high school news
International School of Panama’s Dolphins are always up to something good, and we want to share it with you. Catch all the good news and important announcements for our high school school right here.
We want to thank all of the parents who attended the presentation The Prevention and Response to Student Substance Use: The Roles of Family and School, this past Wednesday. The counseling and administration team appreciates your engagement and feedback. We look forward to hosting more Parent Coffees on similar topics in the future based on our community needs. We are also open to doing a repeat session for those who missed the presentation. We will keep you posted.
You can also take a few minutes to view the presentation information.
The Service, Engineering, and Technology (SET) project is a student led community outreach initiative at ISP. SET is a long-term project focused on providing aid to communities in the rural parts of Panama that lack the technological and financial resources to improve their quality of life. Together we help raise money by organizing activities like pizza sales and donation campaigns to collect old computers and other items to be refurbished and donated to the communities in need. We then use the funds to purchase solar panels and other electrical hardware needed for the panel installation.
Over the break, we returned to the Buenos Aires community in Chepo. We visited the local school and led some fun activities with the kids. We then traveled 20 minutes on a dirt road to visit the home of one of the student’s family to install the solar panel and light fixture.
When we arrived, we started laying out all our materials: the batteries, cables, wires, light bulbs, transformers, and toolbox. Then we had to find a place to install the solar panels where they could be held tightly and get enough sunlight to provide the energy that would run the house's electrical power supply. We decided to install it on the roof and tie it with wires that were not in use by the house owners (see picture). Then we connected two wires to the panel and attached them to the small transformer regulator on the wall that we connected to the parallel installed batteries, which would generate and store more energy than if they were installed in a series circuit. The last step was to connect wires to the lights we installed on the roof and walls of the living room, kitchen, and front entrance.
These experiences were extremely rewarding for me because I was able to use the skills I had learned as part of SET, as well as in school, to help someone in need. I know that without all of my teammates, this would not have been possible. We helped each other and gave our own ideas to be able to reach our goal. However, we also learned from each other, given that none of us are very experienced technicians or electricians. Nonetheless, we were able to learn as we prepared for the mission and then executed our plan.
- Written by Stephanie Boyd, Engineering Team Member
This year the grade 9 trip combined ocean, beaches, and two views of Panama as 84 of the grade 9s went to Isla Saboga in the Pearl Islands. Due to capacity for sleeping arrangements in tents, half the class went Monday- Tuesday and the other half went Tuesday – Wednesday with overlap time on Tuesday. Forca3 Sailing Club of Panama hosted our students and teachers in an adventure of sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, jungle trekking and camping on the beach. The students also trekked to the village on Isla Saboga to interact with the residents there, many of whom live in absolute poverty. On the way back, one group spontaneously stopped to pick up 2 bags full of garbage that littered the jungle. "Maybe it feels little, but trust me this made a difference", said one of the students, Mimi Y. On the switch day, when students weren’t on the island, they were in literature circles at ISP with the visiting author.
ISP is very grateful to Forca3 for hosting us and to the students who remained flexible, open-minded, and fun focused!! It was a great bonding experience for everyone.
HACIA Democracy XXIII was a unique experience and opportunity. HACIA Democracy is a debate conference organized by Harvard University undergraduates talking about issues affecting America. Each year the conference is located in a different Latin American country; this year it was Panama. HACIA encourages and challenges teens and young adults to find creative and innovative ways to solve those problems, by implementing projects and competitions such as the Engineering Competition asking for a project that helps a specific community, an Art contest that addressed the issue of poor education in Latin American countries and an essay contest discussing a specific issue in a specific place of Latin America. They encourage the youth to do this so we can work to a brighter and better future.
Going to a conference with our debate team was a wonderful experience because we got to meet people from all around America from Philadelphia to El Salvador. The chairs and people are very dedicated and involved in those issues because most of the countries that they come from are facing those issues, therefore there is not one moment that goes by where no one has anything to say about the specific issue. HACIA also organized activities every night to encourage social activity between the delegates such as a Talent Show where people from different schools got to perform and a Taste of HACIA where the schools get to display food from their country.
Another great thing about HACIA Democracy being organized by Harvard undergraduates is that they hosted a Harvard admission panel during which many myths and questions about one of the best universities in the world were answered. This allowed us to understand better what Ivy League schools are looking for in applicants as students and individuals. The undergraduates gave helpful advice as to how to portray yourself as unique and outstanding compared to other applicants. In conclusion HACIA XXIII was one of the most interesting conference both in regards to the topics being debated and the new people we got to meet.
- Written by Laura C., Grade 9
Before the Carnival break, I was part of a group of six students that traveled to Las Tablas to help support some of the humanitarian work being undertaken by the Panamanian and American Red Cross. Our mission was to assist the Red Cross community volunteers in conducting baseline surveys of the communities. The survey had questions such as number of people that live in the house, level of education, natural disasters that have occurred in their area, identifying vulnerabilities, and preparedness for emergencies or disasters.
Each of us was partnered with a volunteer from the Las Tablas chapter of the Red Cross. We spent two action packed days together with the volunteers walking for miles through dust, tall grass, hills, and pastures to reach the communities to be surveyed. Following two days of work, we were able to survey a total of nearly 200 homes. I was so proud of my fellow ISP Dolphins and all their hard work. As a Red Cross delegate told us at the end of the mission "these two days you were heroes." I highly encourage anyone interested in helping out or getting involved in humanitarian work to reach out and join the next trip. It is an experience you won't want to miss!
A special thank you to Jorge Brito, ISP senior and Red Cross volunteer, for writing this article.
I was skeptical. Although I wanted to believe that I would have tried my best without the possibility of winning an award, I struggled to picture a group of young men and women discussing global issues without a competitive incentive. “The conference is the prize,” they said, and I continued to doubt the extent to which 4,000 students could possibly agree with that statement. Now, in the wake of what is humorously known as PTD (post-THIMUN depression), the chair stands corrected.
Last month at THIMUN, I had the pleasure of serving as deputy president of the security council. In just a few days, a MUNer with almost four years of experience like me, came to question everything he thought he knew about this activity. As a student who has participated in mostly Panamanian, Latin American, and American MUN conferences, all of which share the concept of awards, I have always advocated for the idea that the chair is simply a facilitator applying procedure, leaving the responsibility of leading the committee to delegates. Before the conference, I would have argued that it is the chair’s duty to engage with delegates in the most unbiased way possible, in order to avoid compromising his or her objective position when choosing award winners. Contrastingly, my understanding of chairing has changed dramatically as a result of being exposed to THIMUN.
THIMUN taught me that having an entire committee of passionate students is an opportunity that one must embrace. If we think about it, we are rarely faced with a group of people who are keen on achieving a common goal, and look up to us in order to guide them to success. With features such as individual lobbying periods for each issue and permanent member caucuses, the security council allows chairs to collaborate with delegates and steer them in the best interest of the international community. I have come to understand that it is a chair’s duty to motivate delegates to become the best versions of themselves, and to join the discussion on global issues. This is THIMUN’s doctrine when it comes to chairing.
Gazing at thousands of passionate students from the stage of the impeccable World Forum theater, I finally understood the magnitude of what we had achieved after a week of intense debate. This was the rightful closure for a week marked by insightful conversations such as those shared with my fellow student officers over dinner. We discussed matters as deep as identity and the politics of our home countries simply because we truly care about them and enjoy meeting others who do too. I concluded that THIMUN is a microcosm of the vision that many high school students would like for the world as a whole - one in which leaders empower society at large to solve the issues that we face. I am extremely grateful to everyone involved in THIMUN, as well as the International School of Panama, for turning this illusion into a surreal week surrounded by the some of the brightest young minds in the world. I look forward to bringing these ideas to others, back home, and elsewhere!
About the Author:
Felipe Félix Méndez is a junior at the International School of Panama. This Panamanian-Uruguayan student has been involved in MUN, Model OAS, and debate for the past four years. He has served as the first-ever president of the general assembly in the Secretariat of the 24th Edition of the Panama Model United Nations (PANAMUN), the oldest and largest MUN conference in Central America, as well as being a chair at other conferences in his home country. Felipe has also participated in several conferences both locally and internationally, including the Harvard Association Cultivating Inter-American Democracy and Boston College’s EagleMUNC.