Your School
Wall with flags from all across the world with the words %22Be The Change You Want To Be in the World

International Student News

Gilbert Girls Volleyball Team Welcomes Students from Germany & Brazil

By Debra LaRoche Walls, Dean of Admissions


This year’s international group of students are not only accomplishing outstanding academic achievements being in a U.S. high school for the first time, but they are joining Gilbert school sports teams.


International students, Sophia Peixoto, Maja Busse and Maria Castilla were all warmly welcomed by girls’ volleyball coaches Lisa and Gerry Brochu when the girls made the decision to join the team. Being a member of the team means practice every day after school for two hours and two early hours on Saturday morning along with attendance for every home and away game. Sophia, Maja and Maria all agreed to make the team commitment.


Each of the international students brings more than just being a volleyball team member for Gilbert. Sophia is attending her senior year and comes from Uberlandia, Brazil. Presently, she is a straight A student in all of her courses. Back home in Brazil, Sophia participated in swimming championships since she was eleven years old. For six years she has been taking tap dance lessons and enjoys playing both the violin and the piano. Sophia is a joy to have as a Gilbert international student and she will graduate with a high school diploma from Gilbert this June.


Maja Busse, grade 11, is our first international female student from Germany. Her effervescent personality is being noticed not only on the volleyball court but also in her classes. She wanted to join the team for the love of being a strong team member and to make new friendships. Her hometown is Kassel, Germany where she lives with her parents, her older sister and her younger brother. Maja has traveled extensively to many European countries with her family. She has many creative talents and takes pride in making homemade gifts for family and friends such as; cakes, soap, and photo books.


Maria Castilla, grade 10, just shared her sixteenth birthday celebration at a local Brazilian restaurant with both of her volleyball team members, Sophia and Maja. She has joined Gilbert from the beautiful town of Bairro in the Sao Jose-Garibaldi area of Brazil. She lives with her parents and her older sister who is attending a graduate program in Italy. In Brazil, her father is a medical doctor and Maria plans to follow in her father’s medical footsteps. She has also traveled extensively and speaks four languages; Portuguese, Spanish, French and English. Her Brazilian activities back home include; ballet, gymnastics and piano.


Girls, best wishes on the team along with your academic achievements at Gilbert! We are happy that you are a part of our international school community.

Three International Students at Volleyball practice

From left to right: Sophia Pexioto, Maja Busse, and Maria Castilla at volleyball practice

One of TGS's International Students with family at Graduation 2023

Ivan Yifan Lyu graduates from The Gilbert School!  

TGS International Students with friends at Graduation 2023

Jhonatan Borges Silveira and Youssef Nahali  graduate from The Gilbert School!

International Student Bruce Zheng

Bruce Zheng joined the Gilbert School in January 2019 with a dual enrollment with Hartt School of Music in Hartford. This fall, he was awarded a certificate in recognition of the Pursuit of Excellence in Music from the Connecticut Music Educators Association. Bruce has been in music and band classes and performed in concerts and the marching band since his arrival to the international program. He recently received his acceptance letter to attend Hartt School of Music and has been awarded a $24,000 scholarship for each of his four years at Hartt.  Thank you, Bruce, for all of the great percussion musical talent you added to our school performances at Gilbert. Best wishes as you continue your college journey!


Two students from Brazil

This fall, we welcomed for the first time two 11th grade students from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The students, Luiza Magalhaes, and Jhonatan Silveira, were hometown friends and shared the flight to JFK and one semester together. Luiza enrolled at Gilbert for one semester for her first American experience. Jhonatan, who completed the year, joined the boys soccer team and made his first High Honors quarter this past April. Jhonatan enjoyed attending Gilbert's Prom and has made friends with ninth grader, Bernardo, who is from his home town in Brazil. We look forward to welcoming Jhonatan back to Gilbert to complete his senior year. Obrigado Jhonatan for a great year with us!


student wrestler

Carlos Garcia, 10th grader from Monterrey, Mexico had a very active year making many new friendships at Gilbert and joining many sports teams. Carlos was an integral part of Gilbert’s Wrestling team. Here he is ready to meet his opponent. 


Student from Mexico in Gilbert soccer uniform

Carlos was a natural soccer player when he joined Gilbert's soccer team this past fall. He scored the first goal of the season! This year, the soccer team began with a new and encouraging coach and had a large number of new soccer players, making it a challenging and learning year for the team. Carlos plans on returning to Gilbert in August to rejoin all of the new friends he has made and will play for his second year on the soccer team. Way to go Carlos!

students in winter hats and coats

In January, Dean of Admissions, Debra LaRoche Walls, along with her husband Stuart, chaperoned four students to Butternut Basin in Massachusetts for a fun day of tubing. The temperature for the day was a chilling 10 degrees but everyone enjoyed themselves. The students who joined for the day were Richard Sebastian from Indonesia, Carlos Garcia from Mexico, Alan Wan from China, and Jhonatan Silveira from Brazil.

Student at the entrance to The Gilbert School

The international program welcomed it's first full-year student from Brazil this fall. Jhonatan Silveira joined as an 11th grade student and has made many friends who attend Gilbert from his hometown area. Jhonatan joined the boys soccer team in the fall and we look forward to him returning for his senior year in late August. He brings warmth and charm to us from his Brazilian
culture. He can be seen almost daily at the Winsted YMCA working out with his new friends. He is a welcome addition to our international family.

Elsa Ni from Shanghai
Ben Nguyen
Andrew Park
Ben Nguyen and Cristina Rutherford
Andrew Park
Alan Wan
Debral LaRoche Walls, Ben Nguyen, Alan Wan, Frank Guan
Ben Nguyen
Frank Guan