New Logo launch and 10-year celebration at Kinepolis
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New Logo launch and 10-year celebration at Kinepolis

On Wednesday 7 September the school celebrated its 10-year anniversary not only with all students, staff and parents, but also with our alumni, Parent Support Group, Campus Sounding Board, Participation Council, Student Council, former colleagues, staff and guests. This special event took place in Zaal 13 (Kinepolis Jaarbeurs), followed by a ‘borrel’ at restaurant Speijs.

-by Ingrid Schmoutziguer, communications advisor

It was lovely to see our alumni and former staff members entering the cinema on Wednesday afternoon. The current staff members present were very excited to catch up! It was also really special to welcome our former heads of school Rynette de Villiers and Jaap Mos, as they both represent an important part of the school’s history. We further welcomed alderman Eelco Eerenberg, board members Murielle van der Voort and Jeroen Kreijkamp, former board member Leon de Wit and chair of the Supervisory Board Annemieke van Beek (NUOVO Scholen). Guests also included heads of various NUOVO and Dutch International Schools and stakeholders from the municipality, Utrecht Science Park, ROM, International Welcome Centre Utrecht Region, the NUOVO bedrijfsbureau and childcare organisation Kind & Co. Last, but certainly not least, we welcomed guest speaker and spoken word artist Khouloud Zaher.

Apple trees

First on stage was head of school Marieke Folkers who welcomed everyone and introduced founding head of school Jaap Mos and former Head of School Rynette de Villiers (pictures above). Jaap, holding a small apple tree, reminisced how in 2012, he opened the doors to 63 students at the Notebomenlaan together with deputy head of school Kate Corder. Rynette de Villiers, carrying a slightly larger apple tree, talked about important steps for the school, such as the move to the Van Bijnkershoeklaan, the expansion of that building and the opening of the Annex and Pionier. She also talked about obtaining the important authorisations by the International Baccalaureate of the Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programme as well as the birth of ArtBurst. Rynette finally told the audience that she was most proud of all the staff she hired for the International School Utrecht as they still form a close-knit community.

Marieke Folkers, rolling the biggest apple tree onto the stage, went on to explain the presence of the meaning of the 3 apple trees. “When we started 10 years ago, we chose the apple tree as our symbol”, she said. “The apple tree symbolises trust and gratitude. Besides, people still plant this tree next to their house for protection but also to receive love. All these symbols stand for our school. On that first day, 10 years ago, we had a beautiful tree with a lot of apples in it. Different students picked them as they were all ready for a new adventure. A new school that needed the trust and love to grow, with strong branches and deep roots”.

Happy Birthday

Alderman Eeco Eerenberg (Education; picture left) suggested we all sung ‘happy birthday’ together for our school, which of course, we did! He spoke about the importance of the International School Utrecht for the attractiveness of the Utrecht Region for both international businesses and international talent. Eelco also had some great news: International School Utrecht will move to a semi-permanent school building at Utrecht Papendorp, ensuring the school can keep on growing until the move to our permanent location at Utrecht Science Park.

Board member Jeroen Kreijkamp (NUOVO; picture right) reflected on the founding and growth of the school. “Ten years ago, in my role as alderman, I was involved with the opening of the International School Utrecht”, he reminisced. “Now, ten years later, in my new role as board member, it is wonderful to see that with the additional move to Utrecht Papendorp the school is now anchored in Utrecht.”

Looking to the future

Now that the International School Utrecht is 10 years old (and hitting puberty) it is time for a new logo. With special thanks to branding company Strangelove, Marieke Folkers could proudly present our new logo reveal clip. Do you recognise the voice over in the video?

Guest speaker Khouloud Zaher

We were very pleased that theatre maker, actor and spoken word artist Khouloud Zaher accepted our invitation to be our guest speaker for this event. Khouloud, a member of the selection committee for the various Utrecht 900 events, played with the juxtaposition between Utrecht 900 years and International School Utrecht 10 years.

Over the past months Khouloud visited the school a number of times to meet with primary and secondary students and staff members. What she found in our school made her encourage us to go out into the local community and wider world to tell others how we educate children from all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities under one roof. “What you do is so special, go on and welcome the world into your school to let them see for themselves how you work and learn in such a diverse community”. She referred to her own journey which led her from Marokko to the Netherlands when she was just 8 years old en told the audience that every single child in our school has made a similar journey. “It is important to know where you come from in order to see where you are going”, she said.

Spoken word

Khouloud then compared the school to artworks from textile artist Sheila Hicks, which colourful, kaleidoscopic artworks express the sense of inclusivity in which everyone can be their unique self. Khouloud ended her presentation with a spoken word piece reflecting student ideas about celebrations.

After the event in Zaal 13 we finished the celebrations in restaurant Speijs where we raised our glasses to the to the future of the International School Utrecht. It was lovely to be able to celebrate the 10-year anniversary with all the people who have been or still are important to the school.