Almost a year ago we embarked into the unknown of high school. For a lot of us it seemed like a massive leap forward from what we were used to. Middle School to High School is not an easy transition.

From Day 1 we were faced with the new realities of exams, new schedules, new workloads, and new teachers (not to mention new boyfriends and girlfriends). Looking back, high school hasn’t been as hard for most of us, as was the idea of high school–that intimidated us and drained our energy. It was hard some of us to leave our groups and to reach out.
But once we took a big deep breathe, we adapted, we explored new interests, joined new clubs, met new people. Over the retreat we bonded and made new friends that we would have most likely ignored during school. We came together when we worked together as group on Spirit Day (and kicked some serious senior ass) and when we connected with teen refugees during Sommerfest.

On a more serious note, as we know we are privileged to attend a school as good as AIS, which is why it is hard to understand the war zone experiences that conflict-area teens live through. Experiencing groups like Connecting People not only brought 9th graders together with teen refugees, strengthened our ties as a community and gave us an opportunity to expand beyond our understanding of the world.

Last but not least, as we wind up this 2013-2014 school year, we would like to say goodbye to those who are leaving our AIS community, and wish them the best of everything wherever they go.

When all was said and done we became the Fresh, Fine, and Fierce class of 2017.

This year is over, but our journey is not for there are more colorful years ahead of us on our journey through high school.

And here are three new students who will be joining us next year:

As our friends leave our community for new places and experiences we welcome new faces and experiences.

Eddie Bayer is a student currently in Sarajevo, Bosnia but originally from the US. He enjoys hanging out, going to the gym, and playing videogames. He has been playing ice hockey for 12 years now and was a soccer goalie.

Sophia Kelleher comes from Kenya. Her hobbies are reading, riding her bike, listening to music, and travelling. She plays softball and basketball, but plans on going into track and field.

The next two students both come from Canada the first being Holly Bellman.

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Holly Bellman

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Eddie Bayer

Holly Bellman comes from Calgary AB, Canada. She enjoys playing the piano, reading, hanging out, skating, going on walks, and keeping a journal. She also plays soccer, competitive swimming, and badminton.

Neha Shanbhag is also from Canada, and she plays basketball, softball, and some golf. Neha like
many in our community is an international traveler moving from one community to another. AIS will be her fifth move with her parents originally coming from India.

While some of our good friends are leaving, we look forward to welcoming our new friends-to-be for their new ideas and the contributions they will surely make to our sophomore AIS family. This welcoming spirit part of what makes us the Fresh, Fine, and Fierce class of 2017.

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