JPA MUSICIANS SHINE IN RECENT PERFORMANCE

Tuesday, 26th November 2019


Grade 7 (left) Grade 6 (right)

Budding musicians recently delighted an audience which included their proud parents in our latest honors assembly.

Grade 3 performed an accomplished rendition of ‘Ode to Joy,’ taken from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Grades 6 and 7 each gave separate performances on the ukulele showcasing the results of weeks and weeks of meticulous practice. Both performances were exactly synchronized and beautifully sung. It was clear from the surprised expressions on parents’ faces that many of them had no idea how talented and skilled their children have become.

Thanks to the music teachers and well done to all our student musicians. We look forward to hearing them again at the next assembly.


Grade 3

2019 MODEL UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE IN PHNOM PENH

Thursday, 7th November 2019


Sareth (right)

Chan Minea

Recently, the JPA Model United Nations (MUN) club attended the International School of Phnom Penh Model United Nations Conference (ISPPMUN). The club sent a range of representatives from Grade 7 students attending their first MUN conference in the junior category through to experienced Grade 12 students attending their final MUN conference.

MUN coordinators Mr. McBride and Mr. Van Hilten reported, “ISPPMUN 2019 was another successful conference for JPA students. We now have a core group of Grade 10 and 11 students able to use the experience they have accumulated over the past three years to make significant contributions to their assemblies.”

Sampoas, Grade 10, added, “I represented the delegation focusing on social, cultural, and humanitarian issues. We debated the questions of the rights of LGBTQ+ communities, government censorship of the media and youth representation in government.

“Multiple times the delegates of South Africa and Saudi Arabia criticized my group’s resolution that promoted and championed freedom of speech for youth representation in governments all around the globe. They raised concerns that children would become puppets of politicians. They were also worried that youths are immature and would be corrupted. In my closing speech I said that I understood their worries, but stated that our resolution addressed their concerns. We had included clauses that ensured young people would have a good education to put their skills to use. I said that it isn’t possible to live without being influenced by others. However, the difference came down to education. Young people should be able to evaluate what they are being told and make their own decisions. They could choose to follow the ideas of others like many of today’s politicians who know of global warming yet continue to fail to do anything effective about it. Or become someone like Greta Thunberg for example who decided to go on a school strike which brought about millions of people protesting with her all around the world. In the end, my resolution passed with over 70% voting yes. If there’s one thing that I learned from this conference, it’s that it only takes one good voice to impact a huge population.”


Sokh Visal

Khemara

Sareth, Grade 12, who took on the position of deputy chair for the first time writes, “One of the benefits of being a chair of the conference is that you can enjoy listening to all of the debates. The delegates were very passionate about the topics. I was in the room with two other JPA students. Srey On, Grade 11, the delegate of Bangladesh, asked the most points of information in the whole committee, and Ellen, Grade 10, the delegate of Iran, sent many amendments to the floor and took a strong stance to defend Iran’s ‘democracy’.”

“ISPPMUN 2019 was the best MUN conference I have attended and I am happy to have accomplished a goal of mine, chairing a conference before I graduate.”

MUN club is now setting its sights on the next event in Vietnam.

MY SECOND YEAR AT UNIVERSITY - BY KIMSRENG ’18

Thursday, 31st October 2019

Kimsreng (2nd from the left) in Cincinatti

Giving a speech in Chinese

Hi everyone,

I am now a sophomore at Wabash College, and I have spent a year in this small town called Crawfordsville, Indiana, trying to adapt to its culture and weather. I still remember the day when I was on the flight. I was traveling alone for the first time to a country 14,000 km away from my hometown. Frankly, it was a frightening experience, but at the same time, it was an experience that I needed to help me become an independent adult. Since then I have joined a fraternity, traveled to other cities and picked up a new language, Chinese.

I spent the first week with other international students and it passed by in a blink of an eye. Then, we all went our own way as we headed into different courses. I was the only international student in my freshmen tutorial course and it was difficult to make friends since I’m a bit of an introvert, but I soon got over that. After talking to some of the seniors that I’ve now grown close to I wanted to join the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity (TKE). In the first semester, I spent time with my new brothers completing activities and tests before we could all be initiated as official members of the fraternity. Like actual brothers, we fought for each other and with each other. After a semester of initiation challenges, I became a regular member of Tau Kappa Epsilon.

Throughout the year, I traveled to different cities, including Chicago, where I was surprised to see some Cambodian relics and statues on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the fall break, I went on a trip with other international students to Cincinnati and was struck by the enormous size of the dormitories at the University of Cincinnati; they were up to 20 stories high.

In the second semester, I participated in the annual Chinese speaking contest with approximately 15 other participants from both Wabash College and DePauw University. I had to present a project on a Chinese city to the students and professors. I finished my speech and thought that I could have performed better. Despite this, I received words of encouragement from my classmates, which lifted my spirits.

Despite all these experiences, I haven’t completely gotten used to being here. The sun sets around 9 p.m., and it is cold for three seasons. I’m sometimes homesick, but luckily I’m only one click away from my family and friends. Though it’s not the same as their actual presence, it is a good substitute. I am lucky as my Cambodian brothers from JPA who are also here at Wabash College share their time and experiences with me. With them around, I can express myself in my own language, which makes it feel a little bit like home.

So, all up, it has been an interesting experience. I understand more about college life, I’ve seen a bit of the mid-west and I can speak a little Chinese. I’m ready for the rest of the year.

Kimsreng

The class of 2019 arrive at college

Thursday, 24th October 2019

The class of 2019 have arrived at their colleges in the USA and other countries. They share their experiences below.


SreyNit

SreyNit – Berea College – KY, USA
The first time I walked through the entrance to Berea College, there were two rows of professors welcoming new students. I teared up as I couldn’t believe that I had made it this far from my village in Cambodia. During my first week, I was proud to hold Cambodia’s national flag as a representative in Berea College’s ‘People on Earth’ group.
On the first day of class, everything was chaotic and confusing. This was mainly because of the distances between my classes. I am not used to such an expansive campus. I was nervous about making new friends, but that ended up being the least nerve-wracking thing that I have had to do so far. You need to really step out of your comfort zone to succeed.


Rithy

Rithy – NYU – Abu Dhabi, UAE
Three weeks at Abu Dhabi has passed by so fast. I’ve challenged myself to join the soccer team, and the girls feel like a family to me already. Classes are challenging, but I expected that as it is university after all. I’ve learned a lot about Abu Dhabi, my new home, and I can’t wait to explore more about this fantastic place.


Makara – Rhodes College – TN, USA
The first few weeks of college were overwhelming, especially having to get used to a new school, food, culture and country while trying to cope with feelings of homesickness. However, having the opportunity to meet and make friends with people from different backgrounds as well as studying and pursuing computer science and music is super exciting and makes up for everything. It all feels like a fabulous dream to me.


Sokhoeun – Union College – NY, USA
As I spent my junior year of high school at Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, Union College feels like coming back home, but with a different vibe and a much quicker pace. There aren’t lots of classes, but there is much work to do for each one. I make sure that I use my initiative to seek help. At the same time, there are numerous clubs, organizations, and weekend events to join to help make personal connections. I look forward to continuing my awesome learning experience in the years to come.


Chanmolis – Hollins University – VA, USA
Hollins is very green and picturesque. Everyone is friendly and helpful. There are beautiful views of mountains wherever you turn. Squirrels run along with students as they head to class. We enjoy sharing our different cultures and traditions.
Our best tradition here is The Rock, a large rock on which Seniors can paint messages or happy birthday notes to friends. Hollins is a small, but busy university. There’s always something to do, even at night.


Phearom – Wesleyan University – CT, USA
My transition to Wesleyan University was smooth due to the generous support and guidance that I received from my fellow students and Wesleyan staff. I am excited to begin all the classes that I have registered for this semester, and I look forward to an amazing college year. The campus is amazingly beautiful, and the photo of me is in front of the iconic Wesleyan library, built in 1925.


Sreyrath – Elon University – NC, USA
Although Elon still looks amazingly huge to me, I do not feel lost at all due to all the support from other students and faculties members. Transitioning to a foreign place is intimidating, but asking for help takes you a long way. Instead of spending my time just communicating with people back home, the moment I finish my classes, I explore. I have been all over the campus, participated in different events like the Oak Fair, Carnival, and Late Night Elon, and talked to so many wonderful people. Instead of staying in my comfort zone, I have opened myself to learn more about this new culture.


Ratana – Thammasat University School of Global Studies – Bangkok, Thailand
Although Cambodia and Thailand share some similarities, there are still a great many differences. I have yet to learn the best way to adapt to my new school and environment, especially the food. Coming to university in Bangkok is the first time that I have left my country. I am far from my family, and little problems do come up here and there. Nevertheless, I am making the most of my amazing opportunity, and it will only get better as long as I put my head down and keep telling myself to move forward. I have a mantra, “Don’t dwell on the past, live in the present, create the future.”


Sothea – Whitman College – WA, USA
It has been an amazing first two weeks at Whitman College. As an international student, I participated in two separate orientation programs, one specifically for international students and the other one for all new students. I have registered for Chinese and economics. I am looking forward to making many more friends and joining many different extracurricular activities.

Thank you to our newest alumni for sharing your stories. We look forward to hearing more about your college experiences for many years in the future.

WORLD ROBOTICS OLYMPIAD

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.

GRADE 10 SCIENCE - PROPERTIES OF MATTER

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.

SEIHA ’18 REFLECTIONS ON MY FRESHMAN YEAR

Thursday, 29th August 2019

Seiha and Friends

Skiing

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.

BACK TO SCHOOL

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!