Every year at Leysin American School in Switzerland, we provide students with Alpine adventures, unforgettable experiences, and lifelong friendships. From the top of our Magic Mountain we show students the whole world through our multicultural student body, experiential academic and extracurricular programs, and many travel opportunities. Now that the academic year has finished and we have said goodbye to our students for the summer, we are reflecting on the highlights of the last semester and reminding ourselves of the many achievements and opportunities our students have experienced over the past few months.
- Winter Sports
Topping our list of highlights from last semester was the fantastic ski season and the range of winter sports we offered our students. Everyone made the most of the snow this year and enjoyed learning and improving their skills at some of the world’s best ski resorts. Leysin itself offers impressive slopes and our students were also lucky enough to travel further afield to Glacier 3000, Saas-Fee, and Verbier, to name just a few.
LAS also hosted the annual Cowbell games which included ski and snowboard races, a slopestyle contest, an Alpage challenge, and a snow sculpture contest! In addition, some of our more experienced skiers and snowboarders competed (and excelled!) in various Freeride events in Villars and Verbier. Other winter activities at LAS include ice climbing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, ice skating, and curling. We are so lucky to be nestled in the Swiss Alps, where so many winter activities are right in our backyard!
- Family Winter Week
Each February we welcome the families of our LAS students to campus for Family Winter Week and this year we had such a fantastic time together in Leysin! Family Winter Week allows our community to travel to our stunning Alpine village and experience the famous Swiss winter season. Families meet with teachers during Parent-Teacher conferences, enjoy time on the slopes with their children, and come together as a whole school community at the Winter Soirée. This is always one of our favorite weeks of the year and this year was no exception.
- Cultural Trips
At LAS, cultural trips provide a unique opportunity to experience some of the history, traditions, and customs of different countries around the world. Exploring new cultures and making friends along the way is a really enriching experience, and often when discussing their time at LAS, students reflect that the cultural trips are among their best memories. Last semester, students had the opportunity to travel to a wide range of different countries, from Italy all the way to Zimbabwe. Highlights included cooking classes and bike tours in Sicily, surf lessons in Portugal, and a service trip to Sethule Orphans Trust in Zimbabwe, which has been running for the past decade.
Our students played a significant role in the organizing and fundraising element of the Zimbabwe service trip this year. Leading up to the trip, students helped with an auction and raffle, raising a record-breaking CHF 25,000. Being involved in the preparations for the trip and learning more about Sethule allowed the whole LAS community, not just the students traveling, to be involved in this project. The students spent a week at the Orphans Trust, exchanging different parts of their cultures and engaging with the community through building projects.
- Sports Achievements
We offer a wide range of sports here at LAS, allowing our students to follow their passions and try new things. Students at all ability levels, from beginners to advanced, have the chance to compete and many have trained extensively this year to achieve some impressive results!
In February, the swim team competed in the Zurich International School Invitational, where two students won first place in every event they entered.
Also in February, LAS hosted four other international schools for a tennis tournament. Our players came in first and third place in various categories.
In March, our tennis team also competed at the SGIS Doubles Tennis Tournament, where they won both the mixed and women’s doubles.
In April, LAS hosted the SGIS Golf Championships in nearby Aigle, where 48 golfers from international schools all over Switzerland participated. Our LAS golfers placed well and had a great day out!
These are just a few of the amazing sports achievements our students have accomplished this year. At LAS, we offer a wide range of sports, from soccer and basketball all the way to rock climbing and mountain biking. This allows us to give students the space to experiment and try new things they would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience. We can’t wait to welcome our students back in August and see some more amazing sportsmanship next year!
- Tuesday Night Talks
A key component of our residential life curriculum is the Tuesday Night Talks (TNT) series. Some of the talks are led by outside experts in areas like community empowerment, diversity, health education, and career development—we even had a local olympic medalist talk to our students about how to transition from a career in sports to running a successful business! Other talks are led by our dedicated team of dorm heads and support staff from the counseling and health teams. Highlights from last semester include visits from members of our alumni community, Kymani Montgomery ’12 and Sarah Wilson ’09.
Kymani is the Camp Director and Programs Manager of the Ten Oaks Project in Ottawa, Canada which strives to help and empower institutions to become more inclusive for children, teenagers, faculty, and staff who are members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Sarah Wilson visited our school in March and is a competitive skier and STEM researcher. Her visit was really interesting, as she conducted practical workshops about the physics of skiing and the importance of Women in STEM fields in addition to her Tuesday Night Talk.
- A Comedy of Errors
Our thespians presented a fantastic rendition of the Shakespeare play The Comedy of Errors this semester. The production, about mistaken identity, was incredibly entertaining and kept the audience smiling and laughing all evening! LAS provides a rich and supportive arts program for students of all artistic interests and backgrounds. Our arts program and facilities guide and nurture budding student talent and provide the resources students need to pursue their creative passions. We encourage our students to express themselves creatively, and we believe that the arts open up a world of possibilities in which students can think outside the box and express themselves in a gratifying way.
- Prom and Graduation
At the end of the semester, our grade 11 and 12 students enjoyed the “Under the Stars” senior prom at the nearby Château d’Aigle, while our grade 7-10 students danced the night away at the “Masquerade” junior prom at the Belle Époque. There was music, food, dancing, chatting, and fun was had by everyone in this end-of-year celebration!
Our grade 12 students celebrated their achievements in May at the LAS graduation ceremony. The sun was shining on graduation day this year and our students all looked so excited in their caps and gowns. We had a jam-packed schedule awaiting our graduating class and their family members over the weekend and our students made the most of their last days on campus before becoming lifelong members of our LAS alumni community.
Each year, our students have an amazing time meeting people from all over the world and gaining knowledge through opportunities they would otherwise never have the chance to experience. We can’t wait to be reunited with our returning students in August and meet the new members of our LAS Global Family!