Community & Service 18 May 2020

A CIS family through and through

By CIS Communications
Photograph by Su Murphy

Choosing the right school is a major decision that many parents have to make, so what influenced the Murphy family, who have been part of our community since 2004, to trust CIS with their children’s education? We had a chat to find out more. 

Tell us a little about the Murphy family.
We are a family of 6. We (Su and Neil) are from Singapore and Ireland respectively, and we have lived in Singapore for just over 20 years. Neil is a professor in a local university (NTU). In addition to our three girls (Maya, Nadia, Lia) we also have a 5-year-old boy, Dylan. 

Who was the first child to attend CIS? When was it? 
Maya was the first to attend CIS at the Toh Tuck campus in 2004. She started out in junior kindergarten.

What made you choose CIS in the first place?
We liked the cosiness and warmth of the Toh Tuck campus and the diversity of nationalities amongst the students.

Why did you subsequently choose to send the rest of your children to CIS?
Maya’s experience at CIS was very positive, as was ours. We found the teachers to be very warm and responsive when we had questions. That was very reassuring for us as new school parents back then. The school administration in general was very family-focused.

You mentioned that your eldest Maya attended CIS in different campuses over the years, how was CIS different from back then?
Obviously CIS has grown significantly and there is a vast difference between the homely, small Toh Tuck campus and the others at Bukit Tinggi, Jurong East and the current Lakeside campus. It has grown both in student/teacher numbers and  also in terms of facilities and scale. Nonetheless, some of the original attributes that first attracted us to CIS remain; the responsiveness to parents, the warmth of many teachers, and the sense of belonging that the students clearly feel.

What is the most memorable part of being a CIS parent to date?
That would be seeing our three daughters (and hopefully our boy, when he begins school) develop in diverse ways in a safe, warm, nurturing environment over the years. We can safely say that we have never felt any anxiety of any kind sending our children to school. Our value systems have always been supplemented and enhanced by the girls’ experiences at school.

Did your children face any challenges that they managed to overcome thanks to a teacher or staff member?
Our children are very different and they each found teachers along the way who made particular efforts to make them feel comfortable and valued. The number of teachers and principals who have contributed to our daughters’ growth are too many to list but there was always someone there to step in when help was needed.

What kind of opportunities have your children had to excel at what they do best?
They have been provided with a strong education, an impressive ethical sense and a deep sense of belonging. Their numerous school trips both abroad and locally have provided them with amazing experiences outside their comfort zones. They were encouraged to explore and participate, and try and make a difference with charity groups and animal shelters during their exhibition projects. 

For cultural week during Uniting Nations, they were given various opportunities to showcase their Irish heritage for the school community with a dance. Their love for visual arts was enhanced by having their art pieces displayed in our own school gallery. Maya’s DP art was also displayed during the IN exhibition at the Australian Embassy. These are just some examples, there are plenty more.

Maya (Class of 2018): Being able to attend CIS for 14 years was such a privilege. I was not only exposed to an international community, I was also surrounded by teachers who motivated and pushed me to make the most of the resources around me – and actually enjoy it. Having the opportunity to travel to a new country for the annual excursion week also played a role in fostering my desire to go abroad for university. With experienced teachers from around the world, exposure to the global community and an abundance of academic resources, I was not only prepared for university but excited to embark on the next stage of my life. Now, I can confidently say that attending CIS and taking the IB prepared me both socially and academically for university life. 

Nadia (grade 12): CIS has given me many opportunities to expand and develop my passions, especially in my DP years. I was able to further explore my passion for environmental issues, which helped me determine my options for courses I would like to study at university. For example, my trip to Tioman during my first year of DP allowed me to see different ecosystems and their relationships with humans. CIS also nurtures my passions in subjects like environmental systems and societies as well as geography. Experiences like these are important to me because they help me develop skills that are useful for my university course of interest.   

Lia (grade 9): Throughout my years at CIS, I have discovered that the CIS community is both open-minded and diverse. This has helped me enhance my leadership skills and nurture other life skills that made me the person I am today. For example, the excursion week in Chiang Mai (Thailand) allowed me to discover new cultures, learn independence as well as how to be a global citizen. Being able to learn the language of my choice also allowed me to communicate with people in and outside school, which improved my social skills.

If a new parent were to consider CIS as one of their choices for international school, what would you tell them about CIS?
To look beyond the advertising campaigns of the more well-known schools. CIS offers what all schools should: high quality education from dedicated teachers combined with a wonderfully supportive and protective environment. It is that genuine combination that makes CIS different.

Would you choose a different school for your children if you were to do it all over again? Why?
No. In fact we hope to send our fourth child, Dylan, to CIS in the near future.