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AST News Flash

Do you have a business in Tangier, and would like to mentor an AST Intern?

AST is developing an unpaid internship program for junior and senior high school students to provide opportunities for them to explore different careers and build their resumes.

If you are willing to help a motivated AST student gain professional experience by hosting them at your Tangier-based place of work, please complete an AST Intern Request Form (available via email to the school) by Thursday, October 12.

Interns will work 2-10 hours 1-2 times per week for approximately three months beginning in early November. Internship placements do not need to be English only environments.
If interested, please email the school at info@ast.ma.

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October 11, 2017 · 10:37 pm

Welcome

It is our pleasure to present you with the first issue of the American School of Tangier Alumni Network newsletter. We hope to use this publication to keep you informed about the Network and the school, and to share news from your former classmates.

This issue includes the story of how ASTAN was created, an update on what’s happening on campus in Tangier, and a report from a recent mini-reunion of sorts in New York City.

Pictured, from left to right: Abdelkabir Bennani, Mohamed Lamrani, Mehdi Abdelwahab, Sarah Putnam, Mohammed Raihani, Batoul Daoudi Mootasem, Eileen Murphy and Rachid Bennani.

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Message from the Chair of the Board of Directors, Mehdi Abdelwahab

Helping establish the Alumni Network was a great experience for me, and I would like to recount how the idea came about. On October 4, 2014 some fifteen or so old friends gathered at the house of Dr. Mhammad Benaboud in Tetouan for an evening of conversation and reminiscing about AST and Tangier from the early days of the school. It was a perfect evening of memories and sharing the joys of old friendship created throughout the years that each attended AST.

Above Photo: House of Mhammad Benaboud in Tetouan, October 4, 2014. LtoR: Nadia Erzini (Class 1978), Abdelkhadir Melehi (1970?), Mohamed Lamrani (1972), Mehdi Abdelwahab (1966), Khaduja Dellero – Khatib (first dormitory mother 1952), Aicha Khatib (1963), Saleh El Haskouri (1977), Mustapha Haddou El Younsi (1965), Ali Morabet (1970) and Mhammad Benaboud (1970). Also present but not in photo, Mohamed Ali El Failali (1962).

Some friends had not seen each other for 20, 30, or 40 years, yet the conversation flowed like it was yesterday. I for one had not seen or talked with Ali Morabet (class 1970) since 1979, nor Abdelkhadir Melehi whom I had not seen since 1960. Other attendees had similar experiences. At the end of the evening, someone suggested that since this get-together was such a success, why not establish some entity that would bring together ASTers on a regular basis and reconnect old friends.  A small committee (Mohamed Lamrani, Mhammad Benaboud, and I) volunteered to look into the matter, and agreed to reach out to the school administrators and Board of Trustees to seek their support for establishing some type of an organization.

That led to organizing a reunion in May 2015 to celebrate the 65thanniversary of the founding of AST. We had fantastic assistance from other alumni and the school staff, and 160 people responded and registered to participate. The opening event was a reception at the American Legation, followed by a fabulous dinner/gala on the grounds of the school under the graduation tent. There was music, provided by a Gnaoua Troop and an ASTers reconstituted band led by Tom Van Der Meer and friends. We also awarded Certificates of Recognition for Service to individuals that had played a major role in the life of AST over the many years, namely: Khaduja Dellero Khatib (established the first AST dormitory in Marshan in 1952), Batould Daoudi Mootassem (student, teacher and administrator), Blanca Hamri (Assistant to Headmaster Joseph McPhillips for many years), Audrey Little Riffi (AST teacher and later director of the American School of Marrakesh) , Abdeslam  Awami (former Arabic teacher), and Ahmed Hrarous (the school’s gardener for over 40 years).  The success of this Reunion was so remarkable that many attendees asked for the creation of an alumni organization that would be able to undertake such events in the future and bring together alumni and friends of AST regularly.

Above Photo: Reunion reception at American Legation, Tangier, May 29, 2015. LtoR: Amer El Hilali (1970), Hamid Sekouri (partially visible) (1981), Mohammed Raihani (1976), Hasna Lebbady (1969), Mustapha Haddou El Younsi (1965), Anita Pascale Evans (1970), Saleh El Haskouri (1977), Batoul Daoudi Mootasem (1967), Mohammed Lebbadi (1964), Khaduja Dellero-Khatib (Recepient of Recognition Award), Aicha El Khatib (1963), Unidentified, Richard Lussen (AST Principal to July 2015), Mrs. Omar Loh, Nadia Lamarti Smihi (1981), Tom Van Der Meer (1972), Mehdi Abdelwahab (1966), Mike Van Der Meer (1974?), Soni Dalamal (1972). KNEELING: Mehdi Lamrani (1983), Mohamed Lamrani (1970), Sophia Tazi (1985), and Omar Loh (1975).

In September 2015, a new Organizing Committee was formed and undertook the mandate of developing an organization that would function as an alumni entity. In early October 2015, I visited Tangier and had the pleasure of meeting the new Head of School, Dr. Sarah Putnam, and members of her administration. Sarah indicated her support for the creation of what was to become ASTAN, and assured us that AST would provide administrative and financial assistance until such time as ASTAN became self-manageable. The Committee members started contacting potential candidates for the Board of Directors, and submitted a formal request to the AST Board of Trustees for their endorsement.

The Committee consulted with a number of individuals that had worked in past years on an effort to set up an incorporated AST Alumni Association, but which had stalled for various reasons, including legal issues related to establishing an Association under Moroccan regulations. Building on that past effort, the Alumni Network began to take shape. In early 2016, candidates for the Board of Directors were identified; the By-Laws were fully rewritten, and 118 ASTers showed their support for the creation of ASTAN on Facebook. The Board of Trustees, at its meeting on March 19, 2016, formally recognized ASTAN as the alumni grouping for the school.

On April 4, 2016, ASTAN was formally launched and started its activities. Since the launch, the ASTAN leadership has focused on signing up members and participating in AST functions, including during the 2016 graduation ceremonies.  During the last months of 2016, we regrettably saw the resignation of three dedicated Board members, as they had other personal priorities. We also learned of the passing of Mr. Janis Baltgalvis, member of the Class 1960, and one of the Honorary Life members. On the other hand, we welcomed Eileen Murphy (Class 1977) as a new Board Director and Communications Coordinator. The leadership is now looking forward to working closely with the Head of School and her senior staff throughout 2017, ensuring that ASTAN plays a role in the school activities, and keeping the alumni informed of what is happening with the school and future developments.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you and your friends to sign up for ASTAN membership, and to join with your classmates and other ASTers in supporting the American School of Tangier in its efforts to enhance the education of all students. Please remember that the American School of Tangier is not only our school but it is also what we have become today.  I want to share with you a comment about AST that a great teacher wrote to me some 30 years after I was her student and referring to what AST means. She wrote, “The American School of Tangier is a lot more than a school, it is OUR school. We were not only a part of it, but we were it. Only someone who has been a part of that experience will understand this.”

Finally I would like to thank all the members of the ASTAN Board of Directors for their solid dedication to making ASTAN a reality and to having sacrificed many hours of their busy schedules to making sure that ASTAN business is dealt with in a timely manner. No one is paid for their services, it is all done for the love of the school, and for ensuring that ASTers all over the globe find an organization that would bring them together, and reconnect them with their classmates and friends from our youthful days. Lastly I would like to personally thank John Lisle, the ASTAN vice-Chair, for stepping up for the past eight months when I was dealing with personal issues, and taking over as Acting Chair, and keeping the process moving forward.

Best wishes to all and may you have a happy, successful and safe 2017.

Mehdi Abdelwahab
AST Graduate Class 1966
Chair Organizing Committee, Oct. 2014 – Mar. 2016
Chair ASTAN Board of Directors Apr. 2016 – Present

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Reunion Alert

Planning is underway for an AST reunion next fall on the East Coast of the United States. The reunion is scheduled for October 20-22, 2017 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Check out the AST Alumni page on Facebook for more details.

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Update from AST

The Pace is frenetic at AST and it sounds like Head of School Sarah Putnam has her hands full. Still, she was kind enough to give us an update from campus as the school  year winds down.

Changes in the AST Administration Team
We regret to say that Mr. Mohamed Ahmed, the Principal, resigned his position in order to take care of personal family concerns. We wish him all the best in the years to come.

Please welcome Ms. Lisa Gregoire who is now the new PK-12 Principal for AST. Lisa has proven her capacity and integrity over the past five years at AST in the roles of teacher, College Counselor, and, this year, Vice-Principal. For the remainder of the year Ms. Lisa and Ms. Sarah will work closely together to ensure the highest standards are upheld in both academic achievement, and behavior. Next year we will have a new broader educational leadership structure in place, led by both Ms. Sarah and Ms. Lisa, that will include teacher leadership, as well as input from the PTA and the Student Council.

End of School Year AST Events

  • May 16-18: Creative DanceA Short [and Theatrical] History of Nearly Everything: a Production Based on the Work of Bill Bryson at the Spanish High School
  • May 22-24: Le Petit Prince drama performance at AST
  • May 25 – Graduation – Ambassador Ed Gabriel and AST Board of Trustees Chair Larry Kardon will both attend.

HS Robotics Students are Team Morocco in DC this summer!
AST is honored to have been chosen to represent Morocco at the FIRST Global Robotics competition. There will be 161 countries competing! (http://first.global/fgc/global-first-challenge/)
This project is yet unfunded. If interested in supporting the team, please contact Borja Benevent at borja.benevent@ast.ma.

HS Student Exchange Program with Brooks School

AST is in its second year of a student exchange program at the Brooks School in Andover, Massachusetts (https://www.brooksschool.org ).  AST is seeking to expand this program, maybe with other schools in the US, as well as with Brooks. AST has a history of high school student exchange programs with Northfield Mount Hermon and Proctor Schools, both in New England.

New AST Student Videos
Available on the AST website- www.ast.ma – in the Students/Parents menu.

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