A Year Like No Other…and a Rare Anthropological Experience

A Year Like No Other…and a Rare Anthropological Experience

I – Way back long before COVID – way back long before schools existed, even – the great pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: “Time is a game played beautifully by children.”*

Time indeed has passed – it’s been an entire year since schools closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic: a barely comprehensible experience that we would qualify in French aptly as “inédit,” as if the very words do not exist for a period in which, at the rare, very best of times, we were able to remember the primal joy of seeing those children play.

Since then, a staggering amount of K-12 students have not stepped back into a classroom – a tragic consequence of a complex array of factors, of which those children are a glaring (though far from sole) victim. I’m grateful and privileged to be part of a school that has, by digging deep and calling on all available resources, succeeded in remaining open for its students. Here’s to the students – the children.

Mr Ericson leads a discussion outside in the MS area

II – Joining a new community is always a bit challenging – and it might be even more so in the midst of a “situation inédite“. With that context in mind, I wanted to share an unusual and enlightening experience I’ve had – one that could only occur at a rare time such as during a global pandemic. It’s an interesting anthropological event amid a tragic period.

Student creativity on the MS Deck

When I arrived at SDFAS, I met hundreds of students and staff all wearing masks due to COVID-19. As I got acclimated, I put names to faces and faces to names, but those faces…of course…were still wearing masks, and thus my knowledge of them were incomplete. Sure, I looked at past yearbooks, but students in Middle School change greatly from one year to the next. As I went about my day-to-day work, I thus began unconsciously to project onto all these faces an incomplete understanding of what everybody looked like. Then, one day, we started testing students and staff for COVID each week, and I was one of the volunteers who helped administer the anterior nasal swabs. So there I was at the testing table, swab in hand…

You can imagine: what a fascinating experience to then encounter these whole, complete, real faces when students and co-workers lowered those masks!

Some faces resembled to a “T” the projection that I had unconsciously formed upon arrival, while others differed greatly. A sharp or rounded nose, a differently set cheekbone, a wider or narrower mouth…a myriad number of elements contribute to giving each of us a unique visage. I kept asking myself: what experiential, environmental, and/or other factors contributed to my accurate or inaccurate initial projection? It’s yet another reminder of how the global pandemic has made the last year quite jarring, in any case.

Regardless of whether the face behind the mask differed from or resembled the initial projection my mind made when I joined this wonderful community, one thing is sure: a cloth barrier does not prevent people from being kind to a new face. There’s more to a book than its cover, and there’s more to a person than their (masked) face, and my particular experience only serves as further proof.

*supposedly, anyway – sources on Heraclitus are incomplete at best

MS Students Shine in Math Competitions

The MS Blog may have been quiet this school year, but the campus has been abuzz with activity!

Our clever problem-solvers have been putting their blended French-American math lessons to the test, with volunteers participating in the AMC8 (on-campus only) and MOEMS math competitions. We’ve recently received the results – congratulations to Jorge Bas (8th), Sashi Chuckravanen (8th), Blake Matz (6th), and Julian Rosenblum (7th) for scoring in the national top quartile on the AMC8! On the MOEMS, David Deutsch (8th) and Eleanor Meyer (7th) achieved the top two scores of SDFAS! Congratulations to them and kudos to all the SDFAS students who participated!

Next up in Math: the Kangourou in French in honor of Pi Day and the next edition of the MOEMS!

Jorge Bas (8th) had the top score among SDFAS students in the AMC8 challenge

Julian Rosenblum (7th) with his AMC8 certificate for the second best score among SDFAS competitors

US Math Teacher Ms. Cohen “presents” Blake Matz (6th) his AMC8 certificate for the third best score among SDFAS students

Sashi Chuckravanen (8th) with her AMC8 certificate for third best score among SDFAS students

8th grade French Math Class

Ce vendredi 8 septembre, les élèves de 8ème ont démontré géométriquement le théorème de Pythagore en arrangeant astucieusement les pièces d’un puzzle construit par leurs soins.


En découpant le carré (en vert) formé par le plus grand côté adjacent à l’angle droit du triangle rectangle et en le disposant astucieusement avec le carré (en jaune) formé par le plus petit côté, ils ont pu créer un troisième carré de longueur l’hypoténuse du triangle rectangle.

La somme de l’aire des deux carrés formés par les côtés adjacents à l’angle droit est alors égale à l’aire du carré formé par l’hypoténuse.

Ingénieux, n’est-ce pas?

Bienvenue à SDFAS!

Nous sommes heureux de vous avoir accueillis en Middle School le jour de la rentrée!

Bienvenue à Jade, Amaia, Diego, Pablo, Philippine, Dante, Tanguy, Arthur et Anouk. Natasha, nous ne te trouvions pas à la récré:  alors, tu as ta photo spéciale!




Back-to-School is Fun!

As the first week in Middle School is already well under way, here are a few pictures of the first day…

Students have enjoyed reconnecting with friends, exchanging summer vacation memories and meeting their new teachers!

The MS blog is back in action, so stay tuned for more!

Bonne année scolaire à tous les élèves du collège!

Christian Jarlov

Graduation Class of 2016!

Many parents, grand-parents, teachers, members of the administration, alumni and friends of SDFAS enjoyed a very moving and joyful celebration yesterday in the auditorium.

This year, 29 students graduate after completing 8th grade. They are with no doubts Multi-lingual, Multi-talented and World Ready!

Congratulations to Class of 2016, all the best in your new school next year!

Enjoy some of the pictures taken yesterday at the graduation!

Le Grand Concours Award Ceremony

Thursday June 9, 6th and 7th grade students assembled in the Auditorium to receive their awards for “Le Grand Concours”, a contest organized every year by the American Association of Teachers of French and allowing students to compete in their category. SDFAS students are placed in the advanced French speakers category.

Click here to read more.

On the pictures, you will recognize the three groups with Bronze, Silver or Gold medals, and David who won the Platinum media and plaque.

Congratulations to all the winners!


A few more picture from today, Thursday June 9 in Canada

Friendship and happy souvenirs from Quebec…


Jeudi 9 juin à Québec

Today, students spent the day enjoying the historical Quebec city, but also went to “les chutes de Montmorency” the waterfalls.

The day has included geocatching in the city center, historical revival of the Independent Council of New France (Conseil souverain de la Nouvelle France), pizza and ice cream party… the hotel is very nice and teachers are proud of the good spirit of the students.

Tomorrow, it’s back to Montreal and San Diego…

7th Grade Beach Clean-Up at Windansea

Each year, SDFAS students partner with “I Love A Clean San Diego,” San Diego’s most influential advocate for sustainability and environmental education. For the 2nd consecutive year, students adopted Windansea Beach as our targeted annual beach clean-up. The Adopt-A-Beach program is not just about trash.  It’s about the need for clean oceans, shorelines, and waterways.  It is about Californians acting together to create lasting solutions to marine pollution.  The harmful effects of marine debris are severe: negative economic and aesthetic impacts, harm and risk to human health and safety, injury and death to animals through entanglement and ingestion, and habitat destruction.

This afternoon, the 7th grade class worked together to scavenge the shores for non-organic waste, recyclables, and man-made debris. The students did a fantastic job fulfilling their civic duty by cleaning and caring for their local environment.