January 7
Happy New Year!
School Resumes

January 11
Celebrating Awty
7:00 - 10:30 p.m. in the Cafe
Adults Only

January 21
Martin Luther King Holiday - School Closed

January 22-25
Awty (Faculty/Staff) Appreciation Week

January 29
Awty Spirit T-shirt Day

Pack the PAAC
5:00 p.m. in the PAAC

February 4
Re-enrollment Deadline



6th grader ethan bianco joins houston boychoir

Kudos to 6th grade student Ethan Bianco on his acceptance as a member of the Houston Boychoir Preparatory Choir for 2018-2019, the choir's 56th anniversary season.

Houston Boychoir was established by Houston Independent School District in 1962 as The Singing Boys of Houston. It became an independent arts organization in 1991, and today it continues to provide boys in the Houston Metropolitan area with the exciting opportunity for vocal music study and choral performance.

Bravo Ethan on this outstanding accomplishment!




Congratulations to Awty alumnus Bernardo Cubria, Class of 2000! He will be appearing on the CBS drama series, Criminal Minds!

After Awty, Bernardo attended the University of Houston where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. He then lived in New York City for eight years where he worked at The Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, INTAR, La MAMA, and The Mint. He also appeared on several TV shows including Blue Bloods and The Good Wife, as well as a number of independent movies. He has also been cast in several commercials including the following commercial for Amazon Echo that aired during Super Bowl LI.

His incredible talent doesn't end there - Bernardo also does voice overs, writes plays, and hosts his own podcast. His podcast "Off and On: A New York Theatre Podcast" was named the top Theatre Podcast by American Theatre Magazine.

We have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg for Bernardo. His hard work and tireless dedication to the craft, combined with his gifted acting skills, charming personality, and stunning good looks (*wink, wink: he takes after his beautiful mother, 1st grade teacher Tita Cubria), there's no doubt the world will be seeing more from Mr. Cubria.

Stay tuned - once we know an air date for Criminal Minds, we will let everyone know.


Hispanic Heritage Celebration

The Student Council, under the leadership of senior Ivan Mangal, has spearheaded a series of presentations to celebrate Hispanic Heritage by grade level.  On December 3, the 11th grade students were treated to a performance of folkloric dances from three regions of Mexico.  Junior Melvin Cruz, together with his siblings, presented three dances and took pride in demonstrating the significance of traditional dance forms within his family.  We thank Melvin Cruz and his family for sharing their love of dance with our community.


Congratulations to sophomore Maurits Deman on receiving The 2018 President's Volunteer Service Gold Award, bestowed by the President of the United States. Depending on the number of completed service hours, individuals can receive either the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

Maurits earned his award for the many hours he volunteered with various organizations through GO Beyond Student Community Service Program including the Association of Reef Keepers, the Department of Conservation and Fisheries, BVI National Parks Trust, Green & Clean VI Ltd., Jost van Dykes Preservation Society, and Convoy of Hope. Through these organizations, Maurits worked on several projects on the islands of Virgin Gorda, Tortola, and Jost Van Dyke after Hurricane Irma struck as a category 5 hurricane on September 6, 2017, leaving behind it a trail of destruction that affected an estimated 1.2 million people. He not only helped to restore the coastline, but he also helped to rebuild schools, playgrounds, and homes.

What a great honor! Bravo Maurits!



For the last few years, Awty has joined the #Socktober movement by collecting hundreds of pairs of socks on a dedicated day in October. This year, Awty collected nearly 3,000 pairs of socks from our school community. On Awty’s behalf, the Lower School Student Council donated the socks to the Refugee Services of Texas when the students met with representatives from the organization on November 28.



On November 19-20, Awty junior Lisa Meng competed in the Miss American Coed (MAC) Pageant in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Not only did she participate in the competition, but Lisa also brought home the Miss Texas Junior Teen title! Additionally, her hard work and dedication paid off as she placed first in the talent competition with her piano performance of Chopin’s Nocturne in D-flat Minor, Op.9, No. 1.


This is the second year Lisa participated in the MAC pageant. In 2017, she won Miss Lone Star and was in the top five in the talent category of the competition.

The MAC pageant not only prepared me for modeling, interviewing, and public speaking, but it was also an excellent way for me to find out about myself, who I am, and who I want to be in the future,” stated Lisa. “Luckily, I got to connect with so many beautiful and talented girls who are making their best efforts to impact the world for the better.

This year marked the 35th anniversary of Miss American Coed Pageant. Approximately 150 state winners attended the national competition this year.


Every year, Awty’s band students audition in the Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) contest at the region, area, and state levels. The students have to prepare selections and compete against other students from schools in the greater Houston area and across the state of Texas. Students who placed in the top chairs of each section at the region level are considered to be in the ATSSB Central Area Band.

Awty's 2018 winners for the ATSSB region and area contests included:

Henderson Chandler (10th grade) – Region & Area Band*
Angela Chen (11th) – Region Band
Nicole Dunkel (10th) – Region Band
Sam Harris (9th) – Region & Area Band*
Rick Huang (10th) – Region & Area Band*
Matthew Jason (9th) – Region & Area Band*
Alexandra Moran (9th) – Region Band
Sebastian Peralta (11th) – Region & Area Band*
Rajiv Premkumar (9th) – Region & Area Band*
Kat Sawyer (11th) – Region & Area Band*
Jean-Luc Shimizu (10th) – Region & Area Band*
Lucia Urreta (9th) – Region Band
Meera Vashisht (10th) – Region & Area Band*

Amélie Boerger (4ème) – Region Band
Tate Leach (8th) – Region Band
Alex Matthews-Elston (8th) – Region Band
Guillaume Novoa-Gueneau (4ème) – Region Band
Paloma Villasenor (8th) – Region Band




*Students who made the Area Band will compete in January for the ATSSB All-State Band.

In addition to the ATSSB contests, Awty also participates in a very competitive audition for the All-State Jazz Ensemble held by The Texas Private School Music Educators Association (TPSMEA). The audition requires students to play three prescribed jazz compositions and improvise. This year, sophomore Jean-Luc Shimizu, Awty’s multi-talented lead jazz band trumpet player, made the TPSMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble.


Congratulations to all of these fine young musicians.


The 3rd and 4th grade Awty Plus soccer team dominated the soccer field at the YMCA where they participated in weekend games for ten weeks this fall. On November 10, the season culminated with a playoff game where Awty’s team brought home 1st place. Congratulations to players Quentin Baudot (CM1), Jack Campbell (CE2), Derek Detring, Jr. (3rd grade), Emil Laine (4th), Sami Merad Boudia (CM1), Thomas Murillo (CM1), and Phineas Carnell Simon (2nd), and their coaches Oscar Avendano, Samer Kadoura, and Juan Barbosa.


On November 4, several secondary Awty students competed in the 17th Greater Houston Chinese Speech Contest. During the competition, the candidates’ capabilities of public speaking in Chinese were judged on several factors including pronunciation, main idea, and overall presentation.

Thirteen of our students brought 12 trophies back to Awty including three students winning first place: Juniors Aranza Rodriguez and Nicole Sax won first place for the non-heritage group while freshman Rachel Gai won first place in the American-born Chinese group. Other award winners and participants included Ludovica Duchini (11th grade), Adam Fields (10th), Grace Giddings (9th), Tingyue Jiang (11th), William Ma (7th), Ashlyn Tu (11th), Darrel Villanueva (11th), Chelsey West (11th), and Danielle Xu (11th).

Congratulations to this group of enthusiastic and talented Awty students!


Sophomore Stephan Munk officially received his Eagle Scout Rank at a formal ceremony in October this year. Stephan completed his Eagle Scout Rank requirements in January 2018, just weeks prior to his 15th birthday.

Eagle is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, historically earned by only 4% of eligible scouts by their 18th birthday. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a scout must earn over 20 merit badges, as well as lead a comprehensive service project approved by the District Council, including any required fundraising, permits or authorizations, and volunteer management.

Congratulations Stephan on this incredible accomplishment!




Seventh grader Aine Devins has earned membership in the Texas Private Schools Music Association's South Region Middle School Honor Choir. What does this mean? She is one of 25 students in her voice part who were selected from participating private schools in the southern half of the state of Texas.

Congratulations Aine! Keep up the good work!


seven AWTY STUDENTS advance to the final round of all-state choir auditions

In October, ten singers from Awty including Cameron Ahmed (9th grade), Aiden Devins (11th), Aidan Fulton (9th), Clara Haymon (11th), Katherine Hoang (11th), Adriana Morales Gonzalez (12th), Maham Sewani (11th), Marcella Stones (10th), Chris Wolff (9th), and Emily Zoorob (11th) earned membership in the Texas Region 9 Choir and advanced to the second round of auditions in early December leading to the Texas All-State Choir. Emily, a two-time All-Stater, ranked at the top of her voice part.

Out of these ten students, seven were successful at the second round of auditions and will advance to the final round in January. Congratulations to the following students (included after their name is their rank in their voice part):

Aiden Devins (2)
Aidan Fulton (7)
Clara Haymon (2)
Adriana Morales (3)
Marcella Stones (6)
Chris Wolff (4)
Emily Zoorob (1)

Awty has had similar numbers of students advance to the final audition before, but the process changed this year, making the competition harder. There were between 15-18 students in each voice part from private and public schools vying for the top eight rankings. Awty represents almost 25 percent of the students from our region who will advance to the next round.

'These students worked diligently to prepare for this audition," stated Choir Director Rob Dee. "They couldn't cram for it or fake their way through it. One portion of the audition is singing an eight measure melody by sight without ever having heard it. They are proud of their accomplishment and so am I."

We will let you know what happens at the final audition on January 12.


The Awty International School participated in the annual Gulf Coast International Dragon Boat Regatta on October 13-14. The Awty Rams Team won 3rd place among eight competitors in the Under 18 category.

Congratulations to team members Bess Baldwin (8th grade), Doreen Cai (12th), Angela Chen (11th), Colette Chen (10th), Megan Dunkin (12th), Evan Hammerstein (9th), Rick Huang (10th), Jeremy Jason (12th), Wendy Jiang (11th), Jim Ma (10th), Steph MacLean (12th), Lisa Meng (11th), Conner Mi (11th), Renee Neufer (11th), Cody Peng (12th), Jean-Luc Shimizu (10th), Connie Sun (7th), Kate Yao (8th), and Didi Zhou (10th). Many thanks to the APPA, Rams Booster Club, and all parent sponsors!



During Fall Break, four Awty students including Thomas Bunch (Tle), Sofia Doroshenko (11th grade), Emily Mei (3rd), and Zhiling Zhang (6th) performed on the piano in concert on stage at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City on October 6. They performed as part of a group of elite students of the International Music Academy based in Houston.


Their well-received performances were the culmination of a long road of hard work and dedication, which consisted of hours of practice, numerous recitals and rehearsals, the frustration and joy of conquering yet another difficult passage, and a genuine and abiding love for music. Each played the magnificent Steinway concert grand piano impeccably on the brightly lit stage in the elegant Weill Recital Hall. Performing in such a storied venue, under sparkling crystal chandeliers and before over 250 friends, family members, and fans, requires great concentration and skill few ever achieve. Each of these students performed flawlessly, with poise and professionalism. Those in attendance at the sold-out event expressed their appreciation of their talent with a thunderous standing ovation.

Since Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, it has been a rite of passage and a symbol of professional arrival for every great musician from around the world who has performed at this iconic venue. Walking the same hallways, experiencing the same pre-performance anxiety, and bathing in the same applause as past luminaries, these young performers surely absorbed a sense of the history that surrounded and embraced them. Awty's students were in awe of the experience and they walked away with not only a sense of pride, but they were also humbled to have had the opportunity to play in such a prestigious venue and become a part of Carnegie Hall's history. There's no doubt this experience will stay with these students (and their families) for the rest of their lives. A child who plays Carnegie Hall will never be the same!

Congratulations to you all on this remarkable achievement!



On September 15, Awty hosted its annual chess tournament, which attracted 228 players from as far away as Louisiana.

Twenty Awty students participated across various divisions, and our students finished strongly, with our Middle School and Upper School teams both winning first place. Individual results included the following top ten finishes:

Yian Wong (Tied for 2nd)
Stephen Wells (Tied for 2nd)
Elliott Lazar (Tied for 2nd)
Jose Mendoza (Tied for 6th)
Sarah Laskin (Tied for 8th)
Jacob Berg (9th)
Mihir Kumashi (Tied for 10th)

Max Grinstein (1st)
Carter Cunningham (Tied for 2nd)
Larkin Helman (Tied for 2nd)
Jose Gallo (4th)
Benjamin Azencott (Tied for 7th)
Amine Jokhan (Tied for 7th)
Finnian Helman (Tied for 7th)

Ridyansh Agrawal (Tied for 6th)

Click here for the full tournament results.

5th grade choir sings national anthem at texans game

On August 30, Awty's talented 5th grade/CM2 choir, under the direction of Lori Wagner, had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem of the United States at the Houston Texans game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Check out the official video of the choir performing "The Star-Spangled Banner"...



Awtybots, Awty's robotics team (Team #5829), had quite the adventurous weekend in late August, winning the Championship at the Red Stick Rumble in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the team's first-ever win!


The team left Awty early on a Friday afternoon for the robotics tournament in Baton Rouge. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the team did not arrive to the hotel for the night until 10:30 p.m. (generally a four-hour trip). It was a challenging beginning to the weekend, but everyone on the team was looking forward to the competition the next day.

To add to the challenge, Jacob Berg, the main robot driver for Awtybots, had to take the SAT in Baton Rouge first before he could join the team at the competition. Joe Li stepped in as the driver for the qualifying matches, and did a great job keeping the team competitive and getting them to the Alliance selection for the elimination bracket. Once Jacob returned after the SAT testing, he took over as driver. The selection process was stressful, but eventually the team was chosen as the backup robot for the #1 seeded alliance.

"I believe our individual performance in the qualifying matches warranted an earlier selection," stated Coach Truong, "but our record and being unknown by the Louisiana teams hurt that opportunity."

It is important to note that when a team is selected as a backup robot during a competition, they must always be ready to be thrown into action in case another robot fails. Immediately, this very situation happened just before the first quarterfinal match when the alliance captain broke. Awty's team substituted in for the match and helped win it handily. Awty's team was so impressive that the Alliance captains, having been repaired, kept them in the matches for the remainder of the bracket. Backup robots no more, the Awty team was frantically maintaining their robot in between matches. Jacob did a tremendous job with his role and continued to impress his teammates through the eliminations.

Each round was a best of three and Awty won the 1 vs. 8 match easily. The semifinal match was a bit more challenging for the team and they ended up going to the third match, but managed to clinch it with a stellar robot lift at the end. In the finals, Awty's team continued to dominate and won in two games, clinching the Red Stick Rumble Championship Trophy!

This was Awtybots' first-ever win as Team 5829 in their FRC career. The team has been close several times, but it was such a thrill for everyone to be on the winning side of a competition.

Congratulations to Coach Truong and the following members of the Awtybots traveling team (in bold), as well as the other members who could not make the trip, but contributed in getting the robot into competing shape: Jacob Berg (12th grade), Alex Brown (9th), Maria Florencia Codesal (12th), Mevsim Denktas (10th), Branden Faseler (12th), Marie-Emilie Germain (12th), Sophia Hashmi (11th), Xiao (Ivy) He (12th), Katherine Hoang (11th), Rick Huang (10th), Joe Li (11th), Georgios Mikos (10th), Mary Mikos (10th), Renee Neufer (11th), Obi Nwosu (12th), Lara Roy (10th), Ashlyn Tu (11th), and Didi Zhou (10th). Way to go Awtybots!

Special thanks to our teammates Jersey Voltage (#4587 from Jersey Village), Fusion Robotics (#364 from Gulfport, MS), and Bronco Robotics (#6489 from Zachary, LA) for making such a great alliance. Everyone had a part in helping us win this tournament.


Congratulations to Awty alumnus Stuart Holden, Class of 2003! He served as the lead game analyst for FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this past summer. He had the privilege of calling the World Cup Final between France and Croatia! What an incredible accomplishment! Stuart, you make Awty proud!


This past July, Awty alumnus Jasper Barsingerhorn, Class of 2008, had the honor of representing The Netherlands after earning a spot to play on the Men’s Dutch National Team in the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championship in Israel. Forty-six countries (1,058 athletes) competed in the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships, making it the largest of all-time. The Opening Ceremony and games started on Thursday, July 12, in Netanya, Israel, and ran daily through Saturday, July 21. All teams played to a final ranking and competed in a total of six to eight matches over the ten-day competition. The Men’s Dutch National Team placed 22nd in the World Championships with a 3-4 record.

Congratulations Jasper! Way to represent Awty Alumni!



Katerina Sawyer, an aspiring saxophonist and junior at Awty, was selected to perform at the 18th World Saxophone Congress (WSC), which took place on July 10-14 in Zagreb, Croatia. Participation in the WSC, an invitation-only event, is a testament to a musician’s professionalism and talent. It is also a great opportunity to meet with top saxophone professionals from around the world.

As the only high school student chosen to participate, Katerina performed both as a soloist and as a part of the trio Saxophone Revolution at the WSC. Saxophone Revolution was formed to showcase how musical traditions and artistry passes from teacher to students. It’s a collaboration of three generations of musicians from different countries who joined together to create their own unique style. Katerina, the youngest of the group at just 17 years old, studies alto, tenor, and C-melody saxophone, as well as the clarinet. The other members of the trio include well-known professional musicians Tatyana Kazmiruk (alto saxophone) and Tatyana Klushkina (piano).

Katerina, president of Awty's Tri-M Honor Society, is a member of Awty's Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band under the direction of Jason Peguero. She also studies under the tutelage of Aaron Montes.

To watch Katerina's performance at the WSC, click here.

More About World Saxophone Congress
The WSC, held every four years, was first organized in Chicago in 1969. It has taken place in many different countries including Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, and the United States, making it truly a world event. This event is a unique opportunity for saxophone enthusiasts to meet top professional musicians, students, and amateurs, saxophonists of all styles and musical expressions ranging from classical music and jazz to ethnic and world music. To learn more about the WSC, click here.


During the week of June 18-22, six Awty Upper School students including Sebastien Chenin (12th grade), Ivy He (12th), Lauren Howe (10th), Joe Li (11th), Kaia Luik (10th), and Petros Zombanakis (12th), along with their teacher Tairong Zheng, participated in a week-long internship in the Biomaterials Lab at Rice University. This internship opportunity allowed the students to combine the knowledge they have learned in class with the modern technologies used at the collegiate level. Click here to read more about their experience.



This past June, seniors Ivy He and Doreen Cai represented the Awty Dance Ensemble at the Starquest International World Finals Dance Competition. Ivy competed individually in the advanced teen solo division and both girls competed together in the duet/trio division. These dancers won several awards including Best Costume (in both solo and duet competition), the Pretty Picture Award (duet competition), and the Technical Spectacle Award (solo competition). Both entries received top scores, ranking them at the Platinum level.


Ivy received 10th place overall in her solo division, which is a true accomplishment in that field.

Of very special note, Ivy and Doreen placed 2nd overall in their duet division! Their trophy is now on display in the Fine Arts trophy case (on the second floor in the Levant Foundation Building) for all to admire.

Bravo Ivy and Doreen!