• Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Alumni News - Start of School 2017-2018

Keep Connected with CAIS

  • Thanks to an update with LinkedIn, the official CAIS page can now be linked to your profile’s education section. Please take a moment to show your Firedragon pride with your professional contacts.
  • Party’s on us! Get together for pizza, send us a photo of you with other CAIS alumni along with the receipt (alumni@cais.org), and CAIS will foot the bill. 
  • Better late than never…check us out on Instagram!
  • Save the Date—December 20, 2017—for Cookies and Cocoa.
  • Questions or news to share? Contact Hannah Bloom, your alumni liaison at CAIS. A graduate of UC Davis, Hannah is the newest member of the CAIS Advancement team. She works to keep alumni connected with CAIS, whether from afar on Facebook or in person for coffee or reunions.
  • Alumni Achievements


    Alumni Achievement Award winner Reylon Yount ’08 with Mrs. Susan KennedyAt the Graduation Dinner on June 14, CAIS awarded its inaugural Alumni Achievement Award to Reylon Yount ’08 for setting an outstanding example through his professional accomplishments in the field of Chinese music.

    An accomplished musician who plays the yangqin, Reylon began his Chinese music study here at CAIS with Gangqin Zhao. He attended IHS and then went on to graduate from Harvard in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy and a secondary in East Asian Studies. Reylon has performed around the globe with YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. He is featured on the Silk Road Ensemble’s Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home.” He joined the group in accepting the music industry’s top honor this year. Reylon served as a faculty member at the 2017 Youth Music Culture Guangdong conference in Guangzhou. He also founded the Cultural Connections performance series in Allston, MA, to showcase various music and dance traditions to the local community. In the series, each performance piece is followed by a Q&A about the history of the art form and the experience of performing in the arts in college.  

    Susan Kennedy served as his formal mentor during the application process for the prestigious Davidson Fellowship award, which he received in 2011, based on a project entitled “The Second Silk Road: Bridging East and West Through Chinese Music.” This past year he also won a Marshall Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom and plans to enroll in two one-year graduate programs, the first in Music in Development at SOAS, University of London, and the second in film producing at the Met Film School. Just as YoYo Ma established Silk Road to explore how the arts can advance global understanding, Reylon wants to develop his understanding of socially-engaged art. He shared, “The arts give us a way to think about what our values are, where we find meaning and how we want to seek fulfillment.”


    University High School recognized Ian Browne ’13 as one of its 2017 Male Athletes of the the Year and Mirei Golding-Powers ’13 as one of its 2017 Female Athletes of the Year.

    In addition to his success on the Fall 2016 Cross Country team, Ian was captain of the Badminton team, was Boys Singles Champion at the NCS Championships, 1st Boys Singles at the BAC Tournament, and 1st Team All League for Boys Singles.

    Mirei was Field Hockey team captain for fall 2016, named Co-Senior of the Year in the BVAL All-League, was Lacrosse team captain in spring 2017, and was on 1st Team All League.

    Congratulations to both former Firedragons!

  • Full Circle! Alumna Teaching at CAIS

    New Kindergarten teacher Larissa Hsia-Wong ’99 prepping on the Oak PlaygroundThe saying is that lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but we disagree because we are lucky enough to welcome back alumna Larissa Hsia-Wong ’99 to CAIS, now as a Kindergarten teacher herself! Lower School Director Anne Valentino shared, “Ms. Hsia-Wong is not only a dynamic teacher but a terrific role model who has blazed a great path for Kindergarteners. Having earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.Ed. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, she also served in the Peace Corps and was named a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College. She taught in Taiwan for six years and comes to us most recently from Taipei American School.” 

    At the start of school “Launch Week,” Larissa joined the incoming faculty and staff participating in an ice-breaking activity called “Two Truths and A Lie.” She had the room in stitches with tales drawn from her own experiences as a CAIS student. Can you tell which one was fiction? Email Hannah Bloom to earn bragging rights in a future issue of Alumni News.

    1. In first grade, we had a school wide sleepover in the playground of building 1801 in our Presidio campus in tents. I got in trouble with Liang Laoshi because the PJs I was wearing had the slipper feet attached to them and I kept tracking in dirt and bark chips into the tent.

    2. In third grade, my dad helped build a sandbox for the 1801 playground. I got in trouble with Shirley Lee’s son, Tawal, who use to volunteer after school, because I would dig holes into the sand, add water and bark chips, and make other kids eat my “wood soup.”

    3. In sixth grade, my friends dared me to climb up a trap door in the ceiling in Building 1808 in the Presidio. Mr. Wright caught me because I got stuck when I kicked down a box I had used to climb on top of, and I got sent to my dad’s office who was working at that time for NCIS to help plan for our 150 Oak Street campus.
  • Next Chapters

    Alumni Association Induction

    Between her experiences at Georgetown and Harvard, working in the Peace Corps, teaching abroad at Taipei American School, and returning stateside to teach Kindergarten at CAIS this school year, Larissa Hsia-Wong ’99 had a wealth of wisdom to share with the Class of 2017 about life after CAIS. At the Graduation Dinner this past June, she helped induct the Class of 2017 into the Alumni Association and shared some advice to prepare her new alumni peers for high school. Looking back on her own journey, she was encouraging and candid about the highs and lows of the next chapter to come for CAIS grads. Her remarks included four main takeaways:

    #1: Do not not do something for fear of being bad at it

    #2: Learn how to take care of yourself

    #3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    #4: Be kind to your parents and thank them regularly

    The 38 graduates in the Class of 2017 will be putting Larissa’s great advice to use as they attend the following schools in the Bay Area:

    * Bay (6)
    * Branson (3)
    * Convent of the Sacred Heart (1)
    * Gateway High School (1)
    * Lick-Wilmerding (2)
    * Lincoln Mandarin (1)
    * Lowell (5)
    * Menlo (1)
    * Mills High School (1)
    * Riordan (1)
    * Sacred Heart Cathedral (4)
    * Saint Ignatius (1)
    * San Domenico (1)
    * SOTA (4)
    * Sterne School (1)
    * Tam (1)
    * University High School (1)
    * Urban (3)

    Class of 2013 off to College

    Members of the Class of 2013 gathered at a reunion in Lafayette this past June. The former CAIS classmates celebrated their shared milestone as they completed high school. We were delighted to learn of their plans for college including:

    * Cal Poly SLO
    * Carleton College
    * Cornell University
    * Drexel
    * Elon University
    * George Washington University
    * Harvard College
    * Haverford College
    * Loyola Marymount University
    * Mount Holyoke College
    * Northeastern University
    * Northwestern University
    * Oberlin Conservatory
    * Pomona College
    * Seattle University
    * Texas A&M
    * Tufts
    * University of British Columbia
    * UC Berkeley (2)
    * UCLA
    * UC San Diego
    * University of North Carolina
    * University of San Francisco
    * University of Toronto
    * Vassar College


  • 30th Reunion!

    Class of 1987's 30th ReunionRepresenting 50% of the Class of 1987 (granted, there were only 4 members!), Seibo Shen and Jefferson Silver gathered for a 30th Reunion dinner this past spring. School founder Carol Ruth Silver was on hand to take part in the fun. Seibo shared, “It was an awesome night. [Jefferson] and I caught up on all the stories of our kids growing up. Carol brought me up to speed on all the wonderful things that she has been working on in education.”

    Interested in pulling together your own alumni gathering? Gnosh with fellow CAIS alumni, and send us a photo of the group along with the receipt (alumni@cais.org), and CAIS will foot the bill. Contact Hannah Bloom in the Advancement Office with any questions.

  • A Loving Legacy

    The Wong Family visits the classrooms named to honor their grandparentsJust before the school year began, former Board Chair Alonso Wong and Janina Wong stopped by the 888 Campus to show alumni J.R.’05, Janet ’07, and Tommy ’09 the spaces named to honor their grandparents. In addition to touring the new campus, the family sweetly took photos together at The Wai Ngor Lee-Wong Classroom, The Ramon Wong Chiu Classroom, and of course at the Firedragon Tile Mural at the center of campus. The exciting new facilities prompted some talk of wanting a do-over for middle school and excitement for what future generations of Wong students might enjoy at CAIS.  

  • Alumna Who Codes

    Computer Science major Teresa Ibarra ’11 (right) visits CAIS Girls Who CodeCAIS alumna Teresa Ibarra ’11 is majoring in computer science at Harvey Mudd College and has interned with IBM and Stitch Fix. This spring she came back to CAIS to visit the Girls Who Code club and helped students with their projects. The girls were inspired to see such a great example of a woman forging her path in the tech industry.

  • CAIS in Point - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Excerpt from Head of School Jeff Bissell’s letter to the community this summer.

    In 2016-17, we began our focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)—a long overdue effort that addresses not just a desire but a need in our community. Ernie Chow, CAIS parent and chairperson of the Board of Trustees, introduced the school’s recently completed statement of philosophy on DEI. This statement constitutes powerful words to guide purposeful actions that are mission consistent and reflective of a collaborative, community-minded process.

    When the Statement Task Force undertook its work throughout 2016-17, we knew that words, while foundational, would not be enough. As I wrote one year ago, “Ongoing curriculum work, professional development for teachers and staff as well as opportunities for parent input and education will be happening in tandem with the creation of an overall philosophy statement.” We remained true to that commitment throughout the school year. DEI was an important focus of faculty and staff development this past school year. We took advantage of a variety of channels—including conference attendance, inservice days facilitated by a variety of outside authorities, and internal conversations in which we discussed our own shortcomings, strengths, hopes, fears, and confidence. Our aims were many, as were our accomplishments: We knew we needed to build local capacity to think about and understand issues that affect our school and our society. We needed to understand the relationship between DEI and an explicit focus on embracing Chinese. We reevaluated our hiring and admissions processes with an eye towards recruiting and retaining historically underrepresented identities at CAIS. We realized the importance of partnership with families and that parents were hungry for more information, and we were happy that over 100 families took advantage of parent education opportunities. In our curriculum work we searched for opportunities to view existing content and skills through the lens of DEI—this was reflected in improvements in teaching and learning in all grades this year.

    Our teachers and staff have made tremendous progress. At the same time we all recognize that this is just the beginning—this spring when teachers and staff discussed and ranked priorities for 2017-18, continued work in DEI ranked at the top. We are committed to ongoing work in the next school year and beyond, including the development of ways in which we can assess our progress and areas for improvement.

    Thank you to everyone in our community who has supported our efforts and pushed us to get better. We are in a very different place now than we were one year ago. We have come to this point, and are well poised for future growth, by fully embracing the attitudes and aptitudes that are cultivated through Chinese immersion.

  • Chinese American International School


    Early Childhood Division (Pre-K) | Alice A. Carnes Center
    42/52 Waller Street 

    Lower School (K-5)
    150 Oak Street 

    Middle School (6-8)
    888 Turk Street 

    San Francisco, CA 94102