March 1st, 2013:

Manila student wins SENIA Student Award

Samantha Johnson, a Grade 8 student from the International School of Manila, Philippines, is the proud recipient of the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) Student Award, which honors a student with a disability who excels. It celebrates the achievements of a child or youth with disabilities; encourages awareness of the abilities and aspirations of children/youth with disabilities; and advocates on behalf of exceptional children in Asia.

Samantha received her award at the 11th SENIA Conference hosted at Jakarta International School last February 22 – 23, 2013. She is the second recipient of this award, after Andrea Zubiri, of Brent International School in the Philippines, was our first award winner.

Samantha received the award for her outstanding work in promoting awareness and advocating, not only for her learning needs but the needs of other children who learn differently. She developed an outstanding video documenting her journey with learning difficulties, including her successes and challenges.

At the Next Frontier Conference, she spoke to 70 international school leaders and teachers about her learning journey and how she advocates for herself. She talked about the need for students to be “brave” in advocating their needs and for teachers to listen to their students.

Her teachers describe her as an “amazing grade 8 student who uses her disability to make her stronger.” Samantha does not show any signs of slowing down, as she is currently an elected member of the Student Council at ISM as well as being chosen to represent her school at the Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference after some strenuous competition.

Samantha’s advice from a Strategy Instruction teacher that she keeps close to her heart is “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss you’ll land on a star.” Keep shooting for the moon, Samantha!

Honorary award winners include Grace Loedin, Jessica Malca, Adhar Sheen, and Iana Tan, all students of Brent International School Manila.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 1.55.52 PMGrace Loedin

Brent International School, Manila







Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 1.57.18 PMJessica Malca

Brent International School, Manila





Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 1.58.25 PMAdhar Sheen

Brent International School, Manila







Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 1.59.57 PMIana Tan

Brent International School, Manila