Thursday, 6th June 2019

The end of the school year brings with it celebrations for our latest graduates before they head off to universities all around the world. The final day of school began with the Senior Walk, as the whole school congratulated the class of 2019.

Graduation day began with a morning ceremony at JPA, attended by proud family members, students, teachers and guests. Valedictorian, Sreyrath and Salutatorian, Sokhoeun gave their final speeches followed by the conferring of the diplomas.

In the evening, the Graduation Prom was a grand affair held in the beautiful ballroom of a fancy hotel. Graduates enjoyed a delicious meal and then took to the dance floor for their last big hoorah together before heading off to universities overseas.

At the end of the night, the exhausted and nostalgic graduates boarded buses, returning to their homes with the realization that their high school years were now behind them. Their futures are now unfolding in front of them in universities all across the United States and around the world.

Congratulations to the class of 2019. We look forward to hearing about your future triumphs.


Wednesday, 5th June 2019


Monday, 20th May 2019

Champions - Nita - Grades 1-3 and Sunpeng - Grades 4-6

This year’s JPA Spelling Bee winners were Nita ’29 in the lower elementary competition and Sunpeng ’26 in the upper elementary competition.

Sunpeng, Grade 5, said, “I felt prepared as I had studied hard for many weeks, at least 20 minutes a day. During the final I could hear my class cheering me on every time I stood at the microphone and their support gave me confidence. I was excited and proud of my performance particularly as my final opponent, Vichheka ’23, was such a tough competitor. I am already looking forward to taking part again, next year.”

Nita, Grade 2, said, “I am so happy that I won. I practiced for an hour every night with my father, even during the holidays.”

Congratulations to Sunpeng and Nita.


Wednesday, 15th May 2019

Last week, students from Grade 2 traveled to Siem Reap to visit the Nature Discovery Center of Cambodia (NDC), run by Fauna in Focus, an environmental education and public awareness NGO. The NDC is an interactive nature learning and conservation training facility. Grade 2 students explored the wonders of Cambodia’s biodiversity and learned about plants, animals and natural sciences through hands-on exploration.

Ms. Ryan, Grade 2 teacher, said, “We have been studying a unit on fossils since the beginning of Quarter 4 so it was a perfect opportunity to explore paleontology. In science, we have also been learning about plants, animals, and their habitats. The students learned how we can all make a real difference in protecting their environment here in Cambodia.”

Nisa ’29 said, “I loved exploring the garden as it had so many bees and flowers. The whole place was amazing and we learned so much. They had models of birds and we saw a movie about the endangered Sarus Crane.”

The students were eager to see the center’s numerous learning stations and interactive displays especially the DINO DIG station which was a favorite for some of the budding paleontologists. They loved using tools to dig for ‘dinosaur bones.’ Sovanna ’29 said, “My favorite part of the trip was digging for fossils and putting them together to make a dinosaur. It was a T. rex.”

The INSECT STATION was also a real hit as was the BIRDS OF CAMBODIA display which included information about some of Cambodia’s 600 bird species and local conservation efforts to help ensure their survival. The CONSERVATION ZONE showed some of the threats to Cambodia’s biodiversity and some of the possible solutions.

Sodanet ’29 said, “I enjoyed playing HABITAT CHALLENGE. We learned about where different animals live and what they eat. Then we had to build a habitat using puzzles and placing animals into their correct habitat.”

Grade 2 teacher, Ms. Valentina, said, “I really enjoyed taking the students to the NDC as it made a great impression on them. The station about threats to Cambodian’s wildlife was especially impactful. Some of my students told me they would really like to bring their parents to the center to explain to them the importance of taking care of nature. It shows the students really understand that they can make others aware of the problems Cambodian’s wildlife is facing and that they can make a difference.”

Grade 2 would like to thank everyone at NDC.


Wednesday, 8th May 2019

Visal ’21 has had a fantastic journey so far in high school. Having just turned 14, he was thrilled to learn he earned a composite score of 35 in his recent ACT test. The maximum is 36!

By Grade 6, Visal was reaching mastery in all subjects and, when challenged with advanced content, he proved he could do as well as students much older than he is. That’s why, despite being the youngest in his class, Visal skipped a year and enrolled in Grade 8 a year early. As the youngest ever high school student with the highest ever ACT score, Visal deserves congratulations for his hard work and achievements. He shares his reflections here on the great benefits of practice, practice, practice.

As a Grade 10 student, I always used to look for shortcuts in order to achieve my goals. I still do today, although somewhat less than before. However, I realized a while back that the true path to success has no shortcuts. We must put in hard work and effort in order to reach our limits and exceed our expectations. This story is one that I experienced and it taught me to embrace hard work and to have grit in order to succeed. This experience was with my ACT test.

I was told that the ACT is a very important test. It is a test result that many universities will look at when they review my application. I felt that I needed to do well on this test so I prepared for it by practicing as much as possible. Thankfully, all of my teachers were willing to help by providing me with a lot of practice packets. My class had an ACT preparation class with Ms. Fraser-King, our college counselor, and she gave us a handbook full of strategies to succeed along with two packets full of practice questions. Prior to the test, my class had an ACT practice session with Mr. Charles, a college counselor based in Vietnam, who spent an afternoon giving us a lot of helpful tips for the ACT English. He advised us that the ACT is mostly a reading test. I did a lot of ACT English practice with my writing and language arts teacher and ACT reading practice with my literature teacher. Ms. Linton, my honors chemistry teacher, allotted some of her class time in order to allow us to practice for the ACT science section. Mr. Sokcha, my geometry and precalculus teacher, devoted some of his classes to ACT math practice and spent some of his time helping to answer our questions. I personally found old practice tests online and reviewed them. I spent hours on weekends practicing my reading skills and did lots of research on specific subjects to be prepared for the ACT math section.

One very important tool that I used was Albert, a website designed to help prepare for tests. I spent many hours practicing reading and I believed that it had helped me with my reading test. Albert provided me with some background on the complexity of the test questions and the more practice I did, the better prepared I felt. All of that practice made me feel comfortable and confident on test day and added to a good night’s sleep, I was able to ignore everything except the test.

On test day, I arrived as rested as I could be and although I was nervous, my friends helped calm me down. I tried to push everything out of my mind except for all the tips and strategies for the ACT. Once the test had started, I felt increasingly confident about the ACT English section because it was the easiest one, in my opinion. However, on the math section, my self-esteem and confidence began to ebb away slowly. It was way harder than expected and I was beginning to lose my concentration. After a short break, I felt slightly better but was overwhelmed by the reading. It was definitely the hardest one because the texts were complicated. The science test was mostly reading with a few extra data charts and graphs. At least I felt that my science skills were pretty good so I didn’t worry as much. The writing test was better than the reading or science tests because I had practiced persuasive writing in quarter one already. At the end of the test, I was unsure of how I had done, so I could not wait for the results because I wanted to see my score.

Once I saw the test scores, the first thing that came to my mind was that I didn’t do so badly after all. Then, it sunk in that it was a new school record, I had a score of 35! The maximum is 36! My friends crowded around me and congratulated me on such an awesome score. Throughout the day, many teachers came to congratulate me and felt proud of myself. Once I told my parents, they were really happy because it meant that during all that time I spent on my computer, I wasn’t as lost in the world of video games as they thought.

One tip that I would give to others who will take the ACT is to read as much as possible. Also, practice as much as possible so that the test doesn’t take you by surprise. There really is no secret to success. It all depends on how much you are willing to give and how much you want to succeed. Practicing and putting in the hard work in order to attain our goals are the roads to success. Ability doesn’t really matter if you don’t work hard. Also, remember that there are people here who are absolutely willing to help you out. Please, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I would like to thank all of my teachers for giving up their time to help push me to success. Personally, I am relieved and proud. However, I must take the ACT again next year. Beating or maintaining my score will be a very challenging task, but I am happy to say that I have already begun to practice for it.

Thanks to Ms. Fraser-King and teachers for organizing student preparation for the ACT test and congratulations to Visal on your outstanding result.


Wednesday, 1st May 2019

Creating, Capturing and Igniting Hydrogen

Grade 8 students have recently been studying how different chemicals react with one another. As a demonstration, science teacher, Mr. Murray, created hydrogen from zinc and hydrochloric acid, captured it in a balloon and then ignited the hydrogen in front of a class of very excited Grade 8 students.

Rina ’23 explains how her group studied reaction rates, “I have really enjoyed learning more about chemical reactions this quarter. One of the experiments we conducted was to investigate the changes in the reaction rate of different concentrations of sodium thiosulfate added to a hydrochloric acid constant. This reaction produces sulfur which makes the mixture very cloudy.

“Our investigation required us to vary the concentration of sodium thiosulfate when we dissolved it into the constant 5 ml of hydrochloric acid and timed the result. Firstly, we poured 50 ml of sodium thiosulfate into an empty beaker, placed on top of a piece of paper marked with a cross. We used the cross to help us measure the reaction rate. We added 5 ml of hydrochloric acid and used a stopwatch to time how long it took for the solution to react. The sulfur produced makes the solution increasingly opaque which obscures the view of the cross under the beaker. We stopped timing when the cross disappeared completely.

“We repeated the steps over and over, each time decreasing the concentration of sodium thiosulfate and recording the results. At the end of the experiment, we discovered that as the concentration of sodium thiosulfate is decreased in comparison to the hydrochloric acid constant, the reaction rate correspondingly decreased.”

Mr. Murray said, “The chemical reactions topic gives the students an overview into the various possibilities and properties of different chemicals. Knowing how substances behave in certain situations is an incredibly important lesson for future chemistry courses. Understanding how and why chemicals behave the way they do opens up a range of possibilities in industries such engineering and medicine.”


Friday, 5th April 2019

Jay Pritzker Academy staff and students are celebrating Cambodian New Year.


Monday, 1st April 2019

The JPA MUN Club has just returned from Phnom Penh, where they attended the Northbridge International School of Cambodia Model United Nations (NISCMUN) conference, along with schools from around Asia.

Sokh Visal - Best Delegate

Chanminea - Best Delegate

MUN Coordinator, Mr. McBride, said, “NISCMUN was an excellent opportunity for our delegation to build on their experience from attending UNISMUN Hanoi, in February. There are sure signs that our Grade 9 and 10 students are well on their way to becoming accomplished delegates. Chanminea ’22 was awarded best speaker in General Assembly 6 (GA6), and Sokh Visal ’21 was awarded best delegate in the Security Council, which is generally reserved for the strongest delegates from each school. Sovannarath ’22 and Monika ’22 were also mentioned as standout delegates in their assemblies. My own personal standout student was Sotheara ’22 who was our only student attending her first conference. She was an active participant in her room and even made a couple of speeches. The next MUN conference won’t be until November so that leaves plenty of time for MUN Club members to expand their knowledge by reading as much as they can.”

Thank you to Mr. McBride and Mr. Terrazas, and congratulations to the members of the JPA MUN Club for representing yourselves so well.

EllenSopheakroSrey On Sampoas

Coding projects

Monday, 25th March 2019

“Yes!” Alisa, a Grade 10 student, jumped up and did a little dance. It had not been easy to get all those jumper cables wired up correctly, but the LED display connected to her Raspberry Pi computer board had finally lit up and now she could start working on the software part of her project.

This year, Grade 10 coding class is all about hands-on exploring of how computer hardware and software really work together and interact at a deep level. Students set up and configure their own Linux operating systems on a Raspberry Pi computer, they use its input/output interface to control LEDs and add buttons to control their setup. Further basic challenges involve setting up several types of displays and creating software for these with JAVA and Python coding languages.

Srey On and KeopagnapechSeyheing

Technology teacher, Mr. Engelen said, “Coding classes in Grades 7, 8 and 9 have prepared the students in Grade 10 for this interactive course. The goal is to prepare them for the AP Computer Science A course in Grade 11. The benefits of using robotics, Raspberry Pi computers, and electronics such as LEDs give students a deeper understanding of hardware and software.”

Seiha, Phirom and Rachna

At the moment, more complicated projects are underway, some extending the Raspberry Pi’s with Arduinos, a programmable circuit board. Seyheing ’21 is making a weather station using an add-on sensor array mounted to the Raspberry Pi, called a SenseHat board. A SenseHat board has inbuilt primary sensors to measure temperature, humidity and pressure and the ability to output data to software.

Rachna ’21, Sothea ’21 and Phirom ’21 are working on a face recognition system using a Raspberry Pi and its camera. Their project proposal states: ‘We will have a Raspberry Pi attached to a camera module. The camera detects faces and can match them with the names of people that are in our database. We can add a motor and a locking mechanism that will only unlock doors for the faces that it recognizes. There are many other projects, like an FM broadcast experiment by Keopagnapech ’21 and Srey On ’21.

Strange noises continually emanate from the far end of the classroom. This is where the World Robotics Olympiad mat is situated. Students are building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots to complete missions set for the next World Robotics Olympiad. They need to play sounds, sense colors, lift and maneuver items and have the robot make the correct decisions depending on the layout of the mat.

Students work on their own projects but share techniques and ideas, frequently coming together to evaluate each other’s progress. Each week they keep a journal of their work, questions and thoughts about what they have done or seen.

Rachna ’20 recently wrote in his reflective journal, “We got together with other groups and observed their accomplishments. We saw the many different types of displays used and how they were coded. The use of line segments was exciting. It was how it was coded that I found most interesting. The Python code used hexadecimal numbers to address the different parts of the display. It is similar to code I have seen previously. Many strings of these codes were put together to manually display a simple letter like “A” on the display. Because of this, I’ve been trying to make similar custom fonts on my own LCD display.”

Kimheat ’20 said, “Coding class is so rewarding. We are challenged to work on our own ideas and to take them from the virtual world into the physical world. It is so exciting.”

Keep up the good work Grade 10 and good luck with computer science next year.


Monday, 18th March 2019

Students in grades 11 and 12 are preparing for the annual Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. The tests are the culmination of year-long AP courses where students tackle college-level work. JPA students will be taking AP exams in physics, chemistry, computer science, macro and microeconomics and calculus.

AP Chemistry class has been working hard all year and recently, studied a unit on acid-base equilibria.

AP Chemistry teacher, Ms. Linton, said, “Acid and base equilibrium is one of my favorite units in AP Chemistry. At this point in the year the students have mastered the fundamentals of chemistry and are able to tackle more complex problems independently. This unit is a great opportunity for them to apply what they’ve learned about solution stoichiometry and chemical equilibria to a familiar problem. In my experience, students find this quite frustrating to start with. They have studied ‘acids and bases’ nearly every year since primary school, so there are a lot of preconceptions to overwrite. We’re lucky in JPA to have access to a lot of really great equipment, and this pH investigation challenges the students to work carefully to a high degree of precision – it’s certainly not easy to get right the first time, so multiple trials are required. This is a great lesson in patience, diligence and teamwork - as well as acid base equilibria.”

AP Chemistry students, Sreymach, Soka, Sokhoeun and Sreyrath, reflected on their experiment.

“We recently conducted a lab to investigate the pH of strong and weak acids and bases at different concentrations. In calculating the pH of strong acids or bases, we assume that all of the ions dissociate. As for weak acids and bases, only a small amount of molecules dissociate. So, the actual pH is likely to differ from our calculated value. The experiment challenged our previous understanding of the strength of acids and bases as we try to analyze sources of errors to account for the deviation.

“In our group, we alternated between preparing solutions, calculating expected pH, and taking data readings. We obtained different concentrations of a monoprotic acid (hydrochloric acid), a diprotic acid (sulfuric acid), a strong base (sodium hydroxide), a weak acid (acetic acid), and a weak base (sodium acetate).

“While conducting the tests, we became concerned that our predicted and measured pH values were very different. We checked and re-checked our accuracy when we prepared and diluted the solutions. We also double checked our calculations. We could find no anomalies in our preparation or math, so we checked the equipment and found that our pH probe was faulty. We replaced it and our readings were suddenly in-line with our predictions. These predictions had helped us to identify misleading results due to the fault in our testing equipment and without them, we would have reported wildly inaccurate results. Learning to analyze sources of error between the expected and calculated values is frustrating at times, but it ultimately strengthens our understanding of this important topic.

“A big thank you to Ms. Linton, our AP Chemistry teacher, for giving us the opportunity to conduct our weekly experiments and for preparing us for our upcoming AP exams.”


Monday, 11th March 2019

Recently, seven JPA students flew to Hanoi, Vietnam, to attend the United Nations International School of Hanoi Model United Nations Conference (UNISMUN) along with students from 20 schools across Asia. All students performed well in a challenging conference where the standard of debate was exceptional.

Ms. LaneVichhekaEllenSampoasSovannarathSokh VisalSrey OnChanmineaMr. McBride

MUN teacher McBride, said, “UNISMUN was a superbly run and well-organized conference and the caliber of the delegates was high. Our students conducted themselves well and the conference was a fantastic learning experience for them. They came away from the conference inspired to work hard to emulate the senior delegates at the conference. I was proud of the fact that they made themselves heard in rooms of 50-60 delegates many of whom were undoubtedly on their way to leading international universities.”

Sokh Visal ’21, said, “I had an amazing experience in the UNISMUN. There were many passionate delegates who were not afraid to speak out and try to make amendments to resolutions. I was representing Bolivia in the crisis council. When the issue of Chinese involvement in Africa arose I was very excited as I am very interested in Chinese expansion. Throughout the debate, I formed a friendship with the delegate of China and we cooperated in writing resolutions and sending directives. However, I had to disagree with him later when the delegate of the US threatened to impose sanctions on Bolivia. We agreed to keep the ties between China and Bolivia strong.”

Srey On ’21 said, “The UNISMUN was the best that I have attended. Firstly, it was well organized, the campus was beautiful, and the facilities were first-rate. Next, my committee was awesome. This was the first time in my experience of MUN that I was part of such a large committee consisting of more than fifty delegates. I did well and managed to make a few speeches and Points of Information (POI). Many of the other experienced delegates were extremely supportive and welcomed my contributions during the lobbying. Looking back, I was amazed at the quality and level of detail included in the resolutions. The superior class of delegates made this MUN experience unforgettable.”

Vichheka ’21 reflected, “Sampoas ’21 and I were in the Human Rights Council. I focused on the rights of indigenous people. We debated six resolutions, and four of them passed. Some of the debates were heated, and although my group’s resolution didn’t pass, we still felt that we had done a great job. Strangely, the delegate of DPRK (North Korea) continually brought up the great power of his supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, which was not on topic – I think he was influenced by the fact that US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un were meeting in Hanoi at the same time, just down the road.”

“Beside the conference, we were able to walk around and explore Hanoi. It was fascinating to see their community, culture and way of life. I enjoyed visiting the museum of women, where female Vietnamese heroes, traditions, and customs were displayed. Many people in Cambodia think that there is a vast difference between Vietnamese and Khmer culture. From what I saw, our cultures don’t seem to be that different. I really enjoyed the experience of both the UNISMUN and Hanoi.”

Thanks to Mr. McBride for organizing and preparing the students for the UNISMUN, and congratulations to the students for doing so well.


Monday, 4th March 2019

Recently, Kindergarten and Grade 3 students have enjoyed field trips celebrating Cambodian art and culture right on our doorstep.

Kindergarten students took their annual trip to the Angkor Silk Farm in nearby Puok. Following their science unit focusing on life cycles, the staff at the silk farm showed the kindergartners all the different stages of the life of a silkworm. They then got to see how the silk is woven to make beautiful, traditional clothing.

Grade 3 students went to Artisans Angkor in Siem Reap, a workshop where artisans of traditional Cambodian art practice their craft and learn how to market and make a living from it. They saw numerous artisans working with many media, such as wood, stone, ceramic and paint. The artisans kindly allowed the students to try their hands at sculpting and other crafts. They then attended a pottery class at the Angkor Pottery Center where they learned to use a potters wheel to create their own piece of pottery. Everyone selected their favorite piece to be fired in the kiln and kept as a memory of the day.

Thanks to the artisans of Siem Reap for keeping Cambodian arts alive.


Monday, 25th February 2019

Grade 10 students, Rachna, Srey Touch and Seiha, have been selected to represent Cambodia in the 2019 South East Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP) for three weeks in April at Northern Illinois University, Illinois.

SeihaSrey TouchRachna

SEAYLP brings together 60 high school students from countries in Southeast Asia. Participants focus on leadership, youth development, networking and cooperation between different nations. The students will be staying with US families near the university. They will enjoy field trips to see community service projects in action and discuss ways in which they can cooperate to replicate similar projects back in Cambodia.

Our students were selected from a huge amount of applicants and given their places based on leadership potential, academic achievement and a strong interest in working to serve their communities.

Srey Touch said, “SEAYLP offers a great opportunity to work with students from all across Southeast Asia as well as students from the US. I’m grateful that I have this opportunity to go abroad and learn more about other countries.

“When I knew that I made the shortlist, I was really happy and excited. I practiced lots of interview questions every weekend. The day before the final interview, I read over my application several times and practiced by asking myself questions about the application while recording my voice. Listening to the recordings helped me to improve my responses.

“When my final interview came around, the interviewer asked me, ‘What would I take away from the program?’ I felt I was well prepared for this question. I talked about how I’d like to empower women and girls in my community and my country. I think my interview must have gone well as a few weeks later Rachna, Seiha and I received our acceptance letters.”

2018 ParticipantsImage:

We are confident that Rachna, Seiha and Srey Touch will be great ambassadors for their school and their country.


Monday, 11th February 2019

Pre-Kindergarten Students Ready to Head Home with their Activity Packs

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students are loving our new activity packs which they take home as part of our efforts to respond to parents’ request for help in supporting their child’s education.

Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Long, reported that parents often ask how they can help their children at home. She said, “I realized that many of our students’ families were unsure of how to go about this.” Ms. Long began researching and came across UK Teach First Innovation Award winner, Eve Keogh’s Boromi Boxes and used the idea to create our activity packs. The activity packs include resources such as toy farm animals, building blocks or game boards and instructions for parents based on particular learning goals set by teachers. The activity packs were so popular in Ms. Long’s class that her kindergarten colleague, Ms. Band organized a weekly rota allowing all the children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten to borrow the packs. She checks each pack when it is returned and makes sure it is ready for the next child.

Ms. Long was pleased to see the parents embrace the opportunity to work with their children. She said, “The feedback we have received from parents has been incredibly positive. Children are so proud to teach their siblings how to use the packs. One student was so excited about the Animals Around the World pack that the next day she taught the whole class what she had learned about narwhals.” The activity packs have proved to be a great way for teachers and parents to join together helping children at school and at home.

Thanks to Ms. Long, Ms. Band and the Kindergarten team for finding yet another way to support the children in early years.


Monday, 4th February 2019

Channarun ’17 is studying computer science at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China. Recently, he returned to Cambodia and visited JPA to tell us all about his experience. He reflected on his studies and life in China:


Monday, 28th January 2019

A Honor Roll Students in Lower SchoolStraight A Honor Roll Students - Kannika Grade 2 and Sina Grade 1A Honor Roll Students in High School

Grades 1-3 Compassion Presentation

Sengly Grade 8

Last week, the student council organized our lower school and high school honor roll assemblies.

Ellen Grade 9

The lower school assembly began with a presentation to Sreynich, Grade 6, for winning the senior section of the Cambodia Primary School Art Contest with her poster titled, ‘Our planet needs us.’

Next, Grades 2 and 4 gave spirited musical performances. Grade 2 had everyone clapping along as they used rhythm sticks to play the song, ‘Sarasponda.’ Grade 4 who have been learning to play the recorder performed the songs, ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and ‘On the March.’ Finally, students from Grades 1, 2 and 3 gave a short presentation, written by Grade 2, describing how we can show compassion, which is our chosen character trait for this quarter. Then it was time to celebrate academic achievement with the presentation of honor roll certificates. Special congratulations go to Sina, Grade 1 and Kannika, Grade 2 for reaching the Straight A honor roll.

The next day, it was the high school honor roll assembly. Sengly ’23 spoke eloquently about facing her fears when public speaking, while Ellen ’22 shared her experiences and thoughts about the negative impact of bullying and ways to combat it.

Thanks to the student council for organizing these very well-run assemblies and congratulations to all the students on the honor roll.


Monday, 21st January 2019

It’s that exciting time of the year when colleges are awarding their ‘early decision’ acceptance scholarships. Three of our class of 2019 students have just learned of their acceptance to their preferred colleges. While the students concerned are thrilled, their peers applying for ‘regular decision’ are now more optimistic about the news they will receive this spring. We congratulate Rithy, Somphors and Sokhoeun who share their reflections below.

Image: https://vinoly.comRithy ’19 awarded a scholarship to NYU Abu Dhabi

Rithy ’19 has been awarded a scholarship to NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE. She said, “It's so hard to describe how I feel about receiving a scholarship and being accepted to NYUAD as I have felt every kind of emotion. At first, I was in shock. Then, gradually I saw the new possibilities that my future may hold. I began to focus on the exciting opportunities that will arise from being at such a great university. I will make sure that I continue to make the most of each one as they come along. Currently, I am planning to major in applied mathematics in one of the sciences or a human science subject.”

Somphors ’19 awarded a scholarship to Kenyon College USAImage:

Somphors ’19, who earned a scholarship to Kenyon College, Ohio, USA, said, “It is challenging to describe my feelings when I found out that I was offered a scholarship and accepted to college. I was actually on a plane when the letters were sent. So, what began as one of the worst plane rides, frustratedly waiting for news, became the best plane ride of my life when I checked my phone, using the onboard wifi, and saw that I had been accepted. I was quickly flooded with emotions, and I shed tears of joy; I looked up into the air, took a deep breath and thought, wow!, what a beautiful world. I haven’t finally decided on my major yet. Currently, I’m heading in the direction of pre-law, political science or international relations.”

Image: ’19 awarded a scholarship to Union College USA

Sokhoeun ’19 has been given a scholarship to Union College, New York, USA. He said, “I was elated the moment I saw that I had received a scholarship and acceptance to Union College. I was speechless. I kept reading and re-reading the acceptance letter to make sure it was not a mistake. I was at school in the college and careers office talking to teachers about my application when I found out, so I had to keep it together. However, If I had been at home, I would’ve been jumping and screaming all over the place. I am jubilant to know that I will be continuing my education abroad. It motivates me to keep striving, and I feel that my educational journey is looking ever more positive. I hope to major in mathematics and minor in economics.”

All three students expressed their gratitude for all at JPA for the opportunities and support they have received throughout their education. Thank you to all of the teachers and staff who have worked with these talented students over their entire school careers.

Opening of New Preschool Wing

Wednesday, 16th January 2019

We recently celebrated the opening of our new preschool wing welcoming over 160 two and three year old children to our beautiful, purpose-built facilities. Parents and children delighted at the bright, colorful classrooms, the large playground and the green gardens. There were inevitably a few tears as children said goodbye to parents, perhaps for the first time in their lives, but they quickly joined the fun activities and started to make friends.

Each spacious classroom has a large outside covered space for art and craft projects, a reading corner and a large space for physical movement. There are some very cute, size-appropriate bathroom facilities. By day 2, the children were already settled into their new routines and enjoying singing, dancing, listening to stories and playing together. The program aims to provide nutrition and hygiene as well as giving all the happy preschoolers the best possible start to their education.

Thanks to all the teachers, aides and parents who worked hard to make the first week a great success.


Monday, 17th December 2018

Vichheka and Nga Taking RegistrationSrey On, Voleak, Keopagnapech


Once again, the World Vets organization held their annual Veterinary Field Project for pets in Siem Reap where a skilled team of veterinarians and technicians executed a community-wide spay/neuter and microchipping campaign.

This year, twelve students from Grade 10, 11 and 12 volunteered their time to help. Over the course of the three-day project, World Vets spayed/neutered 385 animals, performed check-ups on 389 animals as well as microchipping and administering rabies vaccines to 460 animals. Each year, our students act as translators and assistants helping the vets to complete their work efficiently. This year project coordinator, Jen Cartmill, said, “The volunteer students from JPA rocked all weekend. Their language skills were particularly useful. Chanmolis ’19 was indispensable, a real standout.”

Voleak ’19 said, “Working with the local community was a good experience and I was glad to be able to help the animals. My job was to weigh the dogs so the vets could prepare the correct amount of anesthetic for each animal. I also tracked the order of the operations and helped translate for the owners so that they understood what was happening to their pets.”

Yorng Chhieng ’20 added, “The first day, Vanny ’20 and I were asked to prepare the syringes for the rabies vaccinations. A vet trained us to prepare and dispose of the syringes safely. Once the syringes were used, we separated the needles from the body and disposed of them safely in separate containers.”

“On the second day, Pagnapech ’21 and I took charge of registering owners and their pets, with some owners bringing up to 12 animals. We registered over 100 animals prioritizing sick animals and strays from the surrounding pagodas. The weekend was enjoyable and ran very smoothly.”

Well done to all the JPA volunteers and many thanks to World Vets.


Monday, 10th December 2018

Training for the RaceWarming Up


Last weekend the JPA Running Club once again competed in the annual Angkor Wat International Half Marathon. Students ran with runners from all over the world, competing in 10 km and 21 km races. The first JPA runner to complete the 21 km race was, Sothea ’21 while our first 10 km runner over the line was Khemara ’22.


Running Club lead teacher, Mr. Kahan, said, “Students trained three times a week. They maintained a running log and participated in timed runs to track their progress and improve their total running time.”


Sothea ’21, the fastest JPA student in the 21km race, said, “I was only jogging for the first 3 kilometers, conserving my energy. When a man overtook me, I was impressed at how swiftly he ran. I thought that he was going to be the winner of the entire race, so I decided to follow him, but he was too fast. Then my muscles began to hurt, so I realized that I needed to slow down. “Halfway through the race I was fatigued and I worried that I wouldn’t finish the race. I told myself to push forward, but my body failed me. I made a great effort to run, ignoring my pain and fatigue. As I neared the finish line, the JPA supporters cheered and I tried to run fast during the last five-hundred meters, yet it felt like I was running slowly. I made it and spent the rest of the day eating to recover.”

Srey TouchSomakara

Alisa ’21, the fastest JPA girl in the 10km race, said, “This was my third Angkor Wat Half Marathon. Last year I finished the 10km race in 1 hour and 15 minutes, so this year during running club training I set myself a goal of 1 hour and 5 minutes. I was so happy to run under 1 hour and 2 minutes. The training that I did really helped me throughout my run. This was such an exciting event, and I plan to train even harder so I can beat my personal best time next year.”

Khemara ’22, the fastest JPA boy in the 10km race, said, “This was my fourth Angkor Wat Half Marathon. My focus this year was not beating last year’s time but to run for the entire race without stopping. “At the start I felt energetic, ready to dash off as soon as the clock started. However, being in the middle of the huge crowd of competitors meant that I had to walk for about three minutes before I could actually start running. Although I felt that I was going quickly, there were still many runners ahead of me and around me, which made it challenging to run at my own pace. One of the lessons I have learned is to go at my own pace and not be influenced by the pace of others. After a kilometer, gaps slowly began to open up around me so I could keep my focus on my own speed. I wanted to run each kilometer in around 5 minutes, and I reached the halfway point in about twenty-seven minutes. As I had held myself back and saved energy, I ran much faster in the last half and was pleased with my time.”

Thanks to Mr. Kahan, teachers and staff for organizing the JPA Running Club throughout the year. Congratulations to all the runners.

Srey OnPhiromCelebratingToklaLisa


Monday, 3rd December 2018

Ms. McGowan draws on her love of math, logic and teaching to inspire her students. She shares her story below.

I knew that I wanted to be a teacher in 6th grade. I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of really great teachers in my life. I developed close connections with most of them, and they inspired me to pursue things that I was interested in. At the time, what I was interested in was English; I used all of my free time for writing – poems, short stories, plays. The dream was to teach English and continue writing in my free time.

Fast forward to grades 11 and 12, two years that truly changed my world. In grade 11, I took Physics, and it was the single greatest class of my life. In grade 12, I took two AP English classes, and that taught me that, though I enjoyed the subject, I didn’t want teaching it to be my life’s work. So, though I didn’t waver from teaching, I did shift subjects, from English to Science.

I went to university at The University of Maine, about an hour away from where my parents lived at the time. I studied secondary education with a focus in physical science. Even before I started university, I knew that I wanted to teach outside of the United States, and so, leading up to my final year, I applied for internships that would allow me to complete my teaching practicum abroad which is how I found myself teaching physics, chemistry, and biology for a couple of months in Shanghai, China.

The world opened up for me after that experience. Soon after graduation, I interviewed for a job in the Philippines, where I spent a year teaching math. After a roller-coaster of a year, I knew that I needed to leave the school. However, I didn’t want to go far – South-East Asia had grown on me, and I wasn’t done with the region. So I began my research. Jay Pritzker Academy is a unique school, and it stuck out instantly from most of the other schools that I was looking at. I made a choice, and over four years later, I’m still happy with that choice.

Beyond the amazing resources and facilities that JPA offers, what makes the school truly special is the students. The students made transitioning to JPA easy – I’ve never entered a class and encountered students that are so willing and eager to learn. They’ve allowed me to explore and experiment with my teaching style over the years because, no matter what, they’re willing to try every challenge I give them and give honest feedback in return. Seeing how determined the students are in the classes I have had with them, it comes as no surprise to see the success that many of JPA students, past and present, have achieved over the years.

I love order and logic. I love being faced with a problem and having to think my way through it in an organized, rational manner. I love math, and I love applied mathematics (physics, chemistry, etc.). It’s so satisfying to be able to explain phenomena in the world around me using some kind of mathematical or scientific principle.

I went into teaching rather than research or engineering for the human element. I enjoy working with students and sharing something that I love with them. Having taught at JPA for over four years now, I’ve been able to see students change and grow over time. It’s so exciting to see young people grow into their potential, figure out what is important to them, and flesh out their own identity in this world. Just because a person becomes an adult doesn’t mean they know everything about themselves. It doesn’t mean that they always know exactly what they want or need. However, thinking about their strengths and their interests can lead them to somewhere they hadn’t considered. Though thoughts of teaching have been a constant throughout most of my life, it wasn’t until my early twenties that I started teaching math, started teaching computer science, and realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do.

Thanks to Ms. McGowan for sharing your story and for the amazing work you do.


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


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)


Monday, 29th October 2018

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


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:

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.


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.

Monday, 24th September 2018

During the summer, I went to two summer camps that changed my life. I spent half of last year preparing for this trip, yet despite all of that preparation, I never really knew what to expect. I was headed for a five-day summer camp at the US Space and Rocket Center at Huntsville, Alabama and then an Aerospace, summer camp at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

After months of navigating through the labyrinth of bureaucracy necessary to get the travel permits I needed for my trip, I touched down at the Huntsville International Airport. The first thing I saw while traveling to the space center was a towering Saturn V rocket, which is the tallest and most powerful rocket ever built. It took astronauts to the moon and launched the Skylab space station into orbit. It is one of the many exhibits at the US Space and Rocket Center, which includes supersonic jets, other Apollo-era rockets, the first space shuttle test vehicle, Pathfinder, helicopters, and other aircraft. It is a wonderland for everyone, but for someone like me, who is interested in aerospace history, well, it was mind-blowing.

Savong with a US Air Force Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird - which set the flight world speed record of 1,905.81 knots (2,193.2 mph; 3,529.6 km/h), approximately Mach 3.3

After I checked in, I went to an area surrounded by chain link fence that seemed to be a vast hangar complex located next to woods and a nearby lake. This was where I stayed for the week. My room had a name, USS Nimitz, and I shared it with about 20 boys my age with everyone sleeping on bunk beds. In short, the Aviation Challenge is similar to a military-style camp, and is all about learning about aircraft, survival, and being a pilot. Additionally, the camp includes physical training focused on discipline and attention to detail in survival situations. The physical training was hard to get used to, but over the few days, I grew to love the program and my teammates, who I now call friends. Everyone was given a nickname or ‘callsign.’ Our trainer was callsign Moonpie. My 13 teammates were Slate, Frozone, Cyborg, Python, Sega, Yankee, Skeleton, Simba, Wall-E, Trike, Dingo, Phoenix, All-State, and my callsign was Panzer. We were briefed on techniques to build makeshift shelters with materials found in the woods in a survival scenario. We got to learn and apply other skills out in the field, such as building a fire, building shelters with parachutes, and patrolling.

The camp was packed with so many activities and events that I couldn’t possibly fit them all in here. Some of them were flying on zip lines, night-time field training exercises simulating a combat scenario, experiencing 3 g in a centrifuge, attending lectures on aviation history, touring the space museum, listening to speeches from an astronaut, a fighter pilot and an aerospace engineer who shared their experiences. Best of all, we flew in flight simulators and competed in a simulated dog fighting tournament called ‘Top Gun’ after the Hollywood

Savong on a Zip LineThe Winning Team - Savong (2nd row right)

movie. I was a pilot, and my friend Cyborg was my ‘Rio’ or Radio Operator. Unfortunately, I made a bad move and went into an unrecoverable dive towards the ground and crashed in the very first match. However, our team did win the tournament and broke some records which are now recorded in the Aviation Challenge’s hall of fame. On a personal note, I designed and produced a team emblem that was voted the best in the program.

With so many activities happening in the span of a few days, the summer camp was over too quickly. Before I knew it, we had graduated, and I moved on.

Savong with the Saturn V Rocket

For one day between camps, I stayed with a wonderful host family, the Boyds, who were very hospitable and friendly to me and then I flew to Daytona Beach, Florida, for my next summer camp. Daytona Beach is a beautiful place. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is next to the beach and is attached to the airport, so it was only a short drive to my dorm building, named Doolittle. Similarly to the previous summer camp, it was packed with events and activities, but this was relatively more relaxed than the mini-boot camp in Alabama. My class consisted of eighteen people, and I had the opportunity to make friends with most of them. We had two professors. Our first was Dr. Seedhouse, an amazing person. Before becoming a professor at Embry Riddle, he was named the world’s fittest man and was able to break many athletic records. He was once one of the top finalists for the astronaut selection program, but NASA didn’t choose him as he was past their age requirements. He was a fantastic teacher too. He could recall many events in space history, answer any questions the students threw at him, and identify or explain almost every single part of the International Space Station (ISS). Our second professor, Dr. Martinez, was our favorite teacher as he taught us engineering skills. He tasked us with competing in fun team engineering challenges, letting us design our own spaceship models using computer software.

Savong with the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

My best memory of the entire summer was visiting the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. This was so exciting for all of us as this is THE location for aerospace engineers. It was the site for the most significant launches in history, including the Apollo program launches that took humans to the moon, the space shuttle launches that took modules to the ISS, and virtually every other major American rocket was launched from here. We went on a bus tour around the cape and saw the many launch sites. The museum was fantastic as well. Their exhibits and presentations were absolutely world class. During one of the presentations, we sat on the seats overlooking the actual command and control center that was used during the Apollo missions. In another presentation, the whole room was in the shape of a dome which turned out to be one big screen, displaying the launch of a space shuttle. After the video presentation was over, it showed what appeared to be an image of a space shuttle on a black sheet in front of us. Then, the sheet lifted, and the actual space shuttle, Atlantis, was behind it. We then participated in a simulated space shuttle launch. We strapped ourselves in rows of seats, then the whole platform rotated upwards almost 90 degrees, and it started shaking violently as if it was the real launch. There were so many other awesome things to see and experience at the space center, but these are just three of the most significant exhibits.

Other than learning from hands-on activities and going on tours to many different places, I also learned a lot about myself during the three weeks I was at Embry Riddle. I learned how to make friends and to let go of the reserved personality that I usually exhibit back home. I learned to make the most of my time and be positive about myself and be positive towards others. However, most importantly, what this trip gave me is confidence and optimism for my future. I have always dreamt about becoming an aerospace engineer, but this was the first time that I had actual experience. Virtually all of my friends at the camp had the same dream that I do, so it was wonderful to speak to people that I could relate to. I also made many connections to people who work in the industry.

SpaceX Building and Launch Pad, The Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center

During my Aerospace studies course with Dr. Seedhouse, we were shown the rubric they use for the selection of the astronaut candidates. To be selected as an astronaut, one must be a well-rounded individual. Astronauts must not only be intelligent, but be able to take care of themselves physically and to cooperate effectively as teammates. The astronauts who have gone to space were amazing individuals, most of them dreamt of going into space their entire lives. Ever since they were kids, they dreamt of touching the heavens, and so they dedicated their entire lives to pursuing their dreams and shaped themselves into individuals who were especially suited for a space mission. I think this is very inspiring. We could dedicate our own lives to one, singular grand goal and it would give

Savong with the Lunar Excursion Module LM9
Built for the Apollo 15 Mission

everything we do meaning and purpose. That would be mean that we would wake up every day knowing exactly we want to do in pursuit of our goal and we would value the time and effort we put into some of the tedious tasks we are set or set ourselves. That is a message to all JPA students. If you have an ambition, start early and be the best person that you can be. You will have a reason to take care of yourself and put in great work at school every day. If going to space isn’t your dream, then you should find that one purpose that will define your life. Even if we don’t achieve the greatness we hoped for, consider all of the possibilities that open up from our dedication to becoming a great person.

Thank you, Savong, for sharing your story and we wish you the best on your journey towards college.


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.