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HeadStart Phuket students named ‘Top in Thailand’ in Cambridge Awards

Four students from HeadStart International School, Phuket recently received prestigious awards from Cambridge International Examinations to acknowledge their outstanding performance in the Cambridge examinations in June this year.

The Phuket News

Saturday 11 November 2017, 02:51PM

From left: Director of Studies Adam Drew, Head of Secondary Elizabeth Mason, Paola Stoffel, Bomnuri ‘Lisa’ Kim, Hyerin ‘Riny’ Cho, Natalia Kotova and Business Studies Teacher Michael Hurley.
From left: Director of Studies Adam Drew, Head of Secondary Elizabeth Mason, Paola Stoffel, Bomnuri ‘Lisa’ Kim, Hyerin ‘Riny’ Cho, Natalia Kotova and Business Studies Teacher Michael Hurley.

Three of the students – Hyerin “Riny” Cho, Paola Stoffel and Bomnuri “Lisa” Kim – were named “Top of Thailand” and a fourth student, Natalia Kotova, received a High Achievement award for her excellent results.

The four students garnered awards across a range of different subjects:

• Natalia Kotova – High Achievement: IGCSE First Language Russian

• Hyerin “Riny” Cho – Top in Thailand: International AS Level Business

• Paola Stoffel – Top in Thailand: IGCSE Foreign Language French

• Bomnuri “Lisa” Kim – Top in Thailand: IGCSE Physical Education

Elizabeth Mason, Head of Secondary at HeadStart, praised the four winning students for their excellent efforts and said the awards were a reflection of the school’s commitment to provide a broad and well-balanced curriculum that adapts to the needs of all students.

“We shine in all areas, we do our best to provide a broad ranging curriculum that provides a balance between academic subjects and practical subjects,” said Ms Mason.

The awards were the culmination of a very successful year for HeadStart students where more than 39% of all exam entries at IGCSE were graded at A* or A.

Teacher Michael Hurley, who taught Hyerin “Riny” Cho in Business Studies said he wasn’t entirely surprised when he learnt that Riny had won the award, because of the incredible dedication she has shown to her studies.

“I’m very pleased, but I could say it’s not a huge surprise, she puts in a huge amount of effort, so I think its a recognition of all the work she has put in, she really deserves it,” he said.

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For Riny, who wants to study psychology when she goes to university, it seems the awards came as more of a surprise.

“I didn’t think my grade was that high! I thought someone else in Thailand must have gotten a higher mark than me… my parents were very proud and happy,” said Riny.

Bomnuri “Lisa” Kim, who was named “Top in Thailand” for Physical Education, has become a keen swimmer since she came to HeadStart, but says she also enjoys the other academic pursuits.

“When I came to HeadStart I began participating in a lot more activities, not just sports, but also a program called World Scholars Cup, which is a really good experience, because you get to meet other students from all around the world and debate with them,” said Lisa.

Lisa is one of the well rounded students that HeadStart has been able to produce in recent years, not only did she achieve nine A* grades in her IGCSE exams in June, and took part in the Tournament of Champions round of the World Scholars Cup at Yale University in the US, but she is also a member of the high-performing HeadStart Swim Academy, and has played major roles in the school’s Performing Arts programs.

Paola Stoffel, was also taken by surprise when she found out she was named “Top in Thailand” for French.

“It was a shock, I really wasn’t expecting it… I have a friend that also could have won it, so we were looking at her… but then they said my name… so I was pretty happy,” said Paola.

Natalia Kotova credited her love of reading Russian books with her High Achievement award, but was still caught off guard when her name was announced during assembly for winning the award.

“It was a surprise, I didn’t expect it at all, because I didn’t prepare as much as I should have because Russian is my native language and I had a lot of other subjects to prepare for, so it was really surprising,” said Natalia.

As HeadStart’s student body continues to grow, Head of Secondary Ms Mason has high hopes for all her students.

“I was hoping we would get a ‘Top in the World’, but that will be something we will be aiming for next year,” she said.



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Andy | 14 November 2017 - 10:34:48

I was thinking, "Great, well done." But was then disappointed to see the subjects. Native Russian is best in Thailand at the Russian language - not really surprising. Good luck to these students but I'll consider Head Start for my child when I see students top in Maths, Physics, Chemistry or Biology

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