Class of 2015 University of Southampton, Business Entrepreneurship

Thomas Ferfelis

In what way did you experience at IBSB help to shape you into the person you are today?

There are a few ways, first and foremost the international aspect; having lots of different languages and cultures in one place while growing up gave me the ability to be more open and sociable. Moreover, there was a range of characters, and of various backgrounds, in terms of wealth and intelligence, this too helped me. I saw different negative attitudes and behaviors teaching me the ‘how not to be’. Additionally, the teachers were always friendly and proactive especially with those students who were willing to go the extra mile. Beyond teaching me the curriculum, they taught me ‘how to be, and how to behave’.

Please provide a brief description of some of your treasured memories from your time at IBSB

The highlight of my school experience was being the football captain since year 7 and winning various competitions with the school team.

Additionally, I managed to maintain my “undefeated chess champion” during my time in the school (year 7-year 13)

I was part of various projects such as the CAS and the work experience, again giving me insights to the bigger picture of the world, and what adulthood looked like.

Which IBSB teachers stand out as having a positive impact on your education?

Whatever teachers teach us fades as the years go by, the only things that we remember growing up are a few key conversations and advices; playing the role of a parent, especially considering that most students saw their teachers more than their parents.

Ciprian Iacob – the PE teacher for me and I think for everyone has had the longest lasting impact. This comes from my classmates as well as other Alumni with whom I’ve kept in touch with, and we all agree that he managed to push us out of our comfort zone and into our growth zone. Boosting our confidence and our social skills while cultivating the competitive spirit. He would often ask difficult questions regarding our futures and challenged our thought processes, which made us question things for the first time maybe during those young ages.

Mr Lee – This teacher was a pure professional, the most organized and fair teacher of them all. He was tough but fair, even with his son who was my classmate, coincidentally. He was also the head teacher in my final year and gave a great deal of support with my application for university and my computing exam. I remember some of his punishments when I was younger and more arrogant, the funny thing is that I remember being annoyed at how ‘right’ he was, rather than the punishment in itself.

Ms Senzaconi – Despite only having done biology with her in middle school, I managed to keep in touch with Mrs Senza throughout the years. Every time I visit the school she is the first person I go for. We have kept in touch throughout the years and she even visits me every now and then at the restaurant. I remember that she took time out of her breaks to explain concepts when I got things confused or when I felt the need to know more. Her being so passionate about her subject made me complete her homework first.

I found out recently that she was keeping a close eye on me and telling my mum when I misbehaved, truly like a second mother to me.

Ms Croci – The only year I had Mrs Croci as a teacher was in year 13 when she was the head teacher of my year together with Mr Lee. However, that did not stop her from being a positive influence on me. She taught me how to always keep an open mind and not judge people, and to always analyse social problems with care. Mrs Croci was my sister’s teacher too, which probably made our connection that much stronger and significant. The same is true for Mrs Senza, who first developed a good relationship with my sister, and once she graduated that special bond grew stronger through me.

Ms Cristina + Ms Mihaela Poienariu (maths) – I loved maths growing up. I tend to be more of a logical thinker, even at times when I should be more emotional. Those two teachers always pushed me to do extra work and challenged me with additional problems. I still talk to them at least once a year.

Ms Blessy – Mrs Blessy and I had a few issues at first, mostly because of my poor attitude and time management skills. She started teaching me at a time when I had too many extra-curricular activities and was too involved with football to prioritise my education. One thing to mention is that her behaviour toward me was always positive, even when I gave her reasons not to be. To this day, whenever we see each other, her face brightens up and with a huge smile she says my name. She is always interested to know what I am doing and where I’m at. Mrs Blessy was the teacher that never got angry with me, and with her patience and guidance made me realise that my explosive behaviour was not the best I could offer.

This is true for all the teachers I mentioned above. I was lucky to receive the help and support that matured my thinking processes and my behaviour. Those teachers help me with visualising my future and offered me ‘an open door’ for whenever I needed them; to always be there for me. To me, those names mentioned above represent more than a student- teacher relationship. There were times when I would share things with them that I would not my friends or even my family. I don’t think that this kind of connection can be verbalised, but I am truly grateful to them for making those important years of my life the best that they could have ever been. Looking back at my years at IBSB, it is clear that the bad memories have faded in the background, and all that is left to remember are the great ones moments and the amazing people.

What skills developed at IBSB proved most useful post-graduation?

I’m going to be honest and say that the school didn’t prepare me for university, the fact that I didn’t know about referencing and citations almost cost me a module in my first year.

As for everything else, it was my involvement with sports from a young age and working every summer from the age of 14 that helped me adapt and make a difference at university.

What subjects did you study at A Level?

Maths, Physics, Computing

Which University/Universities did you graduate from/will your graduate from? What Degree/s did you receive/will you receive?

I graduated the University of Southampton, Business Entrepreneurship with a placement – Graduated with 1st degree honours.

What are you doing now?

I am currently in the process of taking over the family businesses. I started by taking over the restaurants and the event venues at Cernica Complex Turistic, as well as a few small construction and development properties. (The same restaurants and event venues I have been working at form the age of 14)

In the future I plan to become more engaged with construction, development and real estate, while pursuing further business opportunities, whether to start or to develop businesses.

The teachers were always friendly and proactive especially with those students who were willing to go the extra mile. Beyond teaching me the curriculum, they taught me ‘how to be, and how to behave’.