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Singapore Exchange Students Arrive at Staples


 As the large coach bus filled with smiling faces rolled towards the entrance of the school, everyone knew that the moment had finally come.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., on Sunday, November 10, a group of 11 students from the Hwa Chong Institution in Singapore arrived at Staples High School, beginning a two-week long visit. While there was some nervousness in the air, as this is the first year for the program, there was a great deal of excitement for both the host families and in their Singaporean guests.

“I’m very excited. It’s my first time coming to America, and my first time coming out of Asia,” Wan Jie Lim, a 16-year-old Hua Chong student said.

Almost immediately, Lim said, he noticed significant differences between his home and Westport.

“In Singapore, streets are always buzzing with people,” Lim said. Although he mentioned his concern for possible culture shock, he and the others are looking forward to their visit.

Maria Zachery, World Language Department Chair, shared her excitement as well. Zachery is  coordinating the trip for Westport.

“We’ve been talking in Westport a lot about twenty-first century skills and how to become a globally competitive school,” Zachery said. “Getting to know the Singapore students and their culture will bring a lot to Staples.”

Two teachers from Hua Chong accompanied the students to America. Steven Karplus, a history teacher, said he is looking forward to the students experiencing firsthand the reality of American culture. Many of the students have come to the states with preconceptions and stereotypes of American students.

“I want them to find the difference between the U.S. and Singaporean academics. I’m looking forward to them having a culturally enriching experience,” Karplus said.

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Deanna Hartog, Sports Editor
Deanna Hartog ’16 is ready to bring her enthusiasm and energy from the stage to the newsroom. Hartog, one of the Sports Editors, has been acting since sixth grade and believes the skills she has acquired on stage will play a role in her work for Inklings. “Acting has allowed me to become a better speaker,” she said. “It really taught me that you need to think about what you say before you speak.” While Hartog is not a member of Staples Players, she has done numerous shows through community theaters and has performed at Curtain Call. She said the improvisation skills these shows have taught her will help her when she conducts interviews. “It’ll help with making people feel more comfortable,” she said. “Acting definitely helps with social skills.” This year Hartog hopes to become an involved editor, who can help her writers while managing her own articles. “I want to push myself to struggle so that I’ll work harder,” she said. “I took Intro [Journalism for Publication] last year and I just wanted to do more. I love it.”
Emma Lederer, Staff Writer
After three years of working on Inklings, Emma Lederer ’16 has found a passion for writing opinions. “I just have a lot of opinions,” she said with a laugh. She joined Inklings directly out of Intro, and was one of the only freshman in the class. “It was a little intimidating at first,” she admits, “but I learned the ropes that way.” When she’s not writing for Inklings, she can be found working on Soundings, Staples’s “kinda underrated” literary magazine. Looking forward to senior year, Lederer is most excited for the football games, even though she’s never been the biggest sports fan –– she’s excited to have school spirit going into her last year.

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