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Our Teachers’ Hidden Talents! - 1st Edition

Did you know my physics teacher is also an award winning writer?

Interview between Eva-Sofia Meindl (Communications Prefect on Student Leadership Team) and Hannah Phillips (Teacher of Physics AND award winning writer). Mrs Phillips has been at StGIS since 2017, and comes with her husband, Jake Lynn (our Interdisciplinary Unit Coordinator) and their daughter Elsie. Earlier this year she was awarded with Kindle Storyteller Award 2018 for her book 'The Afterlife of Walter Augustus'.

Interviewer: Science and the arts are usually seen as opposites. Do you agree? 
Ms Phillips: They’re not opposites! You couldn’t make new scientific discoveries without being creative, so no, I think they are interlinked. 

Interviewer: Is that why the two seem to harmonise in your life?  
Ms Phillips: Yes – I think they do in everyone’s. Anybody who is artistic is also scientific and methodical in the way they go about improving their own work. If you aren’t analysing and evaluating what you’re doing, which are the key ideas behind science, then how do you progress as an artist? I don’t think you can. It bothers me when people categorise themselves as either ‘scientific’ or ‘arty’ – you can be both.  

Interviewer: Is the process of writing similar to how you would approach a problem in physics?  
Ms Phillips: When I write, I plan before I start and then spend a long-time editing, or ‘evaluating’ it, when I’m finished. Both involve a lot research, so there are a lot of parallels you can draw between them. 

Interviewer: You received the Kindle Storyteller award, how does it feel now that more people seem to be aware of your writing? 
Ms Phillips: People aren’t really more aware so it’s fine. *laughter* The award is fantastic but fortunately, my books are still very unknown. I think when you do win something, you are judged much more harshly. 

Interviewer: What was the process of receiving the award like?   
Ms Phillips: It was a bit scary – I didn’t really know what was going to happen. The other competitors and I had to be interviewed by the press and we then we had our photos taken. I didn’t really think I was going to win because the others were full-time, professional writers and I’m a physics teacher. Winning was a bit of a surprise. 

Interviewer: When do you find the time to write? 
Ms Phillips: Every morning, from 5:30 to 6:30. I don’t really do ‘free time’ so writing is my main hobby. 

Interviewer: You wouldn’t make it your full-time job? 
Ms Phillips: Not at the minute. I did my degree in physics and music because it gave me balance. Having more than one aspect in your life means that you can always switch off from something that might be frustrating at one point. Having the ability to move between writing and school helps to keep me sane – I use that term loosely.   *laughter*

Interviewer: Has teaching and the variety of people it exposes you to influenced your writing? 
Ms Phillips: I see a story in everyone. If I were to see a random person with a dog, I would wonder where the dog came from and whether it’s always belonged to them since it doesn’t seem to like them very much and so on. 

Interviewer: What are you currently working on? 
Ms Phillips: Like I said, the stories come to me endlessly so I thought I would work on a young adult novel but I don’t like sticking to genres. That’s probably why I’m not massively successful writer. Most authors, especially those who self-publish, only write thrillers or only young adult, for example. That’s how they build a fan base, whereas I just like to write stories. If I have an idea, I’m not bothered about what genre it fits into or whether its marketable. I had an idea for a young adult novel but I also feel that Medusa was treated unfairly in Greek mythology. I think she deserves  a retelling. 

Interviewer: Are those the two things you’re focusing on at the moment?  
Ms Phillips: No, there are lots of things I’m working on. I have the second book in a series coming out in December and the third book of that series now needs to go into editing. Medusa is planned – mostly in my head – even though I’m only about 20 000 words into the first draft, but I also have another idea I want to do. I pretend that I will definitely commit to one project but secretly, I work on whatever I feel like. 

We wish Mrs Phillips all the best for her future of inspiring young scientists, and inspiring young readers!

StGIS INSPIRING PEOPLE – VOLUME 8 / FLORIAN ORLEY

Snowboarder, Flo Orley, visited St Gilgen International School to give a presentation on extreme sports and risk management.

Reflections on StGIS Inspiring People Volume 8 - Florian Orley

The staff and students of St Gilgen International School were delighted to welcome Flo Orley, Freeride-Snowboarder and extreme athlete, to their school. The former World Champion, who recently retired from professional riding after a hugely successful career, visited St Gilgen’s renowned private school to speak about his passion of extreme sports and risk management. The multi time World Champion and twice Vice-World Champion, who was born in Tirol, gave an interesting insight into his 17-year career as an extreme rider, as well as his film projects undertaken worldwide and not to mention his daredevil stunts as a stuntman for Hollywood productions. Most important to Flo was always passion for sport and calculated risk management. “Being ready for anything at any time” was, by his own definition, his key to such success.

In January 2018, the 42-year-old from Innsbruck will embark on a new project; travelling around the world in a Catamaran. Flo, his wife Nina and their two children Keano (6) and Momo (5), who normally spend their summers in St Wolfgang, on Lake Wolfgang, will start their world adventure, setting sail for the Caribbean on their recently purchased Catamaran. Within two years, the family wish to visit the Galapagos Islands, having previously navigated the Panama Canal. The couple have purchased school text books and learning materials for the first two years of primary school in order to educate their child whilst travelling. Once the family begin their journey in January, they will document their adventure in the form of a blog, which can be found under the following link: www.sailawayfamily.com

STGIS INSPIRING PEOPLE – VOLUME 6 / LAURA CHAPLIN

Laughter-Expert and book author, Laura Chaplin, impressed the students in St Gilgen with facts such as: Children laugh more than 300 times daily, adults as little as 15 times per day.

Reflections on StGIS Inspiring People Volume 6 - Laura Chaplin

The staff and students of St Gilgen International School enjoyed a lecture of a very different kind with this guest speaker. The granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin and laughter-expert Laura Chaplin spoke about the benefits of laughter and the relationship between health and humour. “Making other people laugh and laughing yourself, makes you happy,” this is the motto by which the 30-year-old lives because: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” The laughter guidebook, with the title “Laughter is the First Step Towards Happiness” highlights many health benefits of happy people. “Laughter makes people attractive and gives positives energy. It boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure and alleviates tension, stress, anger and anxiety.” Studies show that adults laugh around 15 times a day, in comparison to babies, who laugh up to 500 times and children who laugh more than 300 times daily.

Petition: To make laughter a fundamental right for all.

In the lecture at St Gilgen International School, the laughter-expert who resides in Geneva spoke about her famous grandfather and delighted students with laughing exercises. Laura believes that she laughs around 100 times a day and gave the students advice on enhancing their wellbeing: “try on your way to school, in the bus, during break time or in front of a mirror to be cheerful and to laugh. Being cheerful increases creativity in all aspects of life.”

Laura challenges the UN-Secretary-General to accept her petition to make laughter a fundamental right for all, so that it can be filed with the United Nations.

Further information can be found under the following link: www.charliesmile.org

Laura Chaplin lists five reasons for laughing daily:
1. Laughter burns calories! 10 to 15 minutes of laughter burns roughly 50 calories. 2. Endorphins are released when you laugh, which strengthens the immune system and helps to protect against flu and colds. 3. Studies show that laughing for 20 to 30 minutes daily lowers blood pressure in adults. 4. Laughing for 1 minute can increase your life expectancy by 20 minutes. 5. Laughter is a free face lift!

Class of 2016-2017 IBDP Results

The IBDP results are one measure of excellence and just one small (but important) story our students will tell as they continue another step along their path of excellence and onward with a lifelong love of learning.

We are extremely proud of all of our StGIS Graduates from the class of 2016-2017. In addition to a full life at StGIS, packed with challenge, creativity, adventure, culture and fun, they have also completed one of the most rigorous and demanding educational programmes in existence: the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

The IBDP results are one measure of excellence and just one small (but important) story our students will tell as they continue another step along their path of excellence and onward with a lifelong love of learning.  

We are pleased to share with you the following wonderful news.

  • Of more than 150,000 IB graduates from around the world, 12 Diplomas, 15 Bilingual Diplomas and 2 Course Awards came from StGIS (pass rate higher than the IB World Average)
  • Our students achieved an average point score of 33.5 (higher than the IB world average and higher than our 2015-2016 academic year)
  • 11 of our students earned an IBDP point score of 35 or higher out of a possible 45 (placing them in the top 25% of all graduates world wide)
  • 4 of our students earned an IBDP point score of 40 or higher out of a possible 45 (placing them in the top 6% of all graduates world wide)
  • 1 of our students earned an IBDP point score of 44 out of a possible 45 (placing her in the top 1% of all graduates world wide)
  • Our students secured places in some of the best universities in the world. Some of these include; Harvard University, USA; University of Edinburgh; Institute of Design, Turin, Italy; Durham University, UK; Paris College of Art; United International Business Schools, Madrid)

Statistics based on the ”IB Diploma Programme Statistical Bulletin: May 2016 Examination Session”

While there are many wonderful individual efforts in the IBDP, we would like to take this opportunity to recognise the family effort required for students to achieve their goals. Everyone, including parents, teachers, administrative support teams, maintenance crews, boarding teams, housekeeping staff, and technical support, plays a critical role in helping our students achieve their best. This is the StGIS way.

Finally, a challenge for our graduates: we are proud of you all for what you have achieved here at StGIS, for how you have grown, and for the young men and women you are today. You leave with an IBDP ranking number, but you must never forget that you are more than this number. What you have achieved today is only a fraction of your remaining potential to achieve excellence in the next eighty years of your lives. Today you have taken one step in a thousand-step journey, what lies ahead is up to you. Be curious, be courageous, be brave, be caring, work hard, be just and honourable and stay in touch. You always have a home at StGIS.