AISHK 25th Anniversary Throwback: A Tribute to the Parent Community

Mothers’ Club volunteers selling handmade goods for Mother’s Day in 1998

Parents have always played a vital role in the AISHK community supporting staff, students and fellow parents. In the early days of the school’s development, parents volunteered through the Parent Association (PA) and Mothers’ Club (both later merged into the PA in 1998) and/or  the Tuckshop.

They were also there to lend a hand when it came to setting up the school’s first library, participating in swimming lessons, excursions, school camps, and reading support, and helping to run a perceptual motor program (PMP) for the infant department. We also can’t forget the countless hours that the ‘Working Bees’ (Board Members, staff, students and parents) devoted to help paint and/or renovate classrooms to make them welcoming environments each time the school moved sites.

The late Brian Davies (Founding Principal, 1994-1995), Andrew Bruce (PA President, 995) and the late Philip Day (AIS Foundation Limited Chairman, 1995-1998) refurbishing the Gun Club School in 1995

In the early days and with the support of the Mothers’ Club, the PA were more involved in the bigger events (some of which we are familiar with today) which were more focused on fundraising from Welcome Barbeques, Wine and Art Night and School Fetes.

Former Mothers’ Club President (1997) and Tuckshop Co-ordinator (1996-2001), Tracey Manning, reflects on what the Mothers’ Club and Tuckshop were like back in the day.

“Our main role was to support the school with whatever they needed – they had a Sports Day and wanted a Sausage Sizzle, we ran it; they had a special visitor coming and wanted some catering organised, we did it. Most of our focus was on student events at school. We also did have a fundraising element – a lot of that was around the generosity of parents donating what was needed eg. supplies to make the goods the students bought at the Mother’s Day stall were donated and made by parents.

“My sister, Catrina and I approached Brian Davies to start a Tuckshop, based on her experiences in Australia from her son’s previous school. What Aussie school doesn’t have a Tuckshop?! We operated only three days a week. We modelled the Tuckshop on typical items like meat pies, sausage rolls, finger buns, lamingtons, apple pies (there was a very good bakery who sold authentic Aussie items), egg and lettuce rolls, vegemite sandwiches, fruit salad cups, muffins and cookies, chocolate milk. We had ‘donut Wednesdays’ (very popular) and we made and sold ‘Cool Cups’ which were frozen fruit juice in paper cups – which sold very quickly, the kids loved them. Where we could we bought Australian products – kept it in the family!”

Lita Ramsay, the Mothers’ Club President in 1998, fondly remembers her time volunteering with the school.

“I loved Mother’s Club. Back then the school community was small and there wasn’t a lot of funding that the school could spare, so Mother’s Club organised a lot of small fundraisers to help with little jobs that the school needed (such as waterproofing the school walls, buying sporting equipment, etc.). One of my favourite memories was the Easter Parade when the Easter Bunny arrived by helicopter, complete with baskets of chocolate eggs.  Another was the Mother’s Day Stall, we (parents) would make or donate items to the stall and before Mother’s Day, the students could buy a little gift for their mother. It was such a joy to watch the way the children take the time and care to buy a gift.

Lita Ramsay and Gaye McCarthy volunteering in the school Tuckshop at Kowloon Tong in 1998

“I also believe the Mother’s Club played an important role in welcoming and supporting a lot of parents who were new to Hong Kong and helping them to settle in and meet other people in the school community by hosting coffee mornings. I have always believed that it is important to engage and be part of school community because schools make up a large part of our children’s lives as they journey towards adulthood, and both parents and educators play major roles in raising well-rounded and successful adults. Looking back, I have very fond memories of being part of the Australian School community. Not only was it a lot of fun (ok, sometimes it was stressful!!) but I learnt so much and made lifelong friendships.”

Irene Tse (pictured in the first photo), who was a class mum for a couple of years and volunteered in the Tuckshop, and currently still works with AISHK as Library Assistant, shares her connection with the school.

“I started volunteering with the school library in 2000 and switched to working full time in 2005. I wanted to volunteer with the library because I was looking for resources which could be beneficial to my son’s education at AISHK. I was able to explore rich resources for AISHK and share them with students and parents. We enrolled Quinton at AISHK because we wanted him to enjoy the education starting from the early days of Prep year. We knew that AISHK offered an all rounded education and learning environment that our son would enjoy. We also discovered that he grew up at AISHK with many good friends, fond memories, and without much pressure. I’m proud of being part of the library and I have a high appreciation of the school.”

Parent Association President Mothers’ Club President Tuckshop Co-ordinator
1995 Andrew Bruce Leonie Shirley
1996 Julie Waters Jacky Klinkhamer Tracey Manning
1997 Gavin Tyndale Tracey Manning Tracey Manning
1998 Jennifer Taylor Lita Ramsay Tracey Manning
1999 Peter Fredericks Tracey Manning
2000 Warren Irvine Tracey Manning
2001 Dennis Oldfield Tracey Manning
2002 Dennis Oldfield and Bruce Benjamin
2003 Bruce Benjamin
2004 Gavin Haslemore
2005 Gavin Haslemore
2006 Andrew McKenzie
2007 Jane McKee
2008  Margaret Zaidan
2009  Sue Burgess
2010  Karen Ryan / Joanna Chin
2011  Joanne Sanger
2012  Joanne Sanger
2013  Ian Carroll
2014  Ian Carroll
2015  Dominic Gyngell
2016  Lisa Milliner / Lauren Mitchell
2017  Lisa Milliner / Lauren Mitchell
2018  Veronica Monaci
2019  Veronica Monaci
2020  Joanna Hartnett

The role of the Parent Association today holds the same core values as it has for 25 Years! The AISHK Parent Association is here to:

  • Welcome and Support You | The PA promotes close cooperation between the School and parent body, and ensuring a welcoming support network for both new and current parents.
  • Make a Difference | Share your skills and resources to enhance the learning and recreational environment of our students through fund-raising.
  • Connect | Getting involved with the PA is a great way to meet fellow parents and make lasting friendships within the community.
  • Celebrate Community | The PA work as a team with the School to coordinate AISHK’s dynamic community events.
  • Collaborate and Communicate | The PA works closely with the AISHK Development Office to promote PA activities through the School’s official platforms.

Below are some reflections from the current PA Executive.

Why did you decide to take part as a member of the AISHK PA?
Joanna Hartnett (President): I wanted to share my skills and to be more involved in our school community, uniting families from diverse backgrounds as a leading international school. It is a pleasure to participate in school activities and events which highlight our multiculturalism whilst still incorporating Australian core values.

Kwai Lee (Co-Vice President, New Parent Coordinator): To develop community spirit within the school and to lead by example.

Claire Doherty (Vice President, Secretary): To be more involved in the AISHK community and give back to the school which has given so much to us, especially during our time transitioning to Hong Kong and embracing a new culture.

What has been your involvement with the school over the years?
Yvonne Gibson (Co-Vice President, New Parent Coordinator): The school has offered many ways for me as a parent to be involved, including providing parent help in early childhood classes, supporting sporting teams, hosting visiting students from overseas, volunteering at the school BBQs and even playing in the school orchestra!

What is your fondest memory of the school?
The School Fair!

Joanna: Every assembly and performance, sports carnival and social event – these are all significant in reflecting the value of achievement of AISHK.

How would you describe the parent community at AISHK?
Yvonne: It’s a force to be reckoned with! The parent community at AISHK is very active, interested in the community and committed to providing the best for the students.

Joanna: Given were are in a global city like Hong Kong, AISHK has a diverse community with many cultures heritages, of which we are all respectful.

Claire: A group of like-minded parents with such drive and enthusiasm to ensure seamless integration of the school as an institution, and families to create a unique and caring community.

What do you think sets AISHK apart from other schools?
Yvonne: I have always admired the way that the school instills in the students a very high level of respect for each other and all school staff. I also believe that the camaraderie that the teachers encourage within the classroom has a wonderful effect on student behaviour and happiness.

Joanna: It has a unique balance of Eastern and Western culture while providing an Australian and international educational standard. AISHK provides an opportunity for students to excel in every way, from academics to sports and performing arts. AISHK develops students with a resilient attitude and instills students with self-confidence in their talents.

Kwai: AISHK is multicultural, down-to-earth school, with approachable leaders and a great school and management culture.

Claire: We put the kids first.

The 2020 AISHK PA Executive and General Committee