We received a copy of this email from students Michelle Ferreol and Bernadette Halili, Grade 8.

From : Ferreol, Michelle Denise
Sent : Wednesday, September 6, 2006 10:31 PM
To : info@ismstakeholders.com, "Halili, Bernadette Louise" , "Calo, Nicole"
Subject : A letter to the ISM community from two concerned students

Attachment : LettertoBoardofTrustees.doc (0.03 MB)

Please post. Our names may be revealed if needed. Thank you.


Dear Board of Trustees, Administration, Teachers and Staff,

We are Michelle Ferreol and Bernadette Halili, new students in the 8th grade and 2 of the several Filipino Scholars who are attending your prestigious institution. We are writing because we believe that this urgent situation calls for the opinions and voice of the student body. We want you to see the dilemma through our eyes, and inform you on how it affects us.

It has pained us much to watch recent events and misunderstandings unravel before our eyes over the past few days. We have only been attending ISM for one month, yet we were instantly faced with this confusing situation. It is a little too much for us to handle. Although we have only been at ISM for a while, we are still very aware and very much disturbed by the series of problems arising within the community. Over the course of 4 weeks, ISM's teachers, staff and students have created such a welcoming and hospitable environment for us. They, as well as ISM itself, have grown near and dear to our hearts, much like a second home and second family. It just seems difficult for us to comprehend how such a peaceful atmosphere could be obliterated merely by the tactless actions and words of a few people.

Last May, when we received the wonderful news of being selected as this year's Filipino Scholars, we were ecstatic. At first the mere thought of attending the International School of Manila seemed like too much of an overwhelming dream. This scholarship, however, brought us one step closer to our aspirations as students. Michelle dreams of becoming a lawyer someday and Bernadette is hoping to become a doctor. Both of us wish to attend universities in the U.S. and we entered ISM with the notion that it would help us get accepted into such institutions. Meanwhile, more than anything, we were looking forward to the amazing 5 years that ISM had in store for us.

Due to recent events, however, we have almost ceased to believe that we will be able to fulfill our hopes. We come from local schools in Manila and we know that American universities wouldn't even look twice at our files. Furthermore, our parents do not have the capacity to send us for schooling abroad. Our chances are limited. When we heard of the possibility of the school closing at the end of this year, we were crushed. After putting our trust in the school, we are now afraid that our futures might be at stake. Needless to say, we didn't want to rid the world of two young individuals who believe that they have something to offer. Where will we go? We are not as blessed as others of this school who can have the best education offered. It was only a stroke of good fortune that ISM selected us as their scholars. We came to ISM in the hopes that it will help us hone our talents and minds to the fullest ability. If it closes, we once again become a financial burden for our parents. The same goes for the other Filipino scholars who are attending the school.

Henceforth, we found the termination of Mr. David Toze to be extremely disturbing. Questions still surround the strange event, though we choose not to believe the rumors. Based on facts from your site, we know that he was forced out of the premises by armed men, denying him any time to gather his own belongings. Needless to say, it hurt us to think of how badly he was treated, most especially after his loyal service to the school. We cannot even begin to explain the misery and anger we felt when we later found out that he was sacked on his birthday.

It was because of this act that the teachers and staff have been forced to express their indignation. Now, we are concerned about the alleged resignation of 150 teachers and staff at our school. We know, as well as anyone, that the teachers sacrifice so much for the students. For us, they are the heart and soul of the institution, no matter how many people object. We know how much they are giving up for us, like their precious time, and the little they receive in return. It is unjust that they be treated in the manner that Mr. Toze was.

The ISM community has witnessed how one small problem can lead us into another, and can trap us in a mass of difficulties like the one we are experiencing now. How can one tiny mistake, one harmless lie or one little secret, ruin everything this school has worked for, what these people have worked for?

It is hard to understand an individual's personal reasons behind their words and actions. But sometimes, the motive is only self-rewarding, and one forgets to consider those around him. So we humbly ask that those involved think about what's best for us students and for the future of ISM. We ask that parents' and families' minds become enlightened to take measures that concern the welfare of the entire community. And mostly, we ask for the teachers to stay with us and help us through this troubled time. If we work together, surely we will be able to restore the once tranquil environment of International School Manila and the place we know as a second home. One of our birthdays is coming up, and it would mean everything to her (more than the ice cream, cake and presents) if this situation would just be solved and thrown into our mounting pile of past regrets which we have yet to forget. Please think of the students of the community, think of others before ourselves.


Michelle Ferreol and Bernadette Halili
Grade 8 Filipino Scholars