Announcing the 2021 Award Winners

SYA alumni, faculty and others make amazing things happen in the world.

This year, the SYA Awards Committee is pleased to announce its award recipients in recognition for outstanding contributions to SYA and the greater world.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Women of the Class of SYA Spain 1971

This year, the honor is given to the 13 alumnae of the Class of SYA Spain 1971. SYA was on the cutting edge of coeducation and these women led the way for the 5,187 women who followed in their footsteps. Their commitment to elements of SYA’s mission set an extraordinary foundation for SYA’s growth and development. Today, alumnae represent 62% of SYA’s total alumni body. Board Chair Holland Goss Lynch FR’86 said, “As the first alumna chair of the Board of Trustees, I would also like to extend my personal thanks to you all. When asked to remark upon this milestone, I made a point to note that there could never be a first alumna Board Chair without the brave women of Spain 1971, SYA’s first alumnae. You made it possible for me and for so many other women to attend SYA and now serve the school so proudly. I thank you for leading the way.”

The 13 Pioneers  |   About the Award   |   Nominate

The Stephen M. Foster ES’65 Exemplary Service Award

The Stephen M. Foster ES'65 Exemplary Service Award was established in 2018 to recognize and celebrate those members of the SYA community who demonstrate extraordinary service to School Year Abroad, exemplified by the commitment of Stephen M. Foster ES'65. Service to SYA can take many forms, and we appreciate contributions made by dedicated volunteers, generous donors and hard-working employees alike. This award celebrates and honors extraordinary commitment and exemplary service to SYA. This year’s recipients have distinguished themselves beyond description.

2021 Stephen M. Foster ES'65 Exemplary Service Award

Alexandra Alger FR’79 CN’12P has a passion for education that has positively affected the lives of many including her own family. From her earliest days as an SYAer in Rennes (along with her twin sister Hilary) to her son Davison following in her footsteps at SYA China, Alex stepped up as a volunteer leading to a position on SYA’s Board of Trustees. Her thoughtful contributions and conviction that SYA continue to educate future generations have helped SYA at times when it needed it most. When her board membership ended, Alex enthusiastically agreed to chair SYA’s first ever comprehensive capital campaign. Upon learning that Alex was awarded this honor, SYA President Tom Hassan said, “Alex leads by example – always ready to roll up her sleeves and to offer her intellect and heart to the task at hand. Stunning results happen, thanks to Alex.” Learn more about Alex.

Carlos Alvarez FR’00P was one of our first non-head of school trustees, and was first introduced to SYA by his daughter Carla Alvarez FR'00, who inspired his commitment to SYA. His tireless efforts and thoughtful guidance have helped steer SYA through challenges. Mr. Alvarez has been a strategic partner for two decades. Along with his wife, Malú, his conviction that SYA must continue its course to educate future generations of empathetic and mindful leaders is second to none. From the acquisition and renovation of Villa Alvarez and Casa Foster 64, our campuses in France and Spain respectively, and the creation and funding of scholarships, including the most recently established Malú and Carlos Alvarez Global Scholars Fund, Mr. Alvarez’s dedication to education has positively affected the lives of many students, at SYA and beyond. SYA President Tom Hassan said, “Carlos has created an enduring family legacy that will continue through the next generation and beyond, all to help promote and secure SYA’s future. For all of this and so much more, thank you.” Read more about Mr. Alvarez.

Jamie Broderick FR’71's earliest days as an SYAer in Rennes to his many years as a leadership volunteer, Jamie has generously shared his time, treasure and enthusiasm for the betterment of the SYA experience. As a board member, Jamie always helped the leadership to approach issues in the most sensible and innovative ways. Jamie enthusiastically agreed to co-chair The Campaign for SYA and when asked what his greatest hope for the future of SYA is, Jamie responded, “In a shrinking, globalizing, homogenizing, fully connected world, I would hope that SYA can continue to somehow still cast adolescents loose from their tethers to experience a challenging, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, soul-expanding adventure.” SYA President Tom Hassan commented, “Jamie’s creative approach to challenges paired with his belief in creating a better world, and SYA’s role in that effort, assured an incredibly successful comprehensive fundraising effort. Jamie has fostered a stronger SYA, one that will continue through the next generation and beyond.” Learn more about Jamie.



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A key priority of The Campaign for SYA was curricular innovation. One component of SYA’s curriculum that has been developed and implemented in recent years — fieldwork — helps SYA take advantage of our unique locations to create a quality intercultural, place-based, and experiential educational environment abroad. 

School trips

These are the moments that make the SYA experience so magical. When the lessons students have learned in the classroom are brought to life before their eyes. When the student becomes the teacher, introducing people, places and concepts using the knowledge they have gained. When students debate a relevant issue, learning how to engage in perspective taking and critical thinking.

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Giving to the SYA Fund supports SYA’s operational budget each and every year and helps to provide immediate use funds to deliver the SYA experience we know and love. Through The Campaign for SYA, over $7 million dollars were raised for the SYA Fund. We are grateful to these donors for creating a strong foundation of support for our students and educators.