Summer 2024

Dear students, parents and guardians,

It is time again to reflect on the school year that has been. I hope you will enjoy this end-of-the-year newsletter!

From where I am sitting it has been a busy but fun year once again – my 18th at ISRLO. The first part of the year was very much focused on the 5-yearly IB evaluation, culminating in a 3-day online visitation. We’re good to keep delivering our IB programmes for the next five years it least, and even after 3 successful cycles that’s always a reassuring message to hear. The evaluation feedback has resulted in ISRLO wanting to put more emphasis on programme development, especially in our MYP, and we are very happy that Ms Annelies Brabant is taking on this role. This has caused a few more internal changes for next year: Ms Anne Lamers will be MYP department leader as from next school year, and Ms Sophie Auton will be our careers counsellor. And while I am on the personnel topic, I would like to give a big public thank you to Ms Marja Selier and Ms Ambria Sebregts for their combined extra effort as interim MYP coordinators!

The other big change this was that from term 3we have gone mobile phone free! Or at least we have all made a gallant effort, and although there are always improvements to be made it has been a positive move. It is just wonderful to see at break time how much more direct interpersonal contact there is in the school.

We have just had our Diploma Programme results: Last Friday the DP2 students received their exam results and we are very happy with the outcome: 49 out of the 52 candidates will get their Diplomas after the summer, and three need the resit session in November. Congratulations to our graduates!

I wish you all a wonderful summer. If you are moving on: thank you for being part of the ISRLO community and I wish all the best in your future. Keep in touch! For those who are staying: I look forward to catching up with you in August.

Mathijs Hekkelman

ISRLO Leadership Team 2024

In this forthcoming new academic year, there are a few changes in roles within the International Department:

Mathijs Hekkelman – Principal

Jon Symmons – Diploma Programme Team Leader

Anne Lamers – Middle Years Programme Team Leader


Olympiad 2024

Albert (Chinyu) Lin in DP1a participated in the final round of the Chemistry Olympiad. The best 20 students in the Netherlands competed against each other. Albert finished in 11th place and also received the encouragement prize


Within this editon of the ISRLO newsletter, there are articles written by Alice Rinalducci in MP5 . Chatting with Ms. Ashcroft in the International Administration office, Alice mentioned that she loves to write and considers writing as a possible choice for her future career path. Ms. Ashcroft asked if she would like to write some articles for the Summer edition of the ISRLO Newsletter , as the words from a student captures more the experience of life here at Rijnlands.  Therefore, please enjoy the following articles written by this very talented student. Thank you Alice.

Being Headmaster: “A passion for education”

 by Alice Rinalducci MP5c

In most movies and television shows, “the headmaster” is a terrifying and somewhat evil character in the lives of students. Other times, they’re just strange and off the rails. With this in mind, I went to interview Mathijs Hekkelman, the head of the international department and the deputy head of our school. Immediately, even someone who  has never met him before could realise that Rijnlands’ head is the very opposite of the movie and tv renditions of his character. He kindly (and excitedly) accepted me into his office, and we spoke about his experiences in this major role.

Mr. Hekkelman never really left school. At heart, he’s an English teacher, and still takes joy in his English B classes for the DP program two times per week. However, being headmaster fills most of his time. At Rijnlands alone, he’s been in charge for the past 17.5 years, and before that, he was head of an international school in Shanghai! We certainly are in expert hands. The list of his daily tasks is long, but besides the slightly duller responsibilities such as the endless meetings about everything and anything happening in school, the administration work and contact with new families, Mr. Hekkelman values one thing above all: direct contact with students.

“I try to be the first-person students meet,” he told me, “I bring new families on school tours, and I try to help out whenever I can.” To Mr. Hekkelman, standing in front of the reception in the morning is more than just “saying hello”, it means getting an overview of what’s happening around. He told me that from all the anecdotes he could recall, the best ones came from students. He loves to see just how much students have grown and changed in DP2 since MP1; students who have succeeded in proving wrong all those who doubted them; calling into the office a pair of students but letting them off since they were only trying to prank their older siblings. “It’s the little things that make this job so great.” At an international school, students are likely from other countries, perhaps they just moved and left everything behind, maybe English isn’t their first language. It can be hard to feel accepted even among peers with similar experiences. When the first person you meet wants above all to make you feel seen, it can truly change your perspective on the situation. When I asked him how he ended up being a head, he confessed that it was due to “never saying no to a challenge,” opportunities show up and “life takes you somewhere”. This is a lesson we should all take to heart. High school may be 7 long years of our lives, but when those in charge have our backs, they may not be so dark after all.

Interviewing Nina Pessot!

by Vivian Bell MP4a

Former alumni Nina Pessot who now works as an Administrator in the International Administration Office was happy to be asked the following questions compiled by Vivian

Q1) What work do you do in Rijnlands?

I am an admissions officer as well as an international administrator!

Q2) When you were a student, did you want to work at RLO?

When I was a student I didn’t think I was going to end up back in school or even RLO because I didn’t want to work in a school or become a teacher!

Q3) When you were in RLO what was your dream job? Why?

My dream job was working in fashion! To be a Fashion Stylist, to know fashion trends as well as know accessories that can enhance outfits.

Q4) What was your favorite memory at RLO as a student?

My favorite memory would be… Brusjes dag. Which we would go to a school with people who have special needs and visit and help!

Q5) What is your favorite memory in RLO while working here?

My favorite memories about working here is… Speech Night because all the planning me and my colleagues do and the months we plan to then see it in person that night.

Q6) What do you see doing in the future? And is it at RLO?

It’s unknown! I’m still young and have a lot ahead of me. It could be at RLO somewhere in the backroom of school!