Eagles in the Spotlight

Lui H., Alumna Parent and PA President, 1999-2003

Alumna Parent Luitgard H. shares about her time as Parents Association President at ISOZ and how she’s using her abilities to help families throughout Switzerland stay healthy and safe and volunteering to aid refugees.

Lui first got to know the International School of Zug (then a private school owned by Mr Latter) through a friend whose children were attending. Little did she know that in just a few short months, her husband’s job transfer would take them to Switzerland. They found the ISOZ campus in Walterswil to be quiet lovely and perfectly accessible with the bus from their house.

 

Serving on the PA

Within the first few weeks of being at ISOZ, Lui was approached by the Parents Association to help them with their bimonthly printed newsletter. Designed in Word or Publisher, the two-sided newsletter had to be photocopied and then hand delivered to each teacher so that they could give a copy of the newsletter to the oldest child in each family to take home. “It was done so differently before email and the internet!” reflects Lui.

Lui’s involvement with the PA was key to helping her feel connected to the school community. “The school was like a big family. Everyone knew each other and even recognized each other’s car.” She later went on to serve as PA President for two years in a row and believes that being on the PA was “a good way to give back to the school and understand what goes on behind the scenes. The PA in those times was truly a partnership with the school to offer input regarding educating and the development of children.” The PA’s role was especially vital as the school went from 180 students to over 450 in just four years. “It was all about improving the partnership between the school and parents. We served as a kind of mediator and helped manage expectations. Martin Latter attended our meetings so you really had to separate your personal needs from those of the rest of the parents in order to help meetings run efficiently.”

Lui remembers well some of the parents she worked with on the PA: Natalie A., Diana P., Monique V. “We had to many opportunities to spend time together so it was easy to make friends. In fact, Helene S. is still a close friend today.”

 

PA Events at ISOZ

Social events at the school were just as important during Lui’s time as they are now. “International Day was a big event with food stalls and games. It was also a fundraiser for the school and was coordinated by a special committee. I also enjoyed our Halloween event with a very spooky haunted house in the basement of Wettingerhaus. The middle school students would run the whole thing and the little ones would walk through, sometimes with their parents. One year, we had over 800 people attend!”

Festive Shop was one of Lui’s favourite activities the PA did for the students and something she feels is so unique to ISOZ. She still has several gifts that her children (now all attending university) gave her from the shop. “It was great fun consulting with the kids about what to get mummy. It was always hard to buy for dads and older siblings. ‘Repeat gifts’ were also interesting phenomena. One year a gift would be purchased from the shop and a few years later it would be donated again to be resold. Some gifts went through several times.”

Organising Sunday ski school at Flumserberg was a special pastime as well. “My son just wanted to ski. He was never interested in lesson, but there were plenty of others who were and skiing together was such a fun experience.”

 

Teachers at ISOZ

There was so much to love about ISOZ during the years that Lui, her husband and three children were a part of the school. “All the teachers and staff were just so great! Ms Richardson, Ms Crettenand, Ms Schofield, Ms Gambino, Ms Armstrong, Mr Stride. My children have very fond memories of those who taught them.”

Mr Latter knew every child on campus by name. “At his sculpture unveiling, I was very moved. My children remember and probably still have all their birthday stones they received from Mr Latter.”

 

From ISOZ to running her own business

As a trained medical doctor, Lui was asked by the PA to offer first aid classes to parents. After getting certified to teach, she not only started offering first aid training to parents, but was asked by Mr Latter to train teachers as well. “Later that developed into safety awareness training for the students. We used to review short stories (kind of like case studies) of children who had gotten injured and now knew better than to make unsafe choices. Then the students would present a play about the story and how to stay safe.” Soon after that a local expat organization asked Lui to run first aid courses for the public and by 2006 Lui had started her own business: Healthy and Safe Away From Home.

 

Keeping families healthy and safe

Lui offers all kinds of courses to the public, companies, schools and private groups from Geneva to Lugano to Basel. “My babysitting and first aid courses for teens, the first aid courses for parents and the first aid course for the Swiss driver’s license are my most popular classes. Workplace courses for companies are also very popular as more employers understand the need for a healthy and safe work environment.” With her medical background and constant training about health related topics, she has offered courses in stress management and heart/stroke awareness, and has partnered with others to cover topics like nutrition and psychology/neuroscience. “Another advantage is that I am certified by Switzerland, the UK and the US. This is probably why I train more than 750 people a year in Switzerland alone!” Currently Lui is also working with refugees to help them learn about Switzerland and get them basic needs like clothing and shoes.

 

Lui’s first aid advice

“Although I’ve given training courses many times, there is always something new to learn. One thing that I think we forgot to consider in first aid is that while it is indeed necessary to think of those harmed, we must not forgot that in order to provide appropriate care, we must keep ourselves as the caregiver safe in such a situation.”

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