Friday, 11th October 2019

Recently, we sent three teams of students to Phnom Penh to compete in the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) run by STEM Cambodia. WRO tournaments are organized in more than 65 countries and help students develop their creativity and problem-solving skills through challenging and educational robotics competitions.

The students were competing in the junior section, which required the use of Lego Mindstorms robots and software. Their mission was to design, build and program a robot to move colored pieces, representing smart light globes, around the competition area.

Robotics and coding teacher, Mr. Engelen, said, “Maly and Channra performed very well, and I thought they may well have finished in first place. In the end, they finished equal first on points and third in the time taken, which was a good result but something we aim to improve. Tokla and Visal learned a valuable lesson about robot design and the placement of their color sensor. The placed their sensor too high, and due to the different lighting used during the competition compared to school, no matter how they adjusted their program, the robot failed to follow the pathways on the mat.”

Channra said, “We were in the lead until the last round and we ended up joint first on points. However, because our time was slower than the competitors, we came third.”

Tokla said, “We encountered problems with our color sensor and while trying to correct it, Visal and I were able to learn debugging skills relating to color tracking and using ‘if/else’ statements. However, we were unable to overcome the flaws with our initial robot design during the short time allowed for the competition. We will be much better prepared for the competition next year because of this experience.”

Monita added, “During the competition, I focused on building the robot while my teammate, Minea, checked our programs. On the first trial, we scored no points as the robot failed to pick up any pieces. Thus, we changed our strategy, focusing on pieces that were a single color. By reprogramming, we were able to score points.”

Thanks to Mr. Engelen for preparing the students. The prospects for next year’s WRO are looking bright.


Tuesday, 10th September 2019

Channy and Sovannarath Preparing the MixtureKhemara, Chhay and Sarem Filtering the Mixture

The first topic covered by Grade 10 chemistry this year is Identifying Properties of Matter. Classifying substances is a task the students are familiar with from elementary school, and so by Grade 10, they’re ready to apply their knowledge and experience to more challenging experiements.

Each student in Grade 10 aims to enroll in AP science classes across the three disciplines during high school. This year’s grade 10 class are already well on the way.

Filtering the MixtureEvaporating the Remaining WaterSeparating Sand an Iron Using Magnets

Minea Heating the MixturePhally and Chantrea Using a Magnet to Extract the Iron

Thank you, Ms. Linton and Grade 10 for inviting us into your science class.


Thursday, 29th August 2019

Seiha and Friends


As I am writing this reflection, the sun is finally shining blessing the once snow-covered Middlebury College with a sense of life, a sense of revitalization. As the year begins, I look back at the challenges I faced during my freshman year. No one ever talks about imposter syndrome around here, but everyone feels it. The first-generation college students, the low-income students, the students of color... they all feel it. But no one ever talks about it.

For months, I questioned my place at this school. Would my grade, a B minus, affect my place here? Why did one of my classmates complain about getting an A minus? It was exhausting. It was draining being in conversations with peers who seem to have their whole lives planned out and perform well in such a competitive environment. I quickly burnt myself out trying to fuel my machine, thinking I was in the same race as everyone else. But, all this time, I was not.

I am not in the same race as my peer from Pakistan, as my peer from Venezuela, or my peer from South Africa, or my peers from the U.S. I, unfortunately, invested in the wrong race. My race is for me, against me. A graduating senior told me one day during our working shift, “if you do everything you can... if you do your best, then you should go to bed feeling proud because you did your best; whatever the outcome is, someone else’s success does not equate to your failure.”

I picked myself up. I participated and performed in Middlebury’s Fall dance concert. I was involved in the annual International Student Organization show. I became part of an urban dance crew called Evolution and quickly became one of the choreographers. I became a mentor for new international students. My friend and I came up with a proposal and we were selected to lead a trip for Middlebury students to Atlanta, Georgia. I recently became an active member of Middlebury’s Cross-Fit club as well as the Southeast Asian Student Society. I am a member of the school’s Box Office Team at the Mahaney Arts Center and the MiddRides Program - an evening transportation service for students and faculty.

It took a lot of self-reflection for me to find my truths, but now I’ve found my place at Middlebury and I am so excited about the endless opportunities that await me this year. For those of you heading to college, always remember that it is ok to be overwhelmed and lost. But also remember that a labyrinth always has a way out. Never doubt your place at school. You are meant to be there. Navigate the space, find your truths and always remember that they will lead you back to your purpose.

Seiha (center) Choreographer and Performer with the Urban Dance Crew - Evolution

Thank you Seiha ’18 for your insights about the first year at college in the USA.


Monday, 19th August 2019

The 2019-2020 school year got off to a great start at JPA. On the first day, the canteen was abuzz at breakfast time with students sharing stories of their summer adventures.

Over summer, students with an interest in either medicine or science took up internships at Siem Reap’s excellent Angkor Hospital for Children. Others worked with various NGOs and companies getting valuable work experience.

High school students returned from our regular annual summer trips to Australia and Singapore. Many more spent time at Camps International here in Cambodia hosting students from high schools around the world.

As we welcome 60 new children into our pre-kindergarten class, we bid farewell to the class of 2019 who are heading in different directions to begin life at university.

Let’s look forward to another great year of success at JPA!