June 2016
A Periodic Publication



Alumni Office Message

Welcome to the VIS alumni newsletter, a periodic publication.  You are receiving this newsletter because you regsitered on our Alumni Network.  This is our attempt to share information about the school and about your fellow alumni.  It is also a venue to celebrate alumni successes, notify you about events, and assist with alumni networking.  If you have any questions or annoucements, please email them to alumni@vis.ac.at.

We'd also like to share that Susan Wolfe who has been our Development Officer for the last four years and who is responsible for alumni relations, will be returning the the United States with her family this summer.  We wish her the best and thank her for all she has done for VIS.  Recruitment for her position will start shortly and we expect to have someone in place towards the beginning of the 2016/17 school year.

School News



Both IB and CIS accreditation teams visited us this year. We had three-days of fruitful conversations about our programmes and suggestions as far as moving forward. It was gratifying to hear our visitors recognise the considerable work that we have collectively engaged in since the last visit. The oral feedback that we received was very fair, accurate and constructive in terms of the journey ahead of us.

Austrian Subsidy

The subsidy agreement with the Austrian government continues to move through the official channels and is currently sitting with Parliament for approval. We are hopeful this agreement will finally be resolved by mid-summer.

Building Contract

We are proud to announce that the school has secured a long-term lease on the property and building for the next thirty years. This is the culmination of many years of negotiations with the city of Vienna. This affords the school the opportunity and challenge to renovate a 32 year old building. Discussions are underway, including the consideration of library renovations.

Class of 2016

In June, we graduated the largest class ever of 141 students from VIS. The ceremony was spectacular and the evening ball was held at the Vienna Rathaus. More than 600 students, faculty, parents and friends joined in the festivities for the weekend. We wish our G12 graduates all the best as they move onto university life and other opportunities.


By this time next year, we hope to be on our way to becoming an Eco-school. Our aim is to raise the level of students' understanding and awareness of sustainability in different areas of our school, in order to change attitudes and create environmentally aware global citizens. The two themes that we will focus on are:1) plastic and paper recycling and 2) developing outdoor school learning areas. Click here to learn more about Eco-Schools.

Innovations Launch

This semester, we saw the successful opening of our Innovation and Design Centre. More than 50 students gave up their evening to showcase their classroom activities. These young designers exhibited works including sustainable architectural designs, robotics, CAD/CAM, game programming and electronics to approximately 200 parents.

We also took the opportunity to launch our Formula One in Schools bid for the International Technology Challenge. Toto Wolff (Executive Director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team) joined our team on stage to host a Q&A session on the design of model and real-world racing cars. Toto generously gave of his time and auctioned off a Mercedes cap signed by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

We were very pleased to see a significant response from parents turning out to support our students in celebrating their success across the many areas of design that were featured.

Leaving Faculty

As with every year, we have to say goodbye to leaving faculty, some who have been with us twenty years and MORE:
  • Herb Holzinger, Secondary Art Teacher (38 years)
  • Colin Campbell, Secondary English Teacher (32 years)
  • Christine Lendorfer, Primary German Teacher (27 years)
  • David Ford, Secondary Science Teacher (25 years)
  • Karl Pamminger, Primary PE Teacher (24 years)
  • Maureen Campbell, Primary ESL Teacher (23 years)
  • Troy Miller, Primary School Teacher (20 years)

Some leavers (L-R): Claude Scholik, Colin Campbell, Gillian Halfpenny, Christine Lendorfer, Herb Holzinger, Maureen Campbell and Karl Pamminger

There are others that are leaving as well and we wish them all the best. A few wanted to share some parting words:

Christine Lendorfer

Almost my entire professional life I was privileged to spend at VIS…privileged, because I cannot think of a better place to work at. What I loved most at VIS was the opportunity to teach not only German, but also to shape little minds with a sense of responsibility for taking action by helping the needy. Who, if not we, could change the injustice in this world? When, if not now? The necessity to share in a global sense was my major message to young children, as this gave them and me a sense of purpose in life.

Maher to me is more than a charity in India, Maher is our chance at VIS to make a real, tangible impact in the lives and fates of children in this world. Some of you might have been in my German class in Primary School, and I hope you not only remember, how to communicate in German or how to make Palatschinken, but also the satisfying feeling after a book sale, choir concert, toy sale or bake sale for the children of Maher, knowing you have done something for the less privileged children in the world.

More so I wish you have continued to share and have found an organization you trust to do something against injustice and poverty.

Maureen Campbell

Thank you to all the students, parents and staff who have made my years at VIS such a wonderful experience! The highlights include accompanying David Steele's ESL trips to York, where we introduced our students to the wonders of British culture and gave them an insight into school life at Terrington House Boarding School. Also starting up and running the Ski Team with Dave Hepworth in 1997 and taking it forward to WIN the Heinrich Harrer Cup in 2003, encouraging and supporting our skiers until one perfect ski-day in 2006 when I did a somersault at speed and ended up in hospital. Time to take life more casually!

Teaching the ESL Intensive students over the last 10 years has been a great source of fun and inspiration. Together we learned the new language through hands-on lessons - in Art with Ms Hugo, in baking and cooking with the many parents who came and taught us recipes from their culture, and with Ms Marti who valiantly attempted with us every spring and summer to defeat the army of slugs who munched on our tasty young vegetables and flowers in the school garden.

Learning from my students about their languages and cultures has been SO interesting. So now Colin and I are looking forward to travelling and visiting your home countries.

Performing Arts

Next year's drama performance will be the Sound of Music. VIS staff are waiting in anticipation!

Alumni Events


1996 Reunion

June 2016

The 20th reunion for the Class of 1996 was a BBQ event held on 18 June. The day was spectacular with over 70 people attending the event. Many thanks to Patrizia Reindl-Schweighofer for organising this fantastic gathering.

Life2Live Charity Event

January 2016

This musical charity event packed the William Kirk Theatre on 23 January and raised over 3500 euros. Life2Live is a non-profit organisation started by five VIS alumni whose main goal is to help the refugees in Austria.

All VIS Alumni Reunion

December 2015

Every year this event gets better and better. Over 200 hundred people attended the All Alumni Reunion event held at Leopold Café on December 26. Many thanks to Shimi Buchacher and Marc Melich for organising the gathering.

Upcoming Events

Want to book a VIS reunion? Simply use this form to register your event and the VIS Alumni Office will contact you.


Alumni News


Please email your stories to alumni@vis.ac.at.

Jenny Draxlbauer

There are people that we meet in our lives who amaze us by their unselfish sense of giving to help others. Jenny Draxlbauer (Sylvie Granville's daughter) was such a woman. To have people like Jenny taken from us at the tender age of 32 is both shocking and unimaginable. We have lost a friend, a daughter, a former VIS student, a newlywed who was supposed to be stepping out on a big brave new adventure in life.

Jenny's special qualities of caring were easy to observe. Having spent her formative years at VIS she will have been known to many of our colleagues and highly respected for the beliefs and values that she embodied. She was an avid supporter of the Maher project, contributing her skills and companionship to support others, who quickly came to love her. When not visiting the Maher community in Pune she would be working quietly behind the scenes to raise funds to support their important work.

Jenny is pictured above on the far right and was recently married. During a visit to New Zealand with her husband, she fell ill and suddenly passed away. Her passing leaves us all with a huge sense of loss. Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family and close friends. She will live on in the fond memories of all who knew her. Jenny is at peace now - an angel among the angels.

Tobias Ellwood

We were fortunate to have Tobias visit the school and speak to our students about government service in June. He was a 1985 graduate of VIS, attend Loughborough University and subsequently completed an MBA at City University Business School. He also completed the senior executive course in National and International Studies at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in July 2014 and was elected Conservative MP for Bournemouth East in May 2005.

Many might remember Tobias' mother Caroline Ellwood who was the VIS Middle School Principal for a good number of years, and of course Tobias' brother Jon who was killed in the 2002 Bali bombings and who we remember with an annual award in our graduation ceremony.

Lynn Gruszow

Lynn who is from Bern, Switzerland was a 1985 graduate of VIS. She lives in New York and has three children. She is currently having an Art Exhibition of collages here in Vienna. If you're on Pinterest, then click here to see more of Lynn's work.

Hannah Patnaik

Hannah graduated from VIS in 2010 and completed a Masters in Economics and a Bachelor in both Economics and International Relations at Boston University in 2014. Since then she worked at Boston Biomedical Consultants as a market research analyst. Despite enjoying her experience in the private sector immensely, she left the company to pursue her true passion of international development. Currently she is working as a Junior Business Partnerships Consultant at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. However, in order to achieve her long term goal of independently implementing interventions in developing countries to improve outcomes in the region, she needs to return to academia. For this reason, starting fall of 2016 she will become a PhD candidate for public administration at Syracuse University with a focus on sustainable development and public health issues.

Corinna Peniston

Dr Corinna Peniston-Bird is a Senior Lecturer in Lancaster University's History Department. Lancaster Military Heritage Group and a team of researchers from Lancaster University have secured funding to look at how the war impacted on the people at home. They are now keen to hear from anyone who has a story to tell about Lancaster in WW1. The focus will be on the soldiers who came home, the men who stayed at home and the women and children who waited for loved ones to return from the front line.

"We want to supplement the stories already told with stories passed down from generation to generation - those tales which are not part of the public records," explains Corinna.

Amani Wang

Amani works at Keller Williams Luxury Homes International in Texas. Previously, she worked for the U.S. Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she built and tested 300 high electron mobility transistors, which were used for a deep space network and radio astronomy and in Voyager's successful encounter with Neptune. She is married to Victor Wang, director of process technology development at NXP Semiconductors and they have Courtney, age 19 who is a sophomore at Rice University; and Kyle, age 15 who is a freshman at Westlake High School. She speaks English, French, Arabic and German, has lived in eight countries and graduated from Vienna International School, where her parents still reside. She has her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in computer engineering from Syracuse University

Our mission is to empower all of our students to be successful and responsible in a nurturing and diverse learning community, so that they can achieve their potential in a changing world.

In harmony with the ideals of the IB learner profile, and the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we aim for students to be inquiring, inspired, and involved lifelong learners.

Strasse der Menschenrechte 1
1220 Vienna, Austria
phone: +43 (1) 203-5595
fax: +43 (1) 203-0366
email: alumni@vis.ac.at

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