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Celebrating a 70-year Legacy and Looking to the Future
Dr. Christoph M. Ott

Dear LAS Community, It is a pleasure to share with you some of the exciting developments that are taking place on the Magic Mountain and provide you with our plans for the future. Running operations at a school as complex as ours is a true balancing act. We must take each individual into account, whether studying or working, and include this into the larger context that is LAS.

The operational departments at LAS encompass a broad variety of areas that provide support for the educational programs at the school. These departments—advancement, food services, information technology, housekeeping, facilities and construction, and marketing and admissions—are comparable to the cogwheels, gears, and motors of the Aigle-Leysin train. They are essential for the cog train to make it up the mountain but are often invisible to the passengers.

While all of our operational departments have many ongoing improvements underway that will impact the school for years to come, I am most excited about the changes which took place this past summer, which you can read in more detail on page 10.

Seventy years ago, Sigrid Ott started her first summer camp, the International Ranger Camps, while her husband, Fred, was working for the US Air Force, planning and opening schools for military personnel. LAS was founded to increase international cooperation and, thus, is driven by the same ideals of the Ranger Camps that began in 1949. The ideals of compassion, responsibility, and innovation were the pertinent values that directed the school, with the intention of making the world a more open, friendly, and tolerant place in the wake of the Second World War. I am thrilled to report that after 70 years of summer programs and nearly 60 years of school later these ideals and values remain our guiding light.

Since 2018, and in preparation of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the International Ranger Camps, a complete redesign of our summer program has taken place. We now have two summer programs running concurrently: The first, three two-week LAS summer sessions structured around three pillars: Language, Academics, and Sports. Second is the LAS summer edge program, a selective three-week program focused on personal development based on the LAS values of innovation, compassion, and responsibility.

This past summer we celebrated our legacy and offered special events and programs to honor the anniversary year of the International Ranger Camps. One of the highlights was a joint production between the theater, videography, and music clubs resulting in an original film featuring the origins of the International Ranger Camps. More information on the program and celebrations can be found at www.las.ch/summer. 

This summer, a major step in our Campus Master Plan was completed, namely the move of the youngest boys from the Eden dorm to the fullyrenovated Esplanade building. The LAS Middle School will have its own campus, allowing for a stronger alignment between the academic programs (Middle School, Preparatory Years, and Diploma Years) and their respective residential life programs. The Middle School will be mainly concentrated in Beau Réveil and Esplanade, while the Preparatory Years will be focused in Savoy and Beau Site. Finally, the Diploma Years will continue to be located on the Belle Époque Campus.

With the completion of all current campus projects, LAS will then be able to focus on building the new Performing Arts & Learning Center to be located just below Belle Époque and beside the church.

Another major development is in the area of Information Technology with the introduction of state-of-the-art software packages carefully chosen to meet our school’s evolving needs. To determine ideal systems, each area of the school has gone through an in-depth analysis of requirement followed by a selection and configuration phase. Currently the last areas affected by this process are finances, human resources, and LAS Summer in Switzerland.

Fabrice Lemesle, who started as executive chef of our Food Services department in 2016, has continued to impress students, staff, and parents with high-quality meals and banquets. His latest project is the creation of a teaching kitchen in the Savoy dining room. This ‘Food for Thought’ kitchen will allow for food education and offer students an opportunity to better understand nutrition, health, and food preparation.

"Sutha and Jeyavathani Ponnuthurai started working at LAS in the Food Services department before the fall of the Berlin wall and his wife Jeya joined him the same year as the Olympic games in Barcelona." 

After almost 30 years of working for the LAS community in the Food Services department, Sutha and Jeyavathani Ponnuthurai have decided to pursue new goals. Sutha started working at LAS before the fall of the Berlin wall and his wife Jeya joined him the same year as the Olympic Games in Barcelona. On Friday, March 22, we hosted a celebration to honor their legacy with attendance from all departments of the school and heartwarming speeches by several members of our staff.

All the improvements above highlight how dynamic and forward-looking your school is. We strive to apply and live our mission statement each and every day. Many of the ideas above have been brought to us by LAS supporters around the world, so please feel free to reach out to us and share your thoughts. 

Kind regards from the Magic Mountain,

Christoph M. Ott

 

  • Panorama 2019