Help us collect JIS memories from every decade. Submit your Moment in Time in four sentences or less to Please identify the decade, and include a date and caption with any historic photos.

Moments In Time


In August, 1951 the late Antoinette Stepanek’s house and garden became the first classrooms of the school and the first students were Joseph Stepanek, James Stepanek and Harsha Rao.  Antoinette recalled this pioneering time, “Even in so hot a climate as Indonesia’s, the early mornings are delightful, and I can close my eyes now and relive those happy days when we were only a handful doing lessons under the big trees or sitting on the cool tiles of our living room to sing and paint.” It quickly became obvious that the school would soon be bursting at the seams. “It seemed that every day yet another car would sweep around the drive and a new arrival would be clamoring for admission.”


I started teaching at JIS in 1968 when it was known as the Joint Embassy School. I was hired to start the art and French language programs along with my friend, Halimah Brugger, who started the music program. I was given the opportunity at JES that I would not probably have had in many other places, certainly not in my home country, France. I am very grateful for that. The art budget was always rather generous, which allowed us to improve our equipment and have adequate supplies. The number of students that came in contact with me during 30 years of teaching at JIS probably comes to about five thousand. - Rashid Carre, art teacher  

(In 1997 JIS established the Rashid Carre award for an outstanding senior in the Fine Arts and Creative Writing).



Just after school year began JIS was invited to put on an international program on TVRI to celebrate United Nations Day using children from many different nationalities. I was asked to organize a program for the TV show. The program was repeated in the school courtyard and that was the beginning of the JIS United Nations Day tradition. In the ‘spring’ semester I initiated Indonesia Day which became a tradition in the elementary school for many years. Students sang Indonesian songs, played angklung, and learned Indonesian dances. Everyone had to wear something Indonesian, and the Indonesian teachers always looked beautiful in national dress.
– Halimah Brugger, former JIS teacher


From all my years at JIS, visiting then President Soeharto at his home in Jakarta with Mrs. Hilmer's second grade class in 1985 has to be my most memorable field trip. It was President Soeharto's birthday, so we presented him with a 34-page book written by Mrs. Hilmer, which we helped illustrate, entitled Soeharto: Son of the Soil. We had our personal copies of the book signed by the president and were given an engraved pen and an autographed photo of him and his wife, Ibu Tien. When we returned on a faithful Blue Bird Big Bird bus we had an opportunity to reflect on this special day. I hope all second graders are as fortunate as we were to have such an inspiring and exceptional teacher as our well-loved Mrs. Hilmer. - Meilyn Tan 


In 1999, after Soeharto fell from power, we did “Marsinah” as our IASAS play.  It was an English-language premiere, and we were lucky to have the playwright, Ratna, work with us.  She had been jailed under Soeharto for writing and performing this play.  We did a special showing in the FAT, which was attended by then opposition-leader Megawati and students from Trisakti University, where students had been killed by the police and were martyrs for the revolution.  We had a full house that night, including the School Board, teachers, students and a huge turnout from the Indonesian staff, who were clearly very proud that JIS was doing this controversial play. 

It was one of those experiences that makes me believe that the theatre can be magic.  So can JIS.  We need to sometimes be reminded that our host country has so much to offer us beyond the logistic support which keeps our school running.  And that we have much to offer these people and their emerging democracy.  This can happen in many places and many ways.  The strong commitment to the performing arts here at JIS can and will continue to do so.  -Tom Schulz, HS Drama Teacher


The devastation wrought by the Asian Tsunami in 2004 stirred the world-wide JIS alumni community to see  JIS as  a conduit for an outpouring of charitable donations. This tragedy and response provided the impetus for what came to be called JIS Cares/JIS Peduli.  JIS' 60 years of serving the Indonesian (and global) community, primarily through the TAA (Tolong Anak Anak), as well as through class, club and community projects, has provided bounteous energy, time and money, to help alleviate poverty in Indonesia. More recently, a global imperative relating to environmental stewardship has also focused our collective need on ensuring the sustainability of our planet for future generations. - Trish Davies, Service Learning Coordinator


During the 2011-12 school year, JIS celebrated its 60th anniversary. There were activities on all the campuses throughout the year, including a gathering of the entire school onto the main field where hundreds of students formed the letters JIS and we had a photo taken from above using a remote-controlled helicopter/camera.  - Will Woodruff, JIS Communications

Morning Arrival