Welcome Back & Happy New Year!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for an inspiring and eventful autumn term. December was an intense time here at SSHL as not only do our students have a busy social schedule in school and boarding, but the demanding end of term also requires their undivided attention.

After the mid-winter equinox, it seems that the days instantly begin to get longer. Finally! This, together with a 3 week break, will hopefully have given all our students a renewed boost of energy. At the end of our first week back, I can see that we have all returned with a new sense of purpose. I’m glad to see everyone safe and rested back at school.

New Beginnings

I believe all of us love new beginnings. It is something innately human. New beginnings awaken a feeling that we can approach the future with renewed energy, unburdened by the past. The New Year always fills us with a sense of adventure and hope. You only have to look up quotes and meditations about new beginnings on the internet to see that it is awash with all kinds ponderings of the power and importance of the chance to begin again.

Students, at the start of this term, I would like you to remember that we never stand still. What happens to us is important; but what we experience is so much based on our attitude to the things we encounter on life’s rich journey. It is important that we see the potential for change as liberating and an adventure, rather than something we need to fear.

The twentieth century poet T.S. Eliot compares the movement from old to new as if we were speaking in another voice and using another language.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

Eliot’s poem is not just saying that we are all capable of learning a new language; it is a call to embrace possibilities. We are all capable of learning something new, of making a change for the better. Whether you’re seeking to improve a grade in a subject you’re struggling with, or perhaps looking to make the leap that will take you on to the university of your choice; perhaps you’re just looking to make a difference on the football pitch! This January, make it a January for new beginnings. Embrace the possibilities that 2018 holds for you. All of us at SSHL can do different, can be better. Let’s meet that challenge together.

Have a wonderful spring term!

Margret Benedikz,
Director, SSHL

Podcast interview with Edwina Magnus


Margret Benedikz, Director of SSHL, interviews Edwina Magnus, Head of the Student Council.

MYP – Places Available in 9th Grade

myp

If you’re looking for a place to study the IB MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME (MYP) in 9th grade, we have a couple of places available.

To find out more, please contact info@sshl.se

Term-time Approaching

Dr Margret Benedikz, SSHL Director, writes:

The leadership and admin team are back at school this week, preparing for the start of the new academic year. I hope that everyone in the SSHL community has found time to step aside from their daily routine, whether it’s study or work, and get some much needed rest this summer,

I (grudgingly) enjoy the return of my regular routine and, although the first day or two back can be a challenge, I am soon caught up in the excitement of running such a wonderful school.

As I sit here in my office overlooking the lake, the campus bathed in sunshine, I can’t help but be inspired. SSHL is truly a special place to work and study.

Welcome to SSHL

We are excited to meet the new boarding and day pupils who will be starting in August. For returning students, I am sure you will work hard to make new students feel welcome, helping them to feel part of life on campus, sharing in the day-to-day spirit that makes the school so special. As a Swedish school, an international school, a boarding school and a day school, we are such a diverse community; we are unique. Those of you who are new to the school, will, no doubt, bring something new, making the school your very own.

Academic Excellence

Every year we vow to raise the bar and do better than we did last year.

When I started at SSHL in 2013, raising the grade average for entry to the high school was one of our key targets. I am proud to tell you that grade average to enter 10th grade this year is higher than it has been in the last five years. The commitment and professionalism of our staff is helping us to make SSHL an academically very strong school, providing a platform for our students to go on to something special after graduation. Students entering SSHL in 2017 will be expected to go far!

Our ninth graders are going to have to work hard to compete for a place in our senior high school. It is a challenge, particularly if your grades in 8th grade have not been fantastic, but I know from experience that hard work and determination will help anyone looking to stay on at SSHL achieve their goals. It’s not too late!

As a staff, one of our focal points for the coming year to work on and improve our systematic quality processes, which includes reporting. We also aim to promote collegial learning, improve attendance, and create a more structured and transparent boarding programme. One of the things we are examining is whether to introduce an official boarding diploma.

Having worked in school management for over a decade, I know there is always room for improvement, and I know we as professionals are all up to the challenge.

When to Be Here

I look forward to welcoming the new boarders at SSHL on Saturday, August 19, and returning students on Sunday, August 20 for the opening ceremony.

Together, in the forthcoming academic year, we will create a stronger community of sharing and learning. I hope that this will be the best year yet!

Enjoy your last days of the summer vacation.
My very best to you all,
Margret

MYP4 – Places Available for 2017-18

myp

We are pleased to announce that we currently have a few places left in our International Baccalaureate MYP4 (Middle Years Programme) classes (equivalent of Swedish Year 9) that are open for students who are eligible to follow an international programme in Sweden.

To qualify students should have either started or undertaken part of their education in a non-Swedish educational system, be living in Sweden on a temporary basis, perhaps with parents that are on diplomatic or business placements, or have a parent who has English as a mother tongue language.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact syv@sshl.se as soon as possible.

Grant for Baltic Care Project

life-link grant

Life Link, in collaboration with SSHL, are delighted to announce that the two organisations received a grant  on April 26 for a Baltic Sea Region Project entitled “The Baltic Care Project” from the Swedish Institute. It is a grant for a project involving organisations and schools in the Baltic countries, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The aim of The Baltic Care Project is to promote education for sustainability focusing on the Baltic Sea Region.

The projects objectives consist of three areas:

  • teachers at the schools will include sustainable development in their teaching
  • the schools themselves should develop projects to become more sustainable
  • the students should be acquainted with, and start to practice, sustainable lifestyle habits.

The project will be working together with centres for children and young people who have excellent contacts with many schools, and pedagogical faculties at the larger universities in the four countries. This will allow the project to eventually reach out to all upper-secondary schools in the region. The plan is to work closely with four schools in each country and that these will go on to act as twenty model schools.

The project includes workshops for the participants from the schools, visits to the schools, and the production of video documentation of the project in each participating school. Life Link and SSHL-s intention is to develop sustainability practices and competence for education for sustainable development at upper-secondary school levels in the participating schools from the Baltic Sea Region. Project schools will become model schools and present their experience and share their knowledge through videos and meetings to all schools in Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Members of the Baltic Care Project Proup

The group includes Dr Lars T Johnson (Life Link Chairman), Professor Emeritus Lars Rydén (Life Link board member and senior advisor) and Anna Johansson (teacher at SSHL).

If you would like to know and learn more about The Baltic Care Project please contact me on anna.johansson@sshl.se

Please follow this link to learn more about the Baltic Sea Region and other organisation who received a grant.

 

Very best wishes, 

Anna Johansson, SSHL

The Sleep-Deprived Generation

boarding school conference, York

Today, feeling the snow, wind and cold, it is hard to believe that spring in on its way to Sigtuna. It brings to mind the plaintiff voice of the Romantic poet Percy Shelley: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” Here winter has come and gone, but keeps coming back again and again. By the weekend, however we should have seen the last of night frost. Being optimists, we are hoping that our graduating students will get the best of the Swedish spring sunshine on May 24 to celebrate a glorious final day at SSHL.

I have just come back from attending the BSA (Boarding Schools’ Association) Heads Conference in York, UK. It’s truly inspiring to meet so many other schools that provide a first-class boarding experience for young people around the world. We come together to share ideas and experiences and, working together in a supportive environment, help to make boarding schools better.

One thing we all share as members of the BSA is a clear commitment to enriching the lives of the young people that come through our schools, providing each and every pupil the support and encouragement to develop and grow as individuals.

It was very clear to me that some of the top international boarding schools are not just admitting students from privileged homes to a first class education, some are now also cooperating with organisations like The Spring Board Bursary Foundation to provide opportunities for underprivileged young people from the inner cities. Pupils come from all walks of life and aren’t necessarily the brightest, but share a common desire to work hard and develop. This is an excellent initiative that is sure to increase social mobility.

Meeting the Challenge of Social Media

One of the main topics addressed at the conference was the concern amongst educationalists about the negative effect of social media on young people. Studies show that mental health issues are directly linked to the use of smart phones and social media channels.

Prof. Tanya Byron was invited to the conference to share her vast experience with working with mental health care and young people. Her keynote was one of the most informative and inspiring talks I listened to and gave me much to think about when it comes to the challenges facing young people.

Byron spoke at length about the so-called “sleep-deprived generation”: young people connected to net (and social media!) virtually 24/7. Byron spoke about studies that suggest it’s common for many young people to wake up in the middle of the night to reply to a text message, Snapchat or some other kind of notification from many of the other social media channels. Others sit up late into the night online gaming, for example, with friends all over the world in different time zones.

Tanya Byron is very clear that sleep deprivation and access to social media channels without some form of supervision and support has a very negative effect on young people. Clinicians are seeing a drastic increase in mental health issues which they link directly to the use of smartphones and the internet.

It is clear to me that we as adults must take responsibility in ensuring young people are better equipped to handle this situation. We need to be aware how our children are using social media. We need to ensure that they are getting undisturbed sleep so they are ready to tackle the challenges of daily life. Sleep is important to their well-being.

Furthermore, we also need to be careful that our young people are not being negatively affected by social media in other ways. There is considerable peer pressure and educationalists are clearly concerned that young people’s mental health is jeopardised by some of the attitudes and behaviours we see online.

I don’t have all the answers to this but, like many colleagues working in educational management across the world, I am determined that at SSHL we address how the internet and social media in particular are impacting the lives of our pupils. I encourage you as parents to discuss social media usage with your children. Get more insight into how they are using it. Hopefully, we can help provide a secure and safe platform together for our young people to get the most out of digital communications without suffering any negative effects.

University of Cambridge at SSHL

Many thanks to Richard Partington and Caroline Burt from the University of Cambridge for once again visiting SSHL to talk about studying at Cambridge. Gradängsalen was packed with students who came along to listen and learn more. Quite a few of them took the chance to talk with Richard and Caroline in Café Humlan afterwards. Fantastic!

STUD 17

It’s not long now until this year’s Studenten. Once change that you might notice next time you visit the school is that we’ve recently installed an iron fence on the wall where students traditionally stand and celebrate after running out. This hasn’t been done to curb traditions. It’s still possible to stand there! However, there is now a safety rail to hold onto!

Dr Margret Benedikz
Director, SSHL

NB: This post is only available in English

University of Cambridge Visitors Inspire SSHL Students

cambridge university visit sshl

Mr Richard Partington (Churchill College)

Many thanks to Mr Richard Partington (Churchill College) and
Dr Caroline Burt (Pembroke College) from the University of Cambridge, who visited SSHL yesterday.

Aulan was absolutely packed with students interested in learning more about study opportunities at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Mr Partington and Dr Burt spent time in Humlan afterwards meeting and talking to students one-on-one.

cambridge university visit sshl

Dr Caroline Burt

Mr Richard Partington (Churchill College)

Mr Richard Partington (Churchill College)

Holocaust survivor speaks at SSHL

“Today was a day of learning”

Holocaust survivor Tobias Rawet recently spoke to 7-9 graders during a Wednesday assembly at SSHL.

“I got to live!” he told the audience numerous times during his talk and the silence in the auditorium was overwhelming.

Tobias Rawet, welcomed to SSHL by the students in Grade 8, spoke candidly about his life in Poland during the Holocaust.

Born in Lodz, Poland, in February 1936, Rawet was sent to the Lodz Ghetto in 1940. In 1942, all children under the age of 10 were sent to Chelmno to be gassed.

A regular speaker about his experiences during World War II, Rawet shared with the students some of the horrific circumstances he endured until 1945 when he was liberated from a concentration camp by the Russian army.

A part of his family survived and lived in Poland under the Communist occupation until 1948 when they escaped to Sweden, where he still lives. He became an engineer, married, and today has 3 children and 9 grandchildren.

After the assembly, Rawet took part in classes with both 7th and 8th graders, as well as German class 9.

“The students were touched by his visit and Rawet’s message of peace and openness,” said Christina Peters, German teacher. “He warned us that history seems to be repeating itself and this struck a chord with students.”

Some of the 7E reflections:

“On Thursday, March 30 Tobias Rawet came to our school and talked about how he survived the concentration camp and how tough he had it. He is 81 years old but was only four years old when he was taken into the ghetto. He has had a very rough life.

It was really interesting and surprising to hear about what they had to do to survive but it was also really sad. I knew it was tough to live then in Poland but not that it was that bad. It was really nice to meet him and when you meet someone that has gone through all of that you really have a lot of respect for him. I wish they could teach students more about that these days so they could learn from it and really think of not treating people differently depending on their skin colour or their religion.
However, I am also glad that he is alive even though he has gone through all of that.” (Anneli)

“Yesterday when I met Tobias Rawet and he told his story I realized that the World War Two was so much more than we have talked about in school. Before I met him I thought that you just came to a camp and when you got too tired to work you were gassed to death; simple and not respectful at all whatsoever. The Nazis separated women from men, old, sick people or children under ten years old from the people who could work. Children younger than ten weren’t allowed to work so they were brought away in trucks to get killed which was the same for old and sick people. One of those children was Tobias Rawet but his parents were clever and gave him a new ‘personality’ where he was born in 1932 instead of 1936, which made him just about ten years old. Deep down inside I also felt sadness and anger bubbling up. I just don’t understand why people were like that; discriminating Jews and killing them because people thought that they weren’t human. The Nazis labelled Jews in different categories.” (Marieke)

“Tobias Rawet visited our school (SSHL) on March 29, 2017. To be honest I was very excited for his speech and his personal visit and it was up to my expectations, it was all very sad and emotional.” (Farwa)

Some thoughts and reflections even from 8F:
“Yesterday, when Tobias Rawet came to school to talk about the Holocaust was really good. I learned a lot and I learned about how it was in the Ghetto and the Death camps. Yesterday was a day of learning. And Tobias´ story was really emotional about was he has been through. It is unbelievable.“ (?)

Today alive, tomorrow dead
All our decisions, this have lead
To millions of deaths, the mistakes
Have made, yesterday is history
The ashes left of a corpse
The only left is memories

“This unit made med think of how valuable a human life can be, how hate can´t be cured with violation. The power and helplessness of a single human individual. How thrust can play such a role. How life gets offered to death. That a Holocaust survivor lives today, to tell about not to repeat history, but we humans don’t learn. History is repeating today, just at another place. Don’t turn your back towards it. …I can only look in my history book and remember the big numbers…The only thing I can say is: I’m sorry.” (Amanda)

“He lived his life in terror and somehow he manages to contain it inside of him without showing any sign of fear, hate or disrespect. I feel amazed by how this one man has been able to continue to live his life after the Nazis teased it apart. I get teased apart by smaller events but he has somehow shielded himself from this past and his memories.” (Filippa)

“When I saw Tobias standing on the stage in the Aula I thought, it wasn’t him, the Holocaust survivor. He looked so healthy and full of energy. When he started to talk about his early years in life and the depressing and hateful time that he lived in, my picture of Tobias changed. Now I saw a very brave man, an amazing fighter who had done everything he could to survive. I saw this outstanding man and I was very happy to meet him.” (Wilhelm)

“I am glad I wasn’t born in that time. If I never met Tobias, I will never know how painful it is. I hope we will never have that kind of happening again.” (Aaron)

Swimmer Josefine Sundberg reports on NECIS

necis swimming

In training for NECIS

 

On Friday 12:00, the NECIS swimmers headed to Arlanda airport to take off on their adventure to Luxembourg.

The first day consisted of a hotel check in, a nice warm meal to charge our batteries ahead of the next day’s competitions, and a wonderful trip into the center of Luxembourg.

On race day SSHL swimmers woke up feeling refreshed and ready to win some medals!

Breakfast was served at the hotel were we socialized with teams from the other competing schools. It really created a fun and enjoyable atmosphere ahead of the competition.

The competition started off with SSHL doing ok but we knew we could do better.

After swimming, we headed back to the hotel and ate dinner. Afterwards, there was a social evening for all competitors and it was a way for us to get to know each other better. Everyone grew tighter.

Next day, the competition continued and we ended up winning 2 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze medal. GO SSHL!!!!