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Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 23/10/2020

Sean O’Neill
Sean O’Neill (14 posts) Head Teacher, Secondary Campus View Profile

Dear Parents and students, 

We are extremely fortunate to be able to make our home in this wonderful country. As guests in Vietnam we know how lucky we are to be part of such a  warm and vibrant community. 

As central Vietnam is experiencing the devastating impact of severe flooding, it is good that our BIS community can play a small part in the current relief efforts and show our solidarity with our hosts.  Please find in this week’s update more information from our Community Coordinator, Mrs Tracey Brownrigg about how we are working with our community partners at this time. Thank you to all of our students, parents, teachers and support staff for your generous contributions. 

I hope you enjoy reading this week’s update which includes a chance to relive the highlights of our wonderful international day with links to the incredible performances in our Culture Show, as well as all the news and updates from another rich and diverse week, here on the Secondary Campus. 

Have a lovely weekend, 

Sean O’Neill


Overview of the week’s activities

Central Vietnam Flood Relief Appeal

Tracey Brownrigg
Whole School Co-Curricular Coordinator and
Community Service Project Manager

With the recent devastating floods and landslides caused by torrential rain in central Vietnam, the BIS school community mobilised this week to find ways in which to urgently raise much needed financial aid in support of those most affected.  As the death toll continues to rise with more than 111 lives already lost and tens of thousands of people displaced having been forced to evacuate their homes and leave them to be destroyed by rising water, an immediate response was needed!

Read more about our flood relief appel HERE


Reliving International Day


BIS_Reliving International Day

At BIS we celebrate the diversity of all members of our community, and this is never more seen than during International Day. A highlight of our school calendar, this day involves the efforts of parents, teachers, support staff, and students coming together to share their experiences of their home culture and learn more about one another. We do this through testing our knowledge in the International House Quiz, showcasing our national dress in the Parade of Nations and Fashion Show, tasting the food of other cultures, and, of course, showcasing our talents in the colourful Culture Show. 

One addition to the International Day programme in recent years has been using our STEAM skills to work on collaborative projects with an International theme. In the past this has been students creating and playing arcade games and games from different cultures, and the building of a cardboard city.


This year students worked on an individual project that came together at the end of the day to create a whole image, by creating their own tile that represented internationalism and themselves using methods from Art, Computing, DT, Maths, and Science. This concept was created by our STEAM teachers and the work created was incredible. 


At the end of the day the individual tiles were put together to create a final photomosaic image. I’m wondering if students will be able to spot their contribution below?

BIS_International drone


What a  great way to represent BIS!

Click on the links below to find some highlights from each of the other amazing elements of the day:


You can also see the full Culture Show or skip to your favourite part using these quick tips.

Part 1 - OaBIS; Esmaeel

Part 2 - Yu Gyeong; Year 12

Part 3 - Thi & Linh; Hannah Choi

Part 4 - Deerance; Esther Lee & Diana Kim

Part 5 - Joy; Lisa Ta; Alan Ngo

Part 6 - Year 9 Dancers; Moc Lan & Rica; Daniel Nam

Part 7 - Felicity & Annie; Y13 Dancers

Part 8 - Ellie Thai and Band

  • Intl Day New 5
  • Intl Day New 4
  • Intl Day New 3
  • Intl Day New 1
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 1
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 2
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 3
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 4
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 5
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 6
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 7
  • International Day 2020 Culture Show part 8

PTG International Cookbook

Our PTG would like to bring the diverse tastes of our International Day to your home with a BIS International Day Cookbook. Please see the flyer below to see how you can contribute your favourite family recipe.

You can use this link to add your recipe and story to the - PTG International Day Cookbook

The Big Draw

Our annual ‘Big Draw’ events in Secondary got off to a flying start on Thursday with  The Great Teachers Drawing Challenge.

So many teachers from all subject areas gave up their normal lunchtimes to take part in this year’s challenge.The auditorium was packed with teachers at easels, charcoal in hand observing,marking, smudging and creating some superb interpretations of a standard still life arrangement. 

We would particularly like to thank the students this year who turned up in huge numbers to support, mentor and in some cases individually instruct our teachers with their somewhat rusty drawing skills.

A great chance for our students and teachers to work together and share the value of the drawing for pleasure. There will be a chance for students to take part in their own drawing challenge next week, as well as  a Drawing a Day challenge for them to work on at home or in school.


Weekly Wellbeing at Christmas

Positive Teenage Mental Health: Talk from Dr Jonathan


We were delighted to welcome Dr Jonathan Halevy from Family Medical Practice who addressed our Year 10 students on the importance of positive teenage mental health. This was the first in a series of lessons built around the theme of Resilience & Motivation’ which will continue until the end of Term 2. As the students embark on their two year IGCSE course and the undoubted challenges that lie ahead, the aim of the lessons is to provide the students with the knowledge and strengths to draw on in times of adversity and enable them to flourish and thrive over the next two years and beyond.  

Dr Jonathan’s key message in the presentation was to be aware of early warning signs of potential mental health issues in both ourselves and our friends/family and the possible impact if these are left unresolved. He emphasised that many people suffer mental health issues at one time or another in their lives; it helps to remove the stigma when we realise we are not alone. Dr Jonathan also highlighted the negative impacts that social media and modern technology can have on young people if not used correctly and in a positive manner and how they can add to negative mental health.  

Having identified some of the issues, he then presented a number of key techniques students can adopt in order to build positive mental wellbeing and enable them to cope with negative feelings:

  • Share their feelings with whoever they feel comfortable talking to; friends, family, teachers, school counsellors etc

  • Be active; engage in activities which raise the heart rate and produce endorphins

  • Eat well; opt for healthy food regularly and avoid food high in salt, sugar, fat etc.

  • Sleep; aim for a minimum of 7 hours good quality sleep a day and build it into their schedule 

  • Avoid alcohol and drugs; these are never the solution to poor mental health and should be avoided

  • Do something you are good at; find something that gives you a sense of positive accomplishment and positive emotions

  • Take a break

  • Accept who you are

  • Care for others; helping others builds a sense of positive wellbeing

  • Seek professional help; if problems become too much to cope with, speak to a professional

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to build on the positive messages from today to help our students achieve balance over the next two years and beyond; great academic outcomes, positive wellbeing and character development.

I hope you are having an opportunity to discuss the Wellbeing curriculum with your son or daughter and gain a greater understanding of the work they are doing during lessons and in Tutor Time. Should you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Mr Robbie Alexander

Head of Middle Secondary (Pastoral & Wellbeing)

Weekly Wellbeing - BIS HCMC


Meet new Teachers

Over the coming weeks we will be introducing each of our new teachers and checking in with how they are settling into life in the BIS Community. This week we welcome our new English teachers, Mr Barry and Mr Morgan:

Andrew Barry 


Where have you moved to BIS from?


Why did you move to BIS?

I moved to Vietnam because my family has lived in Fulham for 300 years and I wanted to explore the world. I visited Ho Chi Minh City 3 years ago and I didn't want to leave, so I came back!

What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

International day was incredible. I gained such an extraordinary sense of community, recognising all the new students and staff that I have met over the last couple of months. I feel very fortunate to have arrived in such a welcoming and happy community- not to mention the incredible amount of food that I consumed!

Tell us one fun fact about yourself (hobbies, interests, talents, etc.)

I'm a big fan of boxing. I think it's a great way to learn self-discipline, stay healthy and also push your limits to achieve your goals.

Ioan Morgan 


Where have you moved to BIS from?

BVIS, Hanoi

Why did you move to BIS?

I wanted to experience a more international environment and was aware of the school's excellent reputation as an IB school as well as being a supportive and friendly place to work. I also love living in Vietnam and wanted an opportunity to experience life in HCMC after four years in Hanoi. 

What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

The huge variety of incredible food!

Tell us one fun fact about yourself (hobbies, interests, talents, etc.)

I worked as an extra in the original Captain America movie with Chris Evans and Tommy Lee Jones! Sadly, I can't recognise myself in the final movie cut. 

Be involved

Community Choir Rehearsals


The Community Choir are back to rehearsing  this week.  Rehearsals are at 7am on Thursdays in the Secondary theatre and at 1.15pm in the Junior Campus Multi-purpose room.  All staff and parents welcome.

Here is a link to the website with details of forthcoming performances and music we will sing.

PTG Professional Make-Up Demonstration

The PTG would like to invite you to join a Professional Make-Up Demonstration and a catch-up.  Just in time for the festive season, Amina – an ex-model and professional make-up artist – will be there to share some hot tips and skills for creating a great look, day or night.  All BIS parents are welcome.

Event Details: Professional Make-Up Demonstration and catch-up

Date: Friday 30th October

Time: 10.00am to 12.30pm

Venue: Private residence in Thao Dien, address on registration.

Registration: 350,000vnd with light snacks provided and remaining funds donated to charity.  

Please pay at the Secondary Campus Reception before Tuesday 27th October 2020.

If you would like to make payment in person, please email Katie  at in advance to help access the campus.

RSVP: by email to before Tuesday 27th October


PTG International Cookbook

We have recipes for a salad from Lithuania, dip from Greece, Filippino stew and Bangladeshi tehari along with many others.   The recipes have come from individuals and groups, adults and children, but at the moment our collection is a little bit small and we are really looking for some more recipes from all of our different BIS countries to complete the Cookbook.  Every family is invited to share your favourite recipe…

You can use this link to add your recipe and story to the - PTG International Day Cookbook


Dates for your Diary

News & Events

Thursday 12th November 3.00pm:  Parent Webinar: Supporting Your Child to Study at Home

Friday 30th October PTG Make-Up Demonstration, 10.30am to 12.30pm

Monday 2nd & Tuesday 3rd November: Year 12 Studio Performance, student audience only

Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,

Sean O’Neill
Head Teacher, Secondary Campus