5 Years Young: HAIS to Celebrate Anniversary Milestone
2023 marks five years since HAIS opened its doors and invites us to reminisce and reflect on our school’s journey.
The brainchild of Ms Tran Hanh An – who challenged herself to build an international school in 2016 – HAIS has gone through multiple phases since this time and has come out as a leader in education in Central Vietnam, and a school that truly matters to the community.
Diving into the archives over the last few weeks, it has become apparent how revolutionary the idea of our school was from the beginning. There were already established international schools in Da Nang and one in Hoi An – but none that provided the level of balance and quality that Ms An (an educator herself) expected for her own five children.
After working with local governments to secure a former college dormitory and transform it into a school, HAIS came out of the gate at full pelt. The initial roll call still has some of the current staff and students, including Teacher Jo, Ms Vy, Ms Van, Ms Phuc and Ms Trang, as well as the Lambert family, Macdouall family, and 12 others who we consider our ‘Founding Families.’
With Ms An at the helm, a selection of dedicated teachers, and our whip-smart Principal Mr Brett joining in the summer of 2019, HAIS was determined to stay on the path and build a school that put students and their interests at the centre of every decision. HAIS didn’t want to sound like or be like everyone else – it valued academics, arts and sports in education. It was about balance and letting kids find their passions.
Teacher Jo, a stalwart supporter since day one, said; “Nothing happened in the first and yet everything happened.”
HAIS started with a handful of students in each class, with approximately 50 students from Primary through to Secondary. In the years to follow came a hoard of new facilities; a gorgeous two-story library, an indoor pool, a music recording studio, art rooms, a permaculture garden complete with a chicken coop, and as the school grew – a bespoke A Level Studio and additional classrooms.
Alongside all this was the growth of HAIS’ loyal staff and parent community.
You can read in the commemorative edition of the school magazine HAIS LIFE – issued in 2020, where Mr Brett emphasised student wellbeing, developing an ‘unshakeable social consciousness’ in all students, and the overarching mission to ‘nurture and meet the individual needs of our students in a supportive, community-minded and responsible environment.’
These core values are still at the heart of the school’s ethics and values today, and haven’t shifted since Mr Brett took leadership.
But the course of the last five years has not been a straight line. HAIS has faced challenging times – building curriculums, establishing policies and staff and student frameworks – then, only two years in, having to grapple with the global pandemic. But looking back at the historical photos and milestone moments of HAIS, what you see today is a picture of a school that not only reflects the culture into which it belongs but shapes it.
At its heart, the school is characteristically an extension of Ms An herself, and the five-year milestone is an honour to the spirit of her vision. When you look at all that the school has achieved – An is firmly positioned as the common denominator. The thread that ties it all together. She walks to the beat of her own drum with a strong sense of self. An’s uninhibited approach to wanting the best for every individual student has gained loyal support from families, and word of mouth has played a big part in growing admissions.
Ms An has pushed the boundaries in a good way. The positive results can be seen in the students themselves. Their eagerness to attend school and their academic achievements. HAIS has come out on top, developed for the times in which we live. And for all involved, it has been a privilege to be a part of.