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World Mag > WM Summer 2019 Celebrating Family Connections > Celebrating Family Connections - Kirsten Pontius

Celebrating Family Connections - Kirsten Pontius

The current WORLD Magazine Summer 2019 edition is about family connections and the wider connections we all have through AISB.

Kirsten Pontius and family
Kirsten Pontius and family

Growing up, my dad’s side of the family managed to come from all over the state, to gather at my Grandparents house in northern Minnesota every Christmas. Nestled in the country on the banks of a small river, my father and his three siblings, all married (eventually) with kids, would squeeze into the familiar home, setting up cots and mattresses on floors, in the bedrooms and basements, and eating, playing, and laughing our way through the holidays.

The house was familiar, it was comfortable, and my Grandparents would always welcome us there. In addition to Christmas visits, stops during summer vacations and various holidays were frequent, and we often found other friends and family stopping in. It was a place where we grew up, where we learned, and where we connected.

AISB is like that central hub to its thousands of alumni around the world. Welcoming back former parents, students, faculty and staff in person, and through virtual links. There is no denying that the American International School of Bucharest is a place of connection, community and support for those who walk through the halls. Classmates bond over deadlines and learning objectives, siblings support each other with advice and insight, while their parents attend the PTO meetings, or have dinner with fellow parents. Meanwhile, those who are away from their “home country”, find familial connections in friendships, trusted adults, and cultural traditions that give them a sense of stability.

I have spent the last several months reading, discussing and digging for stories about family connections, both figuratively and literally, at AISB. What a powerful experience it has been, to get to know the journeys of so many alumni who view AISB as a place where they belonged, and still do.

In fact, you will get a sense of the continued connection in the articles that follow, from the invitation to reach out for professional help from Catalina Gardescu, an employee of 18 years who knows hundreds who have passed through the doors in the past years, to the stories of former students who came back as employees and contribute to what is happening now at AISB. The heartwarming cover story of teaching, marriage and kids comes from alumni teachers, Amy and Andrea, whose lives changed as they grew a family with AISB serving as their village. An important story of landing a dream job, and traveling and flourishing from 2011 graduate, Nicolas Kougionas.

So at this busy and bustling time of year, give yourself a moment to read a few stories of the ties that have been building here for years, put your feet up for a moment and recline into that network of connection, kinship, and support. Know that as a family, we aren’t perfect, we are growing, we are individuals, we are unique members of the AISB community, but we are connected through the time in our lives that we call AISB “our school”. And for that, we will always be welcomed home.




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