So many events, day-in and day-out!

December 2023

Dr. Vladimir D. Kuskovski

Head of School, EF Academy New York

Greetings from our lovely New York Campus,

Yet another month has come to its end, and we are only a few weeks away from the end of our first semester and winter break. Time really flies fast!

As I am writing these lines, our campus is getting ready for our annual Art Night, where we will see artwork of all kinds and, of course, will be able to speak with the artists themselves about their work. Music and theater are also on offer, highlighting the hard work of our art students. Academy Rocks is still to come a bit later, but we are also looking forward to this special event. My heartfelt thank you to our performing and visual art teachers for their great work in bringing the arts into the lives and education of our students, and, by default, to all of us here on campus.

Also, a very proud moment for Mrs. Eddis, one of our IB Visual Art teachers: the work of one of her students, Suin from South Korea, who graduated last year was chosen by IB for the IB annual holiday card. This card will circle the world and will be sent not only to all IB schools, but also to the affiliate organizations and individuals on the IB list. Congrats to both the artist and her teacher.

Last week marked a very important holiday in the US: Thanksgiving. We celebrated this holiday by our Thanksgiving Banquet where we all enjoyed traditional food for this holiday.

During that time we focused on gratitude and empowered our students to take this time to thank all of you for providing them with such wonderful opportunity to study in our school and live a life full of unforgettable experiences. I am certainly thankful for this amazing opportunity to be part of EF Academy, where I am fortunate to work with an outstanding group of colleagues in delivering educational and life experiences to a wonderful group of students.

I would be remised not to mention a group of our runners who got up very early on Thanksgiving Day to take part in an annual Turkey Trot run in our local community, which EF Academy sponsors. Well done runners!

Another important event I must mention is our annual Model United Nations Conference. Watching our young diplomats working hard on solving all of the world’s problem left me wishing that people who are now charged with the mission of diplomacy around the world work as passionate and tirelessly to help the world to be a better place. The focus of the conference was Africa and the Middle East - very relevant. A special thank you to one of our parents, Dr. Sayed, who recorded an address for our delegates. Dr. Sayed works for the World Bank and is currently stationed in Africa. My sincere congratulations to all the delegates and their advisor Mr. Giordano for organizing and running such a great conference.

I only managed to highlight a few major events in the life of our school; it is really a very tall task to relay everything that is going on day-in and day-out here at the school. In conclusion, I invite you to visit the campus if business or pleasure brings you to New York. We are always so happy to see you here.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, concerns and just to chat about all of the good things that are going on.

Updates & Reminders

Winter Break

Students should plan to return to campus on January 11. Flights should always be booked to arrive between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm EST.

Spring Break
  • Students may begin departing campus at 12:00 pm EST on March 6 and must depart by no later than 3:00 pm EST on March 7. Flights should be arranged to accommodate these campus departure times.

  • Students should plan to return to campus on March 26. Flights should always be booked to arrive between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm EST.

End of Year Departures
  • Grade 12 students must depart after Graduation on May 18 and should plan to leave campus by no later than 10:00 pm EST

  • Underclassmen may start departing from campus on May 25 and must depart by no later than 3:00 pm EST on May 26. Flights should be arranged to accommodate these campus departure times.

2023-2024 School Year Calendar 

For your convenience, you can find this year's academic calendar: here. It can also be found on EF Academy New York's News and Info page.

Fall Sports Recap

The fall sports season showcased significant growth in physical abilities, emotional resilience, and sportsmanship across all teams.  This season highlighted the importance of teamwork, perseverance, and respect, fostering an environment where athletes could grow together both as competitors and as individuals. The lessons learned and the friendships formed on the field this fall are sure to be lifelong, emphasizing the enduring impact of sports in shaping character and community. 

Girls' Varsity Volleyball 
The Varsity Girls' Volleyball team had an inspiring fall season, characterized by significant development in both individual skills and team dynamics. Winning 8 out of 15 games, the team displayed a remarkable ability to adapt and grow, especially when facing challenging opponents. The players' strategic awareness and on-the-spot skill adaptation were key to their success. Beyond their athletic achievements, the team was also noted for their high spirit, positivity, and exceptional sportsmanship. The seniors, captain, and managers played pivotal roles, leading the team with composure, and ensuring everything ran smoothly, especially during home games. Looking ahead, the team is excited for the next season, with juniors ready to step up and lead, backed by a supportive fan base. 

Boys' Varsity Soccer 
The Boy's Varsity Soccer team had a noteworthy season. With players hailing from 12 countries, this young team, including 5 freshmen and 2 sophomores, ended their regular season with a solid 7-6-1 record. Their leading scorer, Endo from Vietnam, contributed significantly with 11 goals and 4 assists. The highlight of the season was their first-ever postseason championship victory, demonstrating a remarkable turnaround from their early regular-season performance. This success was a testament to their improved teamwork, strategic play, and mental resilience, particularly in key matches against formidable opponents. 

Girls' Varsity Soccer  
The Girls' Varsity Soccer team experienced a season of impressive growth and team unity. Comprising 22 players from 14 different nationalities, the team embodied the spirit of one family with a single goal: to improve every day. Throughout the season, the team showed commendable development in their understanding and execution of soccer skills. Despite facing experienced opponents in their 10 matches, the team's resilience and dedication to skill development were evident. Notable achievements included a thrilling 5-5 draw against the Marvelwood School and a decisive 5-0 victory over Oakwood Friends School.  

Boys' & Girls' Varsity Cross County 
The Co-ed Cross-Country team fielded a strong and cohesive team of 13 runners. The season culminated at the Marvelwood Invitational, where the team tackled a challenging 3.11-mile course amid a competitive field. Standout performances included Yuki from Japan, who consistently placed in the top 5 and secured a 2nd place finish at the Invitational with a time of 19:55, and Hannah from South Korea, the first female from EF Academy to cross the finish line at this meet. What truly set this team apart was the spirit of camaraderie and mutual encouragement. Each member achieved personal bests by the season’s end, a testament to their collective effort and relentless pursuit of improvement. The supportive and energetic atmosphere they fostered was integral to their success and personal growth.

Explore Belize or Bali with EF Academy

Over spring break, we will be hosting two Exploration Tours to choose from. This year, you can choose to travel to either Belize or Bali on a school sponsored trip. 

The trips are currently proposed to run from March 9 – March 25 (dates are tentative and may change). 

Each of these trips require 15 students to be able to run (students can be from both Pasadena and Thornwood). Both options will cost $4800.

This cost includes:

  • International and domestic airfares and taxes, unless otherwise specified

  • Accommodation as per the itinerary in double/twin occupancy

  • Tours and transfers as specified including entry fees, on a private basis in air-conditioned vehicles

  • Service of English speaking local guide for all included sightseeing and transfers

  • Meals as specified in the the itinerary (excluding drinks)

  • VAT Government tax and services charge

  • Bottled water and wet tissue provided on transfers and sightseeing

  • Tips/gratuities to Tour Director and driver

  • 24 hour emergency service

This does NOT include:

  • Any visa costs. If your primary passport is from a country where a visa is required, you will need to pay additional visa fees. Depending on the passport, you may also need a transit visa.

  • Any luggage outside of economy/basic economy allowances (including overweight/oversize fees)

  • Necessities (toiletries, clothes, swimsuits, etc.)

  • Money for personal purchases

Further details will be discussed at an in-person interest meeting with the students, which will be announced soon. If you are interested, please fill out the interest form.  

Questions? Please contact [email protected]

Student Life

November 1 and 2 we celebrated Día de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead." Día de los Muertos originated from Mexico and has been celebrated for thousands of years. The significance is to give prayer and remembrance of friends and family members who have died - to celebrate their life. To honor their ancestors, many people celebrate with by building alters with offerings, custom foods, vibrant music and lots of bright colors.

Our fall sports teams have wrapped up their seasons, and all of the teams celebrated their seniors one last time. Here are our 2023 Girls' Varsity Soccer team. The team played one last match against their teachers and left their hearts on the field. Many faculty members and students came out to support their friends as they play once more on their high school home turf. After the game was completed, the girls gathered to enjoy some homemade brownies from their caring coach, Coach Ortiz, and the seniors were awarded medals and decorated posters for all of their accomplishments.

We are the champions! In the final match of the season, the championship, our Boys' Varsity Soccer Team against the German International School of New York (GIS). It was an exciting game, as we took the lead 3 minutes before the first half ended. With only 11 minutes remaining, the team received a free kick and placed the ball in the back of the net, putting us back in the lead. We're so proud of the Boys' Varsity Soccer Team for their first ever postseason championship win.

We're so excited to share that after many months of hard work, our very own on-campus outdoor brick oven is done! We even got to try the very first pizzas to be made, and they were delicious. A big shoutout goes to our dedicated operations team, especially Mr. Antonio, who built the entire oven by hand, and even made the first batch of pizza dough fresh from scratch! We're so excited to use this new outdoor space and enjoy delicious pizza.

In the spirit of giving thanks, and always around Thanksgiving, we put up our Gratitude Tree in the dining hall. The Gratitude Tree is displayed proudly; students take blank leaves, write out what they are grateful for, and place their leaves on the bare branches to create an entire tree of "thanks." The tree is left up for the entire month of November to remind us that, even when times get tough, there is so much to be thankful for.

Our community had the opportunity to learn themselves the true reason for our participation in Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Ms. Smith's former student of 10 years, Mausam, came to speak with all of our students about her experience with a service dog. We were so grateful to hear how having a guide dog has helped her in her day-to-day routine, and changed her life for the better. Finally, at the end, Mausam gave us some etiquette tips for guide dogs, and reminded us that while they may be very cute, they are on the job!

Our US History class created inspiring projects during Native American History Month in their unit on First Nations and Native American People. The work done to research and recognize these cultures was completed by a group of international students, many of which have not had prior experience in Native American education. The students really dove in, embraced the myriad distinctions between tribes, and presented their findings to their peers to share ideas and spread awareness.

We hosted our annual MUN conference on campus, with visitors from our Pasadena campus! Students acted on the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural (SPECPOL), North Atlantic Treaty Orgainisation (NATO), Economic & Financial (ECOFIN) committees. After many speeches at the opening ceremony, including from Senator Bill Baroni, our classrooms were filled with debate and passion. MUN is one of our favorite clubs – it teaches students to be confident, how to research controversial topics, best practices in public speaking, teamwork, and leadership.

Because our school is closed for the summer during June's Pride Month, we celebrate multiple times throughout the school year to acknowledge pride culture. This month was one of our weekly celebrations, hosted by our lovely Pride Not Prejudice club. Our entire community participated in various activities to raise awareness and share the LGBTQ+ community history. The events included rainbow dress day, pride pancake day, queer trivia, spirit day, rainbow tattoo parlor, rainbow pin & pronoun making, and "dress like your type" day.

Happy Thanksgiving! Across the entire United States, family and friends gathered together to celebrate the American tradition of Thanksgiving, a time to think about the past year's harvest and good fortunes. To celebrate, we had a community wide banquet: everyone gathered in the AUX for a traditional Thanksgiving "dinner" with lots of mashed potatoes, pie, and of course: turkey! Then, on the morning of Thanksgiving, we ran in the annual 5k & 10k races at the Turkey Trot alongside our community at the Westchester Community College.

This month was our annual Arts Night, where students from the subjects of visual arts, film, theater, and music presented their work at a showcase for the entire community. Visual art students had their creations displayed throughout the lobby, while the film students gave a showing of their work. Finally, there were performances done by our theater students and music students. We are so proud of our Arts Department and all of their hard work!

Athlete of the month

Congratulations to An, from Vietnam 🇻🇳

An, a team leader, has successfully and consistently maintained his role as commander of the central midfield for the Boys' Varsity Soccer team. His work ethic is prodigious, his commitment to the sport or any sport is preeminent, and his ability to motivate his teammates is what makes him an invaluable asset our soccer team. An has been an unforgettable influence over the course of the 2023-2024 soccer season. He ended the season with 3 goals and 1 assist. Two of his goals came during the end of the season tournament, and both of those goals were game winners leading the team to a tournament championship.  An always gives 100% in every practice and game, and is known not only for his work rate, but also for his game intelligence and hustle. Academically, An is also a great student athlete, taking the full IB course load, and placing his education before all else. We appreciate An’s contribution to our athletic program, and look forward to his future successes.

To top it all off, An has just been named our Boys' Varsity Basketball team captain for the 2023-2024 season. Congratulations, An! 

Faculty Member of the Month

The November Faculty Member of the Month is University and Academic Advisor Kaitlin Schmidt. Kate partners with her students while holding them accountable to ensure that they fully invest in the university and college application process. Her diligence and commitment consistently lead to success for her students as they discover and receive acceptances to terrific institutions of higher learning. Kate also leads younger students to develop schedules and work through challenges so they, too, will one day be prepared for a successful transition to higher education. Kate does all of this with a smile on her face and a great attitude. We are so lucky Kate is part of our community!