Expat Living (Singapore) - - Life & Family -

Do you know what it takes to build and pro­gram a robot from hun­dreds of Lego bricks? TARISH is a tech­nol­ogy whizz who has found his call­ing as a stu­dent at ISS In­ter­na­tional School (ISS). He tells us about his pas­sion, and what’s next.

What was the im­pe­tus to study com­put­ing?

ISS pro­vided me with the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore a wide range of sub­jects to find some­thing that re­ally en­gaged me. The turn­ing point was en­rolling in the De­sign and Tech­nol­ogy class, where the ro­bot­ics and pro­gram­ming sub­ject caught my at­ten­tion!

And you re­cently built the largest and fastest robot in class?

Our teacher armed us with ma­te­ri­als and in­for­ma­tion and en­cour­aged us to dis­cover and cre­ate, as we built ro­bots and pro­grammed them to per­form tasks. I ex­tended the learn­ing and dis­cov­ered how pro­gram­ming lan­guages are cre­ated. My robot can per­form tasks like push­ing cans and ob­sta­cles. I also par­tic­i­pated in the Na­tional Youth Coun­cil’s New Age Hackathon 2.0 and de­vel­oped a mo­bile app to as­sist se­nior cit­i­zens.

Why are you at­tracted to com­put­ing?

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing be­cause small pro­grams, with just a few lines of code, can per­form big tasks, which ben­e­fit so many peo­ple. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.

Where has this led you?

Dur­ing the sum­mer va­ca­tion, I worked as an IT sup­port as­sis­tant and one day I hope to work for an in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy com­pany. In the mean­time, I’ll con­tinue be­ing the “mini IT sup­port guy” for my friends at school!

What role did ISS play in dis­cov­er­ing your at­trac­tion to com­put­ing?

I look up to the school motto of “Re­al­is­ing Po­ten­tial” and I’m thank­ful to have dis­cov­ered this pas­sion here. The school’s unique cus­tomised ap­proach to nur­tur­ing stu­dents as in­di­vid­u­als has al­lowed me to learn more about my­self, and trans­form my in­ter­est into a life­long pas­sion. In fact, ISS has taught me var­i­ous life skills that I will re­quire later in life.

The new GESS cam­pus

“Since 2008, we’ve been op­er­at­ing two cam­puses to cater for strong de­mand; join­ing the two into one con­sol­i­dated site will bring the school com­mu­nity closer to­gether,” says GESS Prin­ci­pal, Christoph Zän­glein.

The $135 mil­lion cam­pus devel­op­ment is an ex­cit­ing chap­ter in the school’s devel­op­ment. “We are thrilled with the new cam­pus, which can ac­com­mo­date 2,000 stu­dents. It’s close to the cur­rent cam­puses and there­fore still con­ve­nient to the ma­jor­ity of our com­mu­nity – plus, the lo­ca­tion op­po­site the Na­ture Re­serve means we re­tain the close-to-na­ture feel­ing that our com­mu­nity en­joys.”

Hours of con­sul­ta­tion and de­ci­sion­mak­ing were poured into de­sign­ing the cam­pus. Christoph says there were three main ideas: to re­tain a sense of be­long­ing for the stu­dents who are com­ing to­gether into a big­ger site, to fa­cil­i­tate com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween teach­ing staff, ad­min­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment, and to make the most of the site’s phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion.

In­deed, the eco­log­i­cally re­spon­si­ble de­sign has ex­ceeded the stan­dards of Sin­ga­pore’s Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Author­ity’s Green Mark. GESS re­ceived a Gold Plus Award for fea­tures such as a “green” façade that min­imises so­lar ex­po­sure and op­ti­mises wind ven­ti­la­tion.

Apart from the note­wor­thy fa­cil­i­ties at the new cam­pus, why else would a par­ent choose to send their child to GESS? Christoph says that the not- for- profit school, es­tab­lished in 1971, pro­vides stu­dents from 50 na­tion­al­i­ties with Euro­pean foun­da­tions, and a choice of the In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate (taught in English) or Ger­man cur­ricu­lum.

“Lan­guages, cul­ture and tra­di­tions are cel­e­brated and em­braced,” he says. Ger­man is of­fered from Kin­der­garten to Grade 12, Dan­ish and Dutch from Grades 6 through 12, and Dan­ish from preschool. There are also Ital­ian, French, Span­ish and Man­darin op­tions.

“Our aim is for our stu­dents to dis­play a bal­ance of re­spect and open-mind­ed­ness so that ev­ery­one is em­pow­ered to be­come a con­fi­dent and for­ward­look­ing in­di­vid­ual, ready for the com­plex chal­lenges of to­mor­row’s world.”

Opens: Where is it: What ages and grades:

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