In anticipation of the SEI Olympics, students and staff participated in the SEI Opening Ceremony last night. Students joined in the passing of the paper torch and sang the national anthems of the countries represented at SEI. The original Olympic flame symbolizes the message of peace, friendship, tolerance, and hope, and our evening activity sparked a spirit of unity as students prepared to participate in an active time of sports and games.
The energy at the SEI Olympics was high today as staff and students participated in friendly competitions, including an egg toss, three-legged race, one-hundred-meter dash, and hula hoop toss. Regardless of their athletic ability, each student thoroughly enjoyed cheering on their team members and feeling accepted and encouraged through the team-building activities. The team spirit was strong on the CBU field as the evening sun went down and another exciting day at SEI came to an end. Students celebrated the end of the SEI Olympics by cooling off with a water balloon fight.
Even though we’ve only spent one short week together at SEI, students have already come together to create a caring, positive community of learners and friends. It’s hard to believe sometimes that only a few days ago, our students were strangers from five different countries! This community, of course, is not accidental: our staff at SEI work hard to help students connect with one another. RTAs dedicate themselves to meeting students’ needs, building confidence, and guiding students as they connect with new friends. In the classroom, teachers use research-based methods to help students feel accepted and encouraged. We know that when students feel like part of a community, they are better able to learn–whether that learning happens in English class, or in conversation with a student from another country.
Tonight, our Student Life Director, Mr. Alessio Tranchell, was the master of ceremonies at the SEI Olympics, but that’s only one of the many things he does for us here at SEI. As Student Life Director, Mr. Tranchell leads our team in caring for the needs of every student. He plans and directs many of the fun activities you see in these updates, and it’s rare to see him without a smile. This is Mr. Tranchell’s third year at SEI, and we are grateful for the high standard of excellence that he brings to our team.
Mr. Tranchell, who holds a B.A. from Gordon College and a master’s degree in music from Houghton College, serves as a professor at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. His passions for music and student growth also inform his work as the director of the women’s university. He lives in Minnesota with his wife Caroline, who herself has many years of experience in international student education and support.
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