On a memorable afternoon in late November, Shrewsbury welcomed back two fantastic students and another via video for the third annual Shrewsbury International School Alumni Association's (SISBAA) Alumni of the Year Awards. Industrial designer and newly-minted USA Dyson Award winner, Poom, Top Chef winner and restaurant owner, Tam and Thailand's Got Talent winner and Broadway actor, Myra, have all been gaining appreciation in their respective fields, and this was Shrewsbury's chance to honour their achievements.
Previous winners of the award include graduates of some of the world's most prestigious tertiary institutions such as Cambridge University, University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College and Columbia University. Many have moved into some high profile careers that include hotel construction, finance, education, sport and entertainment. This years' recipients are in the same mould, grabbing headlines in Asia and beyond for their exploits.
The first to collect her award was Chef Tam (Class of 2010), who after graduating from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science, honed her craft working as a sous chef alongside the award-winning chef, Dan Barber at Blue Hill in New York. Upon returning to Thailand, she fortuitously secured a position on Thailand's popular Top Chef TV show alongside 14 other professional chefs. Despite being the youngest contestant, Chef Tam won the grand prize, the judges continually impressed with her tenacity in the kitchen and knowledge of flavour. From there, the trajectory of her career has a distinctive upward curve; opening her own restaurant 'Baan Tepa Culinary Space'. Tam says the establishment offers a farm-to-table environment that heroes organic, local Thai produce. More than just a chef, however, Tam champions sustainable food consumption and production, opting for products that have the smallest effect on the environment.
Possibly a hard act to follow. However, Industrial designer, Poom's USA Dyson Award-winning invention, Aerolyze is yet another achievement worth celebrating. The University of Washington graduate is well on his way to realising his potential after being singled out by judges for his game-changing innovation that will go a long way to helping people with diabetes monitor glucose, without having to prick themselves multiple times a day. The device, which is in the prototype phase, can measure glucose by merely taking a reading of one's breath. Spurred on by his father's own diagnosis of Type-2 diabetes, Poom (Class of 2016) says a lot of failure and persistence has gone into the creation of Areolyze. Remembered by his Design Technology teacher, Mr Mark Holloway as a student who combined a phenomenal work ethic with a jovial, fun-loving attitude, Poom is yet another worthy of a 2020 Alumni of the Year award.
Finally, Myra (Class of 2015), a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Boston, has taken an entirely different path to success - that of an entertainer. Not satisfied as merely a singer, having won the inaugural 'Thailand's Got Talent' in 2011, then aged 13, Myra has gone on to perform in sold-out shows around the world. Just a few of her credits include playing the character 'Wish' in HBO's Halfworlds II, performing the songs and voice of the title character in the Thai version of the Walt Disney Classic, Moana and more recently, performing on Broadway and throughout the US as 'Kim' in Miss Saigon. Unable to attend the event at Shrewsbury due to filming commitments, Myra appeared via a pre-recorded video to accept her award. In it, she remembered the school as a wonderful place that nurtured her talent and gave her the confidence to dream big. If her current resume is anything to go by, audiences will likely be seeing much more of her.
Stuart Markes, Director of Alumni Relations for SISBAA spoke very highly of the award winners, noting that the achievements of Shrewsbury Alumni are so varied and outstanding that it is difficult only to choose three.
"On behalf of the school and SISBAA, I am delighted to see our alumni finding success and happiness while enjoying what they are doing. The three alumni here are truly passionate people, and I am elated that they can come in and share their experiences with us."
Both Shrewsbury International School Bangkok, Riverside and SISBAA congratulate this year's winners and their families for their achievements up to, including and beyond 2020!