Visiting Fulbright scholar Maneesha Bhugwansing

Today, Friday May 25th 2018, we were visited by American Fulbright scholar Maneesha Bhugwansing. Maneesha comes from New York City. She completed her bachelor’s degree in International Business at Baruch College, then worked as a program specialist for a fellowship program for students going to graduate school in the US.

She is currently at Maastricht University, working on her Master’s Degree in Economics and hopes to find a job once she has done her final exams. Coming from an immigrant community in New York, and studying abroad and travelling throughout college, she learned a lot about different cultures (Surinam, Indian, Chinese, Spanish and now Dutch), and she came to give a talk about aspects of American lifestyle or living and studying in a new country.

She talked to a number of our 3rd- and 4th-year bilingual and Business English groups and started off each talk by focussing on the diversity of the USA. Being the internationally-oriented student she is, she was able to highlight quite a number of aspects of living in different cultures one has to be aware of when travelling, working and living abroad.

Once her talk got under way, students were encouraged to come up with questions and many of our students did. Some focussed on asking Maneesha about life in New York, others wanted to know more about (American-style) food, TV, and even politics was touched upon.

For or 4th-year students Maneesha explained one or two things about the Fulbright Scholarship programme (that enables foreign students to study in America and vice versa) clearly raising in interest in some students’ minds. So who knows …

We thank Maneesha (light-blue blouse, long white sleeves in the middle below) for having been with us today and all our students for being such an attentive audience and hope to welcome another Fulbright visitor again next year. 

(Regional) Junior Speaking Contest 2018

After a number of school rounds at Da Vinci College we ended up with a number 1 and a runner-up to represent our school at the Regional Junior Speaking Contest held yesterday (Tuesday 22nd May 2018) in Alkmaar.

With so many candidates in our own school (our own contest was held in all 2 tto and 3 tto classes) it wasn’t always easy to decide who were better than others. Fortunately, a highly skilled and experienced jury helped us out and in the end it was decided that Angelina Nassif (3S) would be the lucky student who was to take it upon her to snatch the regional trophy away from the competitors. (With Marit Kuyper as a very good second.)

These competitors were the winners of the tto-schools that are part of the regional tto network of schools and this year’s final took us to the Willem Blaeu College in Alkmaar.

The theme throughout was Living your fantasy and maybe in a way that’s exactly what some of the candidates did – giving a speech on that topic itself could already be considered as fulfilling a dream.

Anyroad – we’ll keep you in suspense no longer – this year’s winner was one of the other candidates – Celine from the Jac P. Thijsse College in Castricum (2nd left, below) , BUT we can proudly announce right here and now that our Angelina (2nd right, below) did very well indeed and came in second place! Well done, Angelina. 

The outgoing exchange to Cerdanyola (Sp) – 4Vib


Having received our Spanish guests in our school (and country) in the week of Monday 19th March 2018, most of our 4Vib students (and a few others) were now up for the trip to Catalunya.

So, last Monday, 16th April 2018, they all gathered at the school for the bus trip to the airport and the mood can definitely be called a festive one before they embarked at Zestienhoven Airport in Rotterdam (see picture on the left).


On their first (full) day in Catalunya they visited the nearby town of Terrassa and were guided round the Museum of Science and Industry there and spent the rest of the day exploring the old town itself by means of a treasure hunt.

Today, the Wednesday, was their first of two days in Barcelona itself and the day included a guided tour of the old centre of town, the Barri Gòtic, with our guide Aleksandra on the left in the picture.

Judging by the last picture the weather is no disappointment either so we can expect more pictures with smiling faces. We hope they all have a good time in Spain and wish them a safe journey back home too.

The outgoing exchange to Arras (Fr) – 3tto ath Update!

Having received our French guests in our school (and country) in the week of Monday 12th March 2018, our 3tto ath students were now up for the trip to France.

So, last Monday, 16th April 2018, they all gathered at the school for the bus trip there. Their first day there was already a kind of highlight of the trip judging by the group photograph taken at the steps of the famous Eiffel Tower.

And, although a busy programme is awaiting them, judging by the pictures they have sent in so far they are also enjoying themselves in the sunshine a lot …

… in spite of the sometimes hazardous problem-solving situations they have to face, such as crossing the road while eating an icecream.





Hope they enjoy their stay as much as they seem to be doing in these pictures and wish them a safe journey back. 




Some comments of our students about the trip:

This is my first exchange, so I was quite nervous about sleeping in an unknown environment on my own. Luckily my host family was really nice and I felt at home quickly, even though it did bother me that they didn’t speak English very well. The activities were in my opinion much fun to do and to participate in. The weather was amazing and I loved the fact that we were taught about the history about World War one, because I find it a very interesting subject. Overall we had a fantastic week and I’d love to do such a thing again.





L’échange est un succès. Mardi nous sommes allés à Paris et c’était une belle ville avec de beaux bâtiment s. Mercredi nous sommes allés à Lille, une ville française typique. Il a fait beau. Jeudi était un jour varié. Nous avons eu du temps libre à Arras et nous sommes allés au Musée de la Mine. Maintenant c’est vendredi et j’ai eu une bonne semaine avec de beaux souvenirs. Nous pensons que l’échange avec la France à Arras c’est très bien passé. Nous pensons que la diversité des différentes villes c’est très beau. Ce que nous avons préféré c’est la ville d’Ypres parce que la ville a une Histoire importante.


De uitwisselingsweek in Frankrijk was erg leuk en vooral heel gezellig. Het slapen bij de Franse gezinnen zorgde ervoor dat je duidelijk het verschil kon zien met hoe het thuis in Nederland is. Het hoogtepunt van de week was natuurlijk Parijs. Er was zoveel te zien en te doen, we hebben er allemaal van genoten. Lille was na Parijs het leukste, het is een hele mooie stad en het was lekker weer. Iedereen heeft een super leuke week gehad en we gaan het zeker missen.

Wij vonden het een hele leuke week ! Het is leuk om kinderen van ongeveer jouw leeftijd te ontmoeten en om zo te zien wat verschillend tussen ons is. De activiteiten die we deden waren ook mega leuk, met natuurlijk als hoogtepunt Parijs!

Ik vond het een hele leuke herinnering om met mensen uit te wisselen maar ik weet niet of ik het uit mezelf nog een keer zou doen, misschien wel. Ik vond het heel interessant om in het leven van iemand mee te doen al is het soms wel apart omdat verschillende landen en mensen hele andere levens en regels hebben. Ook vond ik het heeeeeel leuk om naar Parijs te gaan. En in Noord Frankrijk hebben ze hele leuke winkels heb ik ontdekt.



French visitors 3ttoath

And while our 3ttohavo students are enjoying Copenhagen we have French visitors staying with our 3rd-year ttoath students. They have already enjoyed the usual highlights of any trip to our market town of Purmerend, guided by our own students; a visit to the Zaanse Schans was a bit wet and windy; they have taken part in a sports session run by our PE Department and they have had a ‘pizza party’ meal in school. Yesterday, they went to see Edam and Hoorn, where they were taken onto a tour of the past in the Westfrisian Museum and on a tour of the city. Today they are exploring Amsterdam and tomorrow they will be returning home already. We hope they will have enjoyed their stay here and our students are looking forward to visiting them later this year.

3ttohavo in Copenhagen

Judging by the messages we get from Copenhagen, Denmark, our 3rd-year tto havo-students are having a good time there. Equipped with their orange T-shirts they flew all the way there, to enjoy a city tour on their first day. Europe’s biggest Aquarium was visited (wonderful picture) and it snowed when they went to see the famous Little Mermaid statue. More activities are part of the programme this week – an update may follow (or not!).

English teacher trainees

This year we had two teacher trainees from Durham University in England in our school,

Lisa Peacock for Geography and Alex Corps for History. The aim of their stay here was twofold: first of all, they had to continue their teacher training here; and, secondly, we could make use of them, to put it bluntly, in our Bilingual (TTO) Department by involving them in as many events as possible, including observing and commenting on our bilingual teachers’ (English) language skills.

Both were guided in the teaching process by their respective departments and we thank those colleagues involved in doing so. Quite a strenuous task, judging by the picture of one of them, below. Outside their subject lessons they filled empty slots in their timetable to visit other classes and lessons. 

At school they had to get used to the way we have all kinds of breaks (for tea, coffee, lunch, snacks). They had to get used to the every-day-changing timetables we seem to have all year round. And they had to get used to the slightly different relationship between students and teachers here as compared with the probably more hierarchical and authoritarian way of providing education in their home country.

Apart from that, both students had ample opportunity to get stuck into the Dutch way of life. To start with, they were accommodated in and with some of colleagues’ homes and families (for which many thanks again) and in their spare time they explored as much of our culture as possible, sometimes even including nightly adventures!

We wish both Lisa and Alex all the best, first of all in finishing their courses but also as wonderful, young people with a passion for teaching.


Little Victorians were here again

Yes, they were here again – the Phileas Fogg Theatre Company with their Little Victorians performance for our 1st-year tto-students.

We had three evenings of top entertainment, superbly guided by our actors Melanie and Kyle. Every night our groups were split up in two, rehearsed their side of the story and then had to bring the two parts together in a historically relevant short play about little children’s lives in Victorian times in England – a sometimes gruelling story, presented by our students in a lively and at times comic way. We do have some real talents here at Da Vinci! We thank all our students present for taking part and enthusiastically joining in and hope our future students will have as much fun as you did.

Thanks to all those turning up (students, their families, colleagues) and especially to those involved in preparing, organising, guiding, steering and cleaning up – everything went very smoothly with the exception of our fire alarm going off one evening because of the smoke machine used at the end of the play – all in a day’s fun! 


Drama for 2tto havo

Although there was no possibility this year to enter into the national Junior Drama Contest for tto students, our 2nd-year tto havo students were the first this year to work on their drama skills.

In a series of three workshops they were given some basic drama training by former and current students of our school, some of whom took part in the annual school musical in previous years.

In the course of the three DiMi-sessions students had to come up with their own ideas for short scenes and in the third and last session each group had to perform so that all the others could judge each scene on its merit.

As the props on stage were the same for every group our students had to rely on their acting skills to make a difference, and some did more so than others but at least everyone took part and had a bit of a taste of what acting can be like.
Later on in the year our 3rd-formers will go through the same routine and let’s end by saying that next year we hope to be able to join in the national junior drama contest again for tto schools in The Netherlands.

Thanks go out here to Lisa, Nitin and Joey as well as to the accompanying teachers.

PSG, Da Vinci College, English Department, bos, January 2018

High Tea & Pub Quiz 2017

High Tea & Pub Quiz 2017

Last Friday, 24th November 2017, our Bilingual Department held their annual High Tea & Pub Quiz. From five o’clock onwards our auditorium was open for our 1st-year students and their families to bring in the wonderful High Tea dishes they had prepared at home (or smuggled in from elsewhere). Not only were they wonderful to look at, they were also delicious to eat! Thanks to all concerned.As we were expecting over 250 people for this evening we were very lucky to have a number of very experienced (as well as inexperienced) colleagues present to help us set things up and carry out all the necessary activities to make the afternoon and evening possible. Just to mention a few of them (at the risk of offending those who feel left out): our caretakers for providing tea, coffee, soft drinks and cutlery; Mrs Oosterwijk for her selection of tablecloths, Mr Roosingh for being an expert hander-out of plates and a master in crowd control, various other colleagues, some of them tutors of our 1st-year students, for mental as well as physical support, Mr Lucking for shooting the piccies, Mrs Van Rooij for compiling this year’s pub quiz, and a special mention for our kitchen team: Mr Van Diepen (who, judging by the looks of the picture had a great night!) and Mr Dekker (also for technical support).

After all the food had been laid out it was time to dig in. In a totally random order (!) all five 1st-year tto classes (and their families) were called to the main table in order to get stuck in. And, once again, we are pleased we can say that at the end of the High Tea there was hardly any food left – always a good sign of appreciation! Once again, a round of applause for all the chefs involved.

And then, after everything had been cleared quickly, it was time for the renowned Pub Quiz. Nervously waiting for instructions on what to do and how to win, everyone sat down in groups of between 2 and 30, I think, and after some very tense moments the time was there and yours truly took it upon him to present the first round of questions, then alternating with Mrs van Rooij for the presentation part. This year’s themes were: General knowledge, Music & Film, Geography, and Arts and to give you some idea of the level of difficulty of the questions presented we have copied a few below, with the answers in them:

The Winners

Of course, we needed a winner again this year. But lo and behold: “and then there were three” (Bonus points if you know where these words come from.) with an equal number of points. Unfortunately, one of these had to be taken out of the competition (disqualified) by the jury afterwards because of the strictly forbidden use of the mobile phones, so this year’s winners are …

Before announcing them (this is what people do at award ceremonies – increase the tension …) we would like to say thank you to all participants and hope to see you all at school again some time this year (or the next, or the one after, and so on).

Out of the 33 answer sheets that were handed in:

10 scored 20 points and higher

8 scored between 25 and 29½

7 scored between 20 and 24½

and 8 scored below 20.

Well done all. It is, after all, more important to take part than to win – something we share with the Olympics! And the three winners were:

In equal place with 35 points each:        Team Marit and The Leonardos

In third place with 34 points:                   Girls + One Mum

PSG, Da Vinci College, English Department, bos/lckn, November 2017

PS No correspondence as to the outcome of this quiz will be taken into consideration (most certainly not any of disqualified contestants).