Harambee Challenge – Tom’s Story

Since December 2016 I have been training to take part in the Harambee Challenge.

A 740km petition run from Mayana to Windhoek, in Namibia. The run would happen over the course of three days, where we would each run 20km per day, in a relay formation. However, no German fresh-aired run could have prepared me for the trip that was ahead… 

The whole trip lasted two weeks, and they were two of the most amazing weeks of my life. We left for Namibia during the Easter Holidays, after months of anticipation and excitement. Monika drove us for 9 hours from Windhoek, a large city, to Mayana, a small, undeveloped, but beautiful village in the northern Kavango region. It was a drive that took us back through generations in time. But this is what our run was for: a petition for better living standards (thanks to access to clean water, electricity, better education, and business development, just to mention a few). Our demands were clear and simple. We wanted our petition to be heard. The running itself went without problems (other than a few blisters and sore legs), thanks to plenty of training and helpful support from Frau Handwerker. The heat was no problem for the runners from the village, however, me and three others from the german team struggled through the first couple of training sessions. At 3pm on the third day, we all arrived in Windhoek. It was the Mayana runners’ first time in their capital, so they were very excited to be in such a big city. 

On our return back to Mayana, we called a village meeting to tell them our story and to keep everyone up to date on exactly what had happened. Mostly everyone was supportive. Rumours had been going around that we had been arrested and were in prison so some were very surprised to see us back so soon! This was by far the biggest thing to have happened to the village, so we were treated very well. We were treated to a traditional dance, lead by the Mayana dancing group, as a way to thank us for the work that we had put in to improve the village.

Throughout my trip, I met countless amazing people and made some lifelong friends. They taught me many things (from making good fires to living a life with only the things that matter to you), and I believe that we taught them a lot too. My goal from the start was to be able to make a change in the village, and now that the petition was delivered and news of which is spreading around the country, I believe that big changes are just around the corner for Mayana.

Thomas, Grade 11.

Bon Voyage, Tom!

The Grade 3-5 Assembly welcomed Tom (grade 11) on Thursday to hear about his upcoming trip and sporting challenge in Namibia for M.C.P.

Many of the students recognise Tom (and know he makes good waffles!) but they were surprised to hear about the 3-day Harambee Challenge he will be taking part in this month.

He will be part of a 25 participant team, mostly from Mayana itself, who will run from Mayana in the very North of Namibia  to Windhoek, the country’s capital. They will carry a petition to be handed over to the government asking for improved living conditions, infrastructure and education for Mayana.

The total distance of 750km will be covered by the team and Tom hopes to run 75km himself. As well as the actual distance, he will have to deal with aches and pains, refuelling on the go and sweltering temperatures. However, Tom has been training for this moment since January and he is well prepared.

The students had many questions and also some advice for Tom to help him on his challenge. We then wished him well and sent him off on his journey to Namibia. We will be looking out for updates on the progress of the run and look forward to hearing all about it when we return after the Spring break.

text & photos: AR

Deutscher Abend – German Eve 2017

Please join us for our annual German Evening at H.I.S.!

Die MYP Schüler und ihre Deutschlehrer freuen sich auf alle Gäste.

Bis bald!

Greetings from Asahi

Asahi, a former student at H.I.S. (Grade 1 in 2014-15) sends greetings to the H.I.S. community:

“I and my family moved from Nagano to Tokyo.

I am continuing piano.

And recently, I started to play Japanese chess.

And I also started to use my laptop, so now I can read emails.

This year, I will try for Mathematics Olympic in Japan.

I want to hear what my H.I.S. friends and H.I.S. teachers are doing.

Please say hello to everyone!”

Mr Raw has my email address.


Asahi, Yoichiro and Michiru

Icelandic Teachers at H.I.S.

Back in March, H.I.S. welcomed 40 teaching staff from the Myllubakkaskoli in Keflavik, Iceland.

They were visiting Heidelberg and learning about the German school system and other educational opportunities in the Heidelberg area.

It was probably the largest number of visitors we have had at one go during a normal school day and it was slightly daunting and distracting for our students to have such a big group coming into their classes, but as always the students approached our visitors with respect and curiosity.

Our visitors were impressed with the students and the school and also that we had had Icelandic students enrolled in the past. It was an interesting day for all!

text & photo AR

Screen Time Management Workshop

On Friday, March 31st, twenty-two parents joined Lance Fortner, William Ledbetter, Coco (grade 5 student) and I in a lively discussion on screen time management. We looked at what recent research says about how this affects our brains. We also looked at what teachers see in school related to screen time in their students. A great deal of information was shared, questions answered, difficulties shared, discussed and suggestions made to solve them. Both William and Coco, shared interesting ideas, concerns, and suggestions for modulating screen time and why this is important to do. The attending parents helpfully filled out Coco’s questionnaire to help her collect data for her exhibition project. They are a series of thought provoking worksheets to help you plan, and decide on what and how you will limit screen time. Please go to http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/limit-screen-time/ to download these useful documents.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We cannot recreate the workshop for you, but we would be willing to offer another session if there is enough interest.

Susan Hoeck-Bühler

Learning Support Coordinator


Agricultural Sustainability

BASF Experts in Grade 10

In science, Grade 10 have been working on a sustainability project in class.  They have been asked to look at a chemical industry company and to do some research about how their chosen company is taking responsibility for being sustainable and what measures they have in place.  On Monday 27th March, Grade 10 had a visit from Mr Beadle and Mr Sen, Agricultural scientists from the Agricultural division at BASF who came to talk to the class about BASF’s Agricultural sustainability goals.There was a lot of good discussion that went on in class and the students asked several questions relating to BASF as a company as well as it’s sustainability goals.

We thank Mr Sen & Mr Beadle for taking their time to come and speak to the class and look forward to possibility of more visits in the future.

text: SAB

Street Arts Festival

As part of the Environment Week H.I.S. launched its inaugural Street Arts Festival. Musicians, jugglers, painters and balloon artists entertained the H.I.S. community on the playground, which was bathed in sunshine.It was exciting to see, hear and feel the relaxed atmosphere of the festival, which created a platform for all our young risk-taking performers to show their talents to an audience. If you were part of the audience: Thank you for encouraging the students and for donating money. If you were a performer: Congratulations and thank you for making our first Street Arts Festival a successful event.All artists put out hats or instrument cases in true street art spirit to collect donations.While street artists were busy performing, the Earth Mandala slowly took shape on the Gym roof. Here is a little insight on how this was approached: 

“We start with a clementine. The clementine holds the string that draws the circle.

From the center of the circle we express with color how we cherish our Earth. 

We paint our world and pledge our commitment and action. 

Dozens of PYP, MYP and DP students gathered on the gym roof on Tuesday afternoon. Colorful pastels and chalks helped create our 3rd Annual Mandala to raise environmental awareness for the whole community.
We were truly thankful for the beautiful weather and the wonderful energy given by our artists. It was a wonderful event while music was played by the baskers on campus. My personal thank you to parents, students, faculty and staff who have supported the efforts this year.” (Lance Fortner)

With the money collected H.I.S. is going to support a rainforest project in Brazil organised by APREMAVI. The organisation works together with BUND. Representatives of APREMAVI who visited the Street Arts Festival were very impressed and thankful for our effort to support their project. Money donated to APREMAVI goes towards the reforestation of the atlantic rainforest in Brazil. For more information please look at this website: http://www.bund-heidelberg.de/aktivitaeten/partnerschaften/apremavi_brasilien/Many thanks to all artists who raised 171,64 euros in just one hour! We are still collecting donations until Monday, 3rd April (collection box in school foyer).


photos: Louis (Grade 7), SH, LF, AS text: LF, AS

Spring Clean – Heidelberger Frühjahrsputz

The H.I.S. Spring Clean event, organised by students from Grade 11 left our school and surrounding areas spotless today.

All students and staff had been divided into groups, which then cleaned designated areas. The youngest students stayed on school grounds and cleaned the playground.

Many thanks to the Grade 11 students for organising and supporting the Spring Clean 2017.

Thank you to all participants for their enthusiasm and teamwork.

text & photos: AS