King’s Academy, August 25, 2016 – Now in its 10th year, King’s Academy welcomed 217 new students this week, swelling the ranks of students to 626 from over 40 countries. The number of teaching faculty is at its highest yet, with 98 teachers coming from Jordan and the rest of the world. The much anticipated Middle School has finally opened, with 65 fresh-faced 7th and 8th graders sure to add even more vitality to campus.
King’s held three orientation days this week, for new and returning Upper School students and the first Middle School orientation day ever.
Headmaster John Austin addressed parents and students at two school meetings held at the Abdul Majeed Shoman Auditorium where he explained that one of King’s Academy’s greatest strengths is its diversity, and enjoined students to seize the opportunity to learn from one another and to create a tone that is welcoming, inclusive and kind.
“King’s Academy is more than just a school,” Austin said, “it is a community of values. We have a deep commitment to kindness, and treating people with dignity and respect, as well as celebrating diversity and educational opportunities.”
During orientation, the older students demonstrated the school spirit and sense of community that embodies King’s Academy. Their helpfulness and sincere welcome to new students was evident and remarked on by parents and faculty alike. Deputy Headmaster Julianne Puente called it her “proudest moment”.
Dana Ahmad ’19 put it simply: “I feel like King’s has given me so much, being here makes you feel like giving back.”
Upper School orientation took place on August 20 and 21, with students eagerly anticipating activities including the scavenger hunt, Madaba Games and the international food fair. The house welcoming ceremony was particularly colorful and energetic this year. The nine houses rallied students, parents and faculty with cheers and banners, Jordanian music and dancing. Evenings were equally entertaining: a live band made up of faculty musicians played to their favorite fans, and at the stadium students played soccer and Frisbee and chatted around the bonfire.
The school’s highly competitive inter-house competition, the Madaba Games, kicked off with field games, but the egg drop from the Clock Tower proved yet again to be one of the most popular (and messy!) games, while the relay races were as always a huge hit. Students baked cookies and distributed them to a delighted crowd, modeled outfits created from trash during the Trashion Show, and each house showcased its creativity at the talent exhibition. Al Nilam house were the ultimate winners with an impressive 600 points, Meissa came in 2nd place with 580 points and Sulafat came in 3rd with 575 points.
Deputy Headmaster Julianne Puente was this year’s convocation speaker during the school’s first all-school meeting on August 22. As King’s gets ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Puente took the opportunity to reflect on how far the school has come in the past decade but also on where it is headed. Her presentation gave students plenty of food for thought as they convened to discuss it with their advisors in the Harkness groups. Orientation wound down with students attending mini-classes, the co-curricular fair and the grand finale of the Madaba Games.
The Middle School for Grades 7 and 8 was officially opened on August 23 with a few words by Headmaster John Austin and Dean of the Middle School Reem Abu Rahmeh. Austin told parents he was honored that they put their trust in the school and hoped it would be a transformative experience for them and their children.
Abu Rahmeh then led the faculty as they lined up on two sides to create a ‘welcome tunnel’ and cheered on the students as they entered the Middle School building for the first time alongside their Big Brothers and Big Sisters – mentor students from the Upper School.
“We weren’t sure we wanted a Middle School, we thought they’d be tiny,” said Big Sister Zoya Kantarzis ’18 about the 7th and 8th graders. “But when we met them we got so excited, and some are actually taller than 9th graders!”