Family is very important at LAS and is central to the school’s philosophy and foundation. We have had the privilege of meeting you and your family. Now it is our pleasure to introduce you to our Development family.
Benjamin M. Smith
Director of Development
Benjamin joined LAS in August 2011. He is an experienced development professional with a background in alumni relations, annual giving and major gifts fundraising in U.S. college and university settings. Prior to entering the development profession, he was educated and employed as in attorney in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally from New Hampshire, Benjamin feels right at home in the mountain culture of Leysin.
Melati Cattanach ’01
Alumni Relations Coordinator & Admissions Associate
Melati graduated from LAS in 2001 after spending her childhood in 14 different countries. After gaining a degree and work experience in the hospitality management and tourism industry, she returned to LAS to work in admissions. Since her return, she has added alumni relations work to her responsibilities and helps LAS reconnect with our alumni across the globe. Melati’s brother Olivier also graduated from LAS.
Alumni Reunion Coordinator
Fred has been part of LAS since 1986. During his time at LAS, he has taught French, English, mathematics, geography, history, music, and Theory of Knowledge (TOK). He has served as the senior boys dorm head and tutor of multiple subjects for many years. Since stepping away from the classroom, he has assisted in the effort to engage alumni worldwide. Fred is viewed as an institution of his own in the eyes of many alumni.
Mr. Sharp, you were a teacher and Dorm Head at LAS for 23 years. Why do you think you stayed at LAS for so long?
The main reason, without doubt has been the flexibility within the system. By and large, Dorm Heads and Teachers were trusted to get on with their jobs without any ‘micro-management’ from the Administration. Exam results, dorm discipline, etc. were carefully checked from time to time, but if all was progressing well we were encouraged to ‘Continue the good work.’ This kind of trust inspired teachers and Dorm Heads to be creative and to develop a sense of loyalty to the job. Much of the early progress in the school – even the idea of having a ‘No Smoking’ policy was faculty-inspired. This sense of being closely involved with the school’s policies, its curriculum and its programs gave me, at least, the feeling that I was making a difference and making a contribution to the school’s development.
What do you think makes LAS unique?
There are so many things. Many schools have excellent facilities and fine teaching staff and high academic achievement, but where I think LAS is unrivalled is in its travel programs. When the school was much smaller, we had many scheduled excursions: the Swiss Cultural, the European Cultural, the Senior Trip, the Family trips, but in addition to this almost every weekend I would be able to take a school minibus and drive students to Les Pleiades or Saas Fe for skiing, Geneva for a play, Montreux for a movie, Lausanne for a concert in the cathedral, Milan or Geneva for a weekend, Martigny for an art exhibition, to Modena to visit the Ferrari factory and museum. These trips were ‘requested’ by the students and facilitated by the faculty. Many were quite impromptu. The only trip in 20-odd years that I can remember not being allowed was a trip to Turin to see the Turin shroud. I do not recall the reason. I truly believe that the social and educational benefits of so many opportunities to travel are incalculable. Students often come to realize these benefits much, much later, but realize them they do. It is in this intangible area of ‘broadening the mind’ that LAS is possibly unique. In more recent times, the uniqueness lies in the 50+ nationalities that constitute our student body. Our community has a remarkable record in bringing together young men and women of seemingly irreconcilable differences of background, race, religion, culture, etc. International Day proves again and again that there is strong unity in our diversity. – a kind of united Nations without the posturing, the vested interest and the vetoes!
Do you have any special memories of LAS?
It is impossible to pick out one! My first unforgettable moment was when we received the results of our first batch of IB students. Everyone passed in every subject! Student and faculty put in so many extra hours of work that year. Also, I shall never forget producing all of the FAWLTY TOWERS episodes when I taught drama. The incomparable Marco Terzini ’93 playing Manuel was truly memorable. But, truly, the really meaningful memories are of the meetings I have had with former students, either singly or at a reunion. It is always a joy to learn that the truly gifted individuals have lived up to their promise, but, when the so-called ‘no-hopers’ succeed – and there are dozens and dozens of them who are doing superbly well now – that arouses a special sense of satisfaction. And they all – without exception – attribute at least some part of their success to their time at LAS. The number of alumni who make a nostalgic visit back to the Magic Mountain, sometimes 20 years after their graduation, is testament to that.