Alumni Spotlight: Returning to School – Marta Auziņa
By Marta Auziņa and Liene Salmiņa
Every school has its values and one of ISR values is community. ISR students and teachers often become friends and keep in touch after leaving or graduating school, curiously following student future endeavours and celebrating student’s success. ISR values merge and mingle in students’ lives outside and after their time in the ISR community. Building a relationship is not the easiest task where different cultures can be both beneficial and challenging, increasing the respect to a friendly and open community where every student can feel safe and supported.
When establishing an Alumni ISR began to build a relationship not only with current families but former students as well as beyond the school’s borders. Alumni activities open the door to follow how ISR values developed further when students conquer the global world while not knowing where the road will take them. There is always evolution happening within a relationship and every student. It is flattering and amending to have former students back to school. Both the student and ISR have changed but the values still are there. I am pleased we can read about the first ISR student returning to the school already as an employee – Marta Auziņa, Assistant Teacher in Kindergarten:
I was an ISR student from Grade 1 to Grade 7. Studying in the ISR meant meeting new people all the time. Every school year the class group changed – some students left, some new ones arrived. I remember our class was always quite small, never more than fifteen students. Many of my best childhood memories are related to my time at ISR. Mostly I remember that through these years we had so many different ways of how to express ourselves through extraordinary interesting field trips, exciting projects, and experiments. We had the whole school celebrations, my favourite was Summer Solstice Jāņi, Sports Day, and also Book Week. It’s both nostalgic and pleasant to see that these traditions are still celebrated at ISR today. I really enjoyed learning new things, because the learning process was organized in a fun and creative way. Even though a lot of my classmates switched schools and countries over these years, I still have a close connection with many of them. For me as a child, the whole ISR community seemed like a big family. However, after Grade 7 I decided to continue my studies in a local school. I wanted to try something new and a lot of my Latvian friends from local schools were planning to study there too. Of course, everything was different (the whole school system, big size of class groups, new subjects), but a lot of the ISR experience turned out to be beneficial and helpful in my further studies, especially self-confidence, creativity, and skills in how to organize and create different projects. And I never needed to study for my English lessons. Nevertheless, I didn’t have a specific plan for my future studies after Grade 12. Since I was in a Biology class, I thought this might be something that I would enjoy studying. I chose to study medicine, but after a while, I understood that it wasn’t for me. I thought about other options and remembered summer 2019 when I had joined the ISR team for Summer camp. I had really enjoyed my time there, meeting my teachers again, and spending time with all the kids. We were going on field trips to the sea and forest, playing indoor and outdoor games, and working on different art and cooking projects. It was like returning to my childhood. Luckily, this spring I had the opportunity to return to the ISR again but this time already as an employee becoming an Assistant Teacher in the Kindergarten group. I still felt very welcome there; the whole ISR community was very friendly and helpful. My ISR experience leads me to think that teaching actually might be my future path. I will begin studying this fall to become a teacher at the Latvian University because that’s where both of my parents studied. I am excited and happy about it! Wish me good luck!