'Here we stand together, building our future forever, from small seeds grow mighty trees, like a forest we grow together, at AISB together, we build our dreams forever, at AISB' [AISB school song]
“A place is only as good as the people in it.” ― Pittacus Lore
I want to tell you about seven people. These seven people have all walked the AISB halls, but have much more in common than their appreciation of this school. These seven good people have fallen in love with the community, and contributed to its heartbeat. These seven people are family members, they are students, alumni and faculty, all connected by blood, soul and spirit. And by a place that is made so much better because of them.
The Achims can be found in all corners of AISB, whether it’s the legacy they have left in the theatre, gym or classroom, or the legacy they are building in a classroom. This family started with one, Preschool Art Teacher Angela Achim, who came to Romania and AISB as a 22 year old in 1992, and it grew to seven…. At present moment, they represent 4 graduates/alumni, 3 employees, and 1 student. Read on for their stories, thoughts and insights into the journey that entwines both their academic, professional and family stories.
With the Achim family having different, and sometimes changing roles at AISB throughout their tenure, we first asked them what they felt their identity was at the school. Rebecca, Alumni class of 2010 reflects, “I would say the strongest identity is of a student …. however, I am glad that, under this identity, stand many other ones that sustain it and make it elaborate and diverse, including "athlete", "artist", "volunteer", etc. In fact, each one of the Achims listed multiple identities, citing the ability to learn and serve in various roles at the school. Alumni class of 2017, David is quick to cite sport as his defining identity, but just as quick to add, “however engrossed I was in my sport, I always took part in theatre, art and music, not to feel restricted to just one life.” After 27 years, Angela Achim feels her role as an art educator to be how she most identifies, her identity as a parent being also very strong. In fact, many of her favorite memories of the school involve that of a parent. She sites the Senior Processional, (in which two of her children have participated) to be her favorite yearly event. She tells WM that she loves how “... each graduate leaves this important stage of their lives, and goes off into unknown territory, with so many hopes and dreams ahead of them.”
Memories of AISB are varied among this diverse family, all of whom have strong ties to the arts and sports. Hana, the only Achim who is currently a student at AISB, and expresses how much she loves ”being involved in afterschool activities such as sports, theatre and music.” The teachers in the family, reflect on students making connections to the learning they’re experiencing, such as Kindergarten Teacher Mariana Achim’s mention of a student who was so determined to read and who shouted one day for all to hear, “I know now! I don’t read the names of the letters, I read the sounds!”
In all the years that the Achims have found AISB to be part of their lives, they have obviously grown and evolved. Alumni class of 2014, Peter Achim reflects, “[AISB] help(s) to reinforce values” he explains that he appreciates the ability to flourish in your diverse viewpoints at AISB, to look toward a variety of sources in learning to “discern tangible fact from opinions”. Meanwhile, Dorothea Achim, alumni class of 2009, who serves on the Alumni Association and is working at AISB, describes her evolution as a global citizen while at AISB. “Sure I am Romanian, and I love my culture and country, but I consider myself international, a global citizen of this world. I love that through the school I got the chance to learn about different cultures, learn new languages, to think outside the box, to be open-minded and to collaborate with the people around me.” Her sister Rebecca adds, “I am more open, sociable and less fearful of taking risks and speaking my mind. AISB contributed to this through the projects that encouraged students to state their opinion, make commentaries, and through reflection and interaction with others".
Just as the Achims have grown together with AISB, they have suggestions on where the school should focus their attention: Hana would love to see the school welcome more diversity, including students of color, and students with disabilities. Having experienced the school as a much smaller entity, several family members reflect Angela’s sentiment, “[AISB must] stay united as one large school, and not separate into 3 sections.”
While the Achim family continues to flourish with AISB a major component in their lives, the school offers the kind of platform for support and an ongoing relationship, for a family, and as a family.
READ THE ENTIRE WORLD MAGAZINE SUMMER 2019 EDITION ON ISSUU: