Panthers of ISKL: Telling real-life stories of the ISKL community

The Panthers of ISKL is our platform for telling real-life stories of the ISKL community. It’s the place where our students, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff share their passions and inspirations and explain what our school’s motto – ‘Be All You Are’ – means to them. Their stories reflect the richness and diversity of what makes ISKL inspirational, inclusive, and empowering.

The first of our new Panthers of ISKL series, this edition contains a plethora of inspiring quotes from our students and faculty as they share their journeys and lessons learned along the way. From our young Panthers in Elementary School to our dedicated faculty, we invite you to read the stories that make up our dynamic community! 

Being A Future-Ready Student

Panthers of ISKL

Raima G. 

“I think that ‘action’ makes you a future-ready student in so many different ways. You can make changes, like helping reduce poverty, racism, and by taking action – even just doing one thing – you can make the world a better place. That’s important because you’re just doing the job in the future, but you also want to be helping others because that’s the point.”

“What I’ve learned is that sometimes when you are taking action, you cannot always have things the easy way, and building a voice helps,” she added.

Raima is a Grade 5 student who took part in the virtual event “Future-Ready Learning Starts in Elementary School” information session that highlighted ISKL’s approach in preparing our students to be ‘future-ready.’ 

Helping Mother Nature, One Bike Ride At A Time 

Chloe C. and Sarah C. 

“Our house is very close to ISKL – it’s about a three-minute bike ride. We decided to bike instead of walk, because it takes less time and is so much more enjoyable!” – Chloe C. 

And on encouraging other students on cycling:

“I know most students and teachers have a lot to carry with them, but you can put bicycle pouches on the side of your bike and save space. Also, biking is way more eco-friendly than cars, and if your house is nearby, I would strongly recommend you to cycle to school (if you are able to).” – Sarah C.

Sarah C. is a student in Elementary School who is an avid cyclist and bike to school with her sister Chloe C. every day!

A Peer In Need Is A Friend Indeed

Avae B. 

It makes me feel proud to be a Peer Helper! I’ve met so many people in ISKL, and I get to introduce new people to those that I know so that they feel comfortable and at ease coming into the school. If I can help people feel at ease when they first join, just like myself when I joined in second grade, that in itself is a great feeling.”

“When I go into class, it’s nice if everyone can be happy because we get to have fun. I find that if more people can feel like that, then it will make a better class environment. Happiness is contagious. Even if you do not feel that happy, you can make yourself feel happy and trick your brain into feeling happy. When others see you happy, it can brighten their day as well.”

Avae B. is a Middle School student who has been helping new students transition into ISKL as a Peer Helper for the past three years!

A Small Act Can Do Wonders

Raj R. 

“​Ms. Massey asked me what my plan was and what I wanted to do. I remember telling her how I wanted to help children by bringing smiles to their faces and letting them know that we are in this together. She told me about a donation drive I could help with that the High Schoolers were doing for the Chin refugees, which focused on helping children.”

“I had no set goal for the donation drive as I felt any contribution would be useful; however, we managed to raise RM500 in cash, stationery supplies, storybooks, toys, and canned food! I hope that my initiative has encouraged more people to donate to children and their families in need. I learned two things from this whole experience. The first is to ask for help, and the second is that a small act can make someone happy!”

Raj is a Middle School student who organized a book and toy drive for around 60 children in the Chin Refugees school. What started as a home project quickly turned into a full-fledged initiative at Middle School collaborating with High School students.

Helping Others Means Helping Yourself

Steve X.

“I got to experience many different roles at the vaccination center. My primary role was to assist doctors and nurses as they vaccinated the patients by helping them prepare the equipment and materials, like refilling cotton swabs and bandaging people. I also did a few administrative works, like noting the arrival time and which doctor was in charge of people’s vaccination cards, helping at the observation counter, and acting as an usher.”

“Being able to help the doctors and nurses with prepping each vaccination, I observed the importance of teamwork and discipline. It’s been so rewarding to learn what it means to be a healthcare professional and pick up some essential skills that apply to my future career of becoming a doctor.

“I learned a lot from this experience, and it definitely made me reflect on myself.”

Steve X. is a High School student whose plan is to study medicine and become a doctor. Over the summer, Steve volunteered for six weekends at the Bangi Golf Resort Vaccination Center in Selangor as part of his Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project, a component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

On Taking That First Step

Seungyoon H. 

“I decided to gather food donations in my area and use emails and posters to spread the word. In a week or so, I was able to collect a lot of food items. When I saw Mr. Arnaud Marolleau, the head of The Giving Bank, pick up the items, I was delighted and satisfied to see that all the donations could fill his whole car, and grateful to give back and support the people in need, especially during these times.”

​​”From this experience, I learned that it is not hard to step up and take action. Before this, I thought that getting involved in the community was time-consuming and required a lot of sacrifices. However, this experience proved to me otherwise. It gave me confidence that I can help more and provide support to those who need it.”

Seungyoon H. is a High School student who coordinated a food donation drive to give back to the communities in need in Malaysia as part of his Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

Vulnerability Is A Strength

Jaymin Baird

‘When I am in front of my students each day, they see the real me, and I hope that showing them my strengths and weaknesses allows them to be vulnerable enough to offer and accept theirs. Creating a safe space where everyone can be the best version of themselves and know that they have the freedom to make mistakes and take risks is so important to me. I very much value authentic and genuine relationships with everyone in my life, and to do that well, you have to be vulnerable, empathetic, and accepting.”

“I was so surprised and flattered when I found out that I received the “Outstanding Educator Award” from the University of Chicago! Alumni student Aditya S. ’21 nominated me, and I do appreciate the time and effort he must have gone through to put my name in. Aditya was in my choir class for multiple years and was the lead drumset player in his time at ISKL – I also had the good fortune of traveling with him during the Global Action Program (GAP).”

Jaymin Baird runs the High School choir program and is Head of the Department for the Performing Arts at ISKL! Most recently, Jaymin was selected for the University of Chicago’s (UoC) ‘Outstanding Educator Award’ by alumni student Sagar Aditya (’21).

Journey Towards Well-Being

Margarita Bautista

“Who inspires me? My students. My amazing team. The wonderful colleagues and administrators. The entire ISKL community! It’s a special place where the culture of care is strong, and love permeates. Within the classroom, my students consistently and continuously inspire me. It is a joy and absolute privilege to get to know each student, understand their unique learning, and see them show progress. I’m truly inspired by the way they take to new knowledge and skills, and practices. They demonstrate risk-taking, grit, and resilience in overcoming different challenges, whether academically, socially, or emotionally.”

The most challenging and rewarding part of teaching is understanding and meeting where all of our students are in terms of their readiness and capabilities to challenge them in their next steps. Working collaboratively with our co-teachers and forging relationships with our students and their families are invaluable in supporting each student’s learning journey and well-being.”

Margarita Bautista is an Elementary School Grade 1 teacher and ISKL alumni who has lived in Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia, before relocating back to Malaysia. 

Stay tuned!

At ISKL, we are proud that diversity is our strength, and we hope these stories from our community reflect that. Many thanks to Raima G., Sarah C., Avae B., Raj R., Steve X., Seungyoon H., Jaymin Baird, and Margarita Bautista for sharing their anecdotes with the community. This is the first of the Panthers Of ISKL series – do stay tuned for the next in our series.

Head over here to read the Panthers of ISKL blog, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with the latest ISKL news. 

About ISKL

Established in 1965, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has become known as a center of excellence in the world of international education. ISKL is a co-educational, private, not-for-profit school responsible for the learning journey of over 1,500 students aged 3-18 years representing more than 65 nationalities at its campus in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

ISKL offers a robust international curriculum which combines leading North American educational frameworks with global best practice.  The curriculum recognizes that students are on a lifelong learning journey and is driven by ISKL’s mission to challenge each student to ‘Be All You Are’ and develop the attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding to become a highly successful, spirited, socially responsible global citizen.

ISKL is accredited internationally through the Council of International Schools (CIS), and in the United States through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). There is a strong focus on service and sustainability across its divisions and is a member of the Eco-Schools organization and the Green Schools Alliance.

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