"This was a truly inspiring evening with a truly authentic and inspiring woman. We left the evening energized and passionate about absorbing these messages and moving forward as a community committed to advancing freedom for all in this world." Desert Flower Foundation

At StGIS, we believe in excellence, integrity and passion, and this week we were fortunate to have a visit from a woman who embodies and epitomizes each perfectly. Mrs Waris Dirie's story is familiar to many. Those who have seen her movie or read her books know her as the nomadic child who escaped an arranged marriage by crossing a desert, found fame in the modeling industry in London, and left it all to take up the fight against female genital mutilation.

This incredible story is both shocking and inspiring. It is a true story of transformation and empowerment. However, as our students discovered in their up close and personal interview, there is far more to this amazing woman than meets the eye. Mrs Dirie interacted naturally with our young people and shared with them her message of hope, her strength, and her wish for a more peaceful world. She encouraged us all to live simply, and to love more, to follow our instincts and to stand up against inequity and cruelty in the world.

To Mrs Dirie, the path was clear; we cannot be conditioned by the past in shaping our future. She was anxious not to waste time speaking about how she survived or how she lived. Rather, she insisted that the most pertinent conversation is about how we should all live right now! She taught us that to be true to ourselves, we must find what stirs us; to find what ignites a meaning and purpose in us that we cannot let go of. Once this is found, it is our duty to pursue this passionately, courageously and unapologetically.

This was a truly inspiring evening with a truly authentic and inspiring woman. We left the evening energised and passionate about absorbing these messages and moving forward as a community committed to advancing freedom for all in this world.

StGIS is proud to be able to donate 5000 euros to her 'Desert Flower Foundation’. 

What is your StGIS story? Episode 1

Our stories are an authentic expression of our culture, our values and our mission.

Our stories are our living memories. They are an authentic expression of our culture, our values and our mission. Whilst an organisational mission statement can summarize an approach or an ideal, a story is the embodiment of this. The passing on of stories is one of the oldest and earliest forms of education. Narrated by those who experienced them, we will be publishing a series of videos to capture these stories and provide a unique insight into life at StGIS. 



Saints Basketball 2017

It was a hugely enjoyable day and on behalf of all our coaching staff, I would like to thank all the students for their effort, and for showing the spirit of determination, teamwork and sportsmanship that characterises our StGIS athletes.

On Saturday the boys and girls basketball teams set off for the annual jamboree in Salzburg, hosted by AIS Salzburg. The day was very busy commencing with team breakfasts in the boarding house at 7 am and finishing with the fantastic experience of watching a live Bundesliga basketball game involving the Salzburg mens team. This also gave the kids achance to see their coach strut his stuff courtside in a suit.

The Girls kicked off their day with a hard fought game against a very well drilled Budapest team. The girls performed admirably with Antonia Reinisch battling hard for the ball, while Veronika Necheva showed some great shooting ability. Unfortunately for the girls, Budapest were toowell trained and they lost the opening game. They then went on in a very impressive performance in a close game against rivals AIS Salzburg. The game was a classic score-for-score encounter and the girls were unlucky to come out on the wrong side of the result. However, they must be commended on effort with Maika fighting hard for every ball and putting in some blocks that the boyswould be proud of, while Vicki shot some beautiful baskets including a 3 pointer. 

The boys were also involved in some tough and grueling encounters and came away with a commendable 3rd place finish. Their first game was a back and fourth dual against a very impressive Bratislava team. It was a great competition, which the boys managed to prevail in. Christian Kadletz and Lukas Kloss led the team well against a very creative point guard from Bratislava. The boys lost their second game against Budapest by asingle score, with some high-pressure situations keeping the referees on their toes. Undeterred by their earlier loss, the boys went in to a semifinal against Vöcklabruck basketball club, a very talented outfit who were clearly a step above the rest of the competition. Nevertheless, rather than shy away from the challenge the Saints boys raised their game, scoring their highest number of points all season. The boys then entered into a third place playoff, which they won comfortably. Mujtapa Wali put in one of his most impressive games of the season. Meanwhile, the power trio of Christian, Lukas and Michael were in free-scoring form. This victory was good enough for the 3rd place trophy, leaving the boys proud of their achievements but equally determined to come back and win next year. An additional highlight of the tournament was the inclusion of Christian Kadletz in the 'team of the tournament'. All players and coaches voted the five best players of the tournament and Christian was recognised for his tenacity, un-relentless defense, on-court leadership and devastating reverse layup.  

It was a hugely enjoyable day and on behalf of all our coaching staff, I would like to thank all the students for their effort, and for showing the spirit of determination, teamwork and sportsmanship that characterises our StGIS athletes. 

Thank you also to Coach Aaron Mitchell, CoachHouse, Coach Seaman, Assistant Coach Rands. 

Mr McAnerney
(Team Manager)


A vision of leadership and new perspectives on the path of excellence: reflections on StGIS Inspiring People - Andy Holzer

Reflections on StGIS Inspiring People Volume 3 - Andy Holzer

Last term, as part of our program of ‘Inspiring People’, St. Gilgen International School welcomed Mr Andy Holzer. Andy shared with us his journey as a blind mountain climber. Not only has he stood on top of most of the world’s highest peaks, he climbs to a level that would leave most fully sighted people still scratching about at the bottom. Most importantly though, he shared with us the mindset that has served him in achieving the remarkable things he has in his life. The summits he has reached and the hurdles he has overcome are truly inspiring; however, his powerful message to the audience was, though the vast majority of us will never face life without vision, the challenges we face daily are more similar than we may think.

As a blind man, and certainly as a blind child, Andy was consistently limited by other people’s estimations of him. People made judgments about his capacity to achieve things based on their preconceived idea of who he was. The error they made in this regard is that they positioned Andy’s blindness as the central and most significant part of who he was; they defined him based on his weakness rather than his strength. The critical realisation Andy made very early in his life was to recognise that he does not need to be defined in such a narrow way. Andy calls these people ‘the passersby’, and explained how he would politely greet them, then leave them behind, assured in his own reality of who he is, and fixed on his own goals and ambitions.

If it is the error of the passersby to underestimate and inadvertently burden those they encounter with the weight of a low expectation, it is our own error if we allow these energies any space within our consciousness. As an educational institution, we must be ever aware of the passersby and ensure that within our small community all those we pass share in our ambition, our passion and our expectation of excellence. As we nurture this culture of excellence within our school, we take control of the passerby effect and harness it for the positive. For Andy, it was his inner circle of friends, climbing partners and loved ones who enabled his greatness. At St. Gilgen International School, it is our students, our teachers, our parents and our friends who will enable ours; each of us is an enabler of each other’s path of excellence. This is the power of community.

The other powerful message from Andy’s speech, which has a great pertinence to education, is the necessity for dynamic leadership. Andy described dynamic leadership in his terms as, having the mental vision of where he wants to be and what he needs to achieve, yet needing the support of others to get there. To achieve this he would to engage those near to him in his vision and plans and then to teach them how they should help him to achieve them. In this sense, Andy was the leader, however, the fact remained that he needed others to lead him. And so, the process of dynamic leadership is to help other people help us to achieve our goals. Very rarely, would it be the case that we ever define our objectives and achieve them without the input or support from others. Whether these be physical, academic, business or personal goals, we always need others, and hence, we can all benefit from honing our skills in dynamic leadership.

The need for dynamic leadership is never so great as it is in the case of education. The teacher/leader who fails to see the student as central to the process of education fails to be effective in today’s classrooms. By the same token, the student/leader who fails to inform the teacher/leader of what can be done to promote greater understanding fails to see their fullest potential realised. Our classrooms need to be dynamic spaces where students and teachers work together on shared goals (the goal of opening minds, developing skills and increasing the complexity and depth of thinking). Flies on the walls of our classrooms will hear students beginning sentences with, ‘I understood it better when you…’, ‘what I am missing in my understanding is…’, or, ‘can we explore this section in some more depth please?’. The role of the dynamic student/leader is not a passive one; it involves self-awareness, reflection, open communication and a commitment to growth. It involves investment in those people who you need to succeed. The role of the teacher/leader is to be open to and aware of each learner and the way their learning is best led.

What Andy illuminated for us as a learning community is the necessity for interpersonal relationships that are characterised by high degrees of dynamic personal-professional leadership; embedded within a community of positive passersby with shared high expectations. In other words, students and teachers working together (leading one another) to achieve more that either may have otherwise believed was possible! This is a vision we can all play an active role in brining into reality.

With deepest gratitude and appreciation

Jeremy G House