Monday, 5th June 2017

The class of 2017 has celebrated their graduation and prom in style. To begin their last week as students, the class donned caps and gowns as all the whole school lined the walkways to cheer and clap the class on their Senior Walk through the school.

On Graduation morning, parents, teachers, staff and students gathered to share in the ceremony. Before proceedings began, the class watched a video message of congratulations sent by former teacher, Ms. Bethany, who taught them way back in Grade 5. Valedictorian, Pagna, and Salutatorian, Vichea, both gave entertaining and rousing speeches. As has become our tradition, we showed a video of memories of the Class of 2017 throughout the last decade which drew both tears and laughter. High School English teacher, Ms. Clingman, delivered a heartfelt speech to the class she has known for so long before all the graduates walked proudly to the stage to receive their diplomas. After the ceremony, everyone enjoyed refreshments and a photo shoot in the gardens.

Later that evening, teachers, students and alumni celebrated the Senior Prom in the ballroom of a fancy 5 star hotel in town. The food was wonderful and so was the fantastic 3 piece band who played popular Khmer songs from the golden era of Cambodian pop music. The evening ended with everyone on the dance floor and then final goodbyes as some very exhausted graduates boarded the bus for the trip back home.

Best wishes to all graduates of 2017 as you all head in different directions. We look forward to seeing where your journeys will take you and, remember, the door of JPA is always open to you.


Monday, 29th May 2017

As Grade 12 prepared for their upcoming graduation, they all went to the north-western city of Battambang for a retreat to reflect on their experiences through the years at JPA and to spend time appreciating the friendships they have forged.

Here, they share their thoughts about the Class of 2017 Senior Retreat.

Voleak reported that she took the time to enjoy her friends before they head in different directions. She said, “Prior to our graduation, we soon-to-be graduates, went on a two-day retreat to Battambang, accompanied by College Counselor, Ms. Houston and teachers, Mr. Shapiro, and Ms. Clingman. During our trip, we were able to spend valuable time together as this will be the last time we will all be with each other before the Graduation Ceremony, after which our paths will diverge. We went swimming, played sports, and card games. Besides these activities, we came together to reminisce and reflect upon old memories and fun times we have had over the many years we have shared together at JPA.”

Korb said, “Every shared memory sparked back to life when we sat together and talked.”

Phirun added, “It was very insightful. I never knew we still had so much to learn about each other.”

During the retreat, the students each received a booklet written by the college counselors which explains what it means to be JPA alumni. It lists all the services and resources available to alumni and also sets out what is expected of them.

Somphors reflected, “As much as we look forward to graduation, the future is uncertain, but during this trip, our teachers taught us about what it means to be alumni. Now we are more certain that, as we leave JPA, we are still a part of the JPA Alumni Association and in doing so, we will receive and offer help wherever we go and we also are expected to uphold the values of JPA. I feel like we are a family and without one of us, we will feel incomplete. Because of this trip, we realized how much we mean to each other and that the bonds we share are so strong.”

Voleak, again, wrote on behalf of her class, “All of us Grade 12 students would like to express our thanks to JPA for this enriching experience and for our entire school careers. We all look forward to going out into the world to further explore our talents and potential and come back with ideas to make a better future for Cambodia.”

Congratulations Grade 12 on the completion of your studies at JPA. It has been a pleasure and an honor to share the past years with you. We wish you all the best for Graduation and beyond and we look forward to welcoming each of you to the JPA Alumni Association.

Annual JPA Spelling Bee champions crowned

Monday, 22nd May 2017


We are pleased to announce the winners of the Annual JPA Spelling Bee, 2017.

Lower Elementary: Samuchilea, Grade 3,

Upper Elementary: Sengly, Grade 6,

Junior High School: Srey Touch, Grade 8.

This year, the Spelling Bee finalists were the winners and runners up of our previous qualifying heats. At the Grand Final they all took to the stage in front of a hushed and expectant audience.

We spoke to the winner, Srey Touch from Grade 8. She said, “I was shaking when it was my turn. When there were only two competitors left, I felt anxious, but was happy that I had made it into the last round. Then, luckily for me, my opponent misspelled her word, republic. I felt so relieved after I had spelled my final word, chaperone, correctly that I was numb. After a few seconds I realized that the audience was clapping for me, the winner, and I felt elated. This is my second consecutive year as the JPA Spelling Bee Champion and I plan to work hard to make it three times in a row next year!”

Congratulations to all who took part in both the heats and finals, and especially to the winners.

Thank you to the many teachers who helped organize and judge the 2017 Spelling Bee.


Monday, 15th May 2017

Recently, we were very pleased to welcome Cambodian author, Thavry Thon, to school to give a motivational talk to our high school students. Thavry’s most recent book, A Proper Woman, is her autobiographical account of her struggle to pursue her dreams of a higher education despite the many obstacles she faced. She joined us to share her story with our high school students who have so much in common with her.

Like most JPA students, Thavry was born to a farming family in a rural village and faced not only financial obstacles, but also had to overcome traditional village views of what a ‘proper’ woman should be. She spoke affectionately of the support she received from her parents who encouraged her to be the first girl in her village to break the mold and make a success of her life. She related, with good humor, how the older members of her family thought she was doomed to failure.

Her journey resonated profoundly with our students, especially the girls whose own experiences are so similar to Thavry’s. To support her studies Thavry took a job with PEPY, an NGO working in education. She described how, with their help and through her hard work and will power, she eventually earned a scholarship to study Information Technology at a university in the Czech Republic, successfully graduating in 2012. She encouraged the JPA girls to persevere with their education and believe in themselves. She spoke about the need, also, to educate young Cambodian men to respect the rights and abilities of women.

Following her talk, Thavry invited questions from the audience. Questions came thick and fast as the students were clearly captivated by her story and wanted to know more. After the event, many of our students came to chat with Thavry and share their own stories. She met with Voleak, from the Class of 2017, who recently won a writing competition, and Grade 7 student, Ellen, who also dreams of becoming an author. Ellen reflected, “It was great to meet someone who is what I dream of becoming: an author. I asked her for tips and she told me to read lots of books. If I like a particular style or author, she advised me to read similar books or books by the same author as I try to find my own style.”

Grade 9 student, Rasy said, “Ms. Thavry is a passionate Cambodian woman from a rural area. My first impression was of her overwhelming confidence and sense of humor. Amazingly, writing books is only her part-time job. I feel like I can identify with her, her smile reminds me of my own and she is from the same background as me. It really makes me passionate to make the most of the gift of education that JPA is giving me.”

Thavry kindly autographed 30 copies of her book which soon whizzed off the shelf and has a list of eager readers waiting to learn how this young Cambodian woman forged her own future.

We all thank Thavry for her wonderful talk and wish her great success with the Khmer version of her book