old, excitedly met their new classes and we all bade a fond farewell to graduates heading to further their education overseas.

Welcome back, everyone! Let’s make 2018-2019 another year of achievement.


Monday, 13th August 2018

Alumna So ’17, was the first student to achieve a perfect math score in her ACT test. She has since spent two years studying in Switzerland and now studies at Yale-NUS in Singapore majoring in mathematical, computational and statistical sciences. During this year’s summer school, So returned to teach math and help prepare high school students for upcoming ACT tests and national examinations. She shares her story below.

Thank you So for your great contribution! We all wish you continued success in Singapore.