I had the privilege of being part of the first group of students to graduate from CIS many years ago. We started our days at CIS in a two-room classroom with less than a handful of teachers. We had strict and disciplined Italian teachers who prepared us well for the Italian exams. Then we had “Indiana Jones” (the Real Anthony Aikman) who helped found the school and taught science.

Hands on learning really meant hands on learning. For example, we studied rivers in the vineyards not in the classroom. making water flow out of a hose onto the earth and observing how over time the water created bends and islands along the riverbed mirroring what real rivers do over hundreds of years. We even studied gunpowder in the science lab. By the end of class there were some smoky black marks on the ceiling and I am still alive to tell the tale.

We went to ski week with Ms P on a long bus ride which included a puppy she was nursing with a baby bottle because she refused to leave the puppy at home

This school has a knack for attracting interesting people. The parents and teachers who came to visit the school would be greeted by a lady, wearing earth stained sweatpants an apron and a pair of dish gloves. They would politely ask to speak with the head of the school and Ms. P would reply,” that’s me!” I often saw the look of horror mixed with intrigue on their faces. By the time they finished discussing education with her, I saw them walk away smiling with enthusiasm because behind the dirty sweatpants and dish gloves, they knew they had met a passionate, dedicated educator.

Her challenge was to integrate a bilingual curriculum with Italian and English teachers to ensure that students get the best of both worlds and are prepared for high school studies in different countries. This CIS model was fertile ground for educating students to become global citizens at a time when globalization was barely a concept.

As a teacher Ms. P is a lioness who fiercely protects her students, loves and supports them unconditionally, but does not hesitate to discipline them with a pointed stare that grows darker when she’s angry. She always encourages and nurtures our sense of curiosity and believes in our ability to succeed. No matter how much we struggle with our work as students, deep inside we always know she cares.

It is with this spirit that Ms P and her team of dedicated teachers over the years have ignited the light of knowledge that opened the minds and hearts of thousands of students to love learning.

Thanks to the dedicated hard work and extraordinary loyalty of teachers, parents, students, support staff, friends, and administrators the future is bright for the many hundreds of students who will come to this school.

The three forces, claimed by Rudolf Steiner, are the heart of Castelli International School:

Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility- these three forces are the very nerve of education.

More alumni memories

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