Panthers of ISKL (POISKL) is our platform, where insightful and reflective stories from the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) community are shared. Here, our students, faculty, and staff provide real-life accounts that positively impact our ever-evolving world.
In this edition, we discuss how transitions at school can be a challenging factor that often involves adapting to new environments, teachers, peers, or even academic expectations. However, with the proper support and preparation, transitioning can also be an opportune moment for the growth and development of our students, equipping them with the right skills to face the world today and for the future.
From seizing all opportunities offered in a school, returning to ISKL as a professional, or making a short film about experiences as a TCK (Third Culture Kid), here we meet with two of our current students plus an alumni, and hear about their firsthand experiences with transition at ISKL.
FROM STUDENT TO FACULTY MEMBER
We invite you to meet Brian Candler ('97), an Alumni student who considers it a privilege to continue his journey from student to his current position as the Director of Shared Services at ISKL.
Originating from Navajo, a small village in Arizona, U.S.A. Brian was born in Gallup, a neighboring town across the border in New Mexico. Living between the West Coast of California, North Carolina, and North Virginia during his formative years, his family settled back in California, where Brian was eventually welcomed onto the East Coast swim team and began playing water polo. This experience helped ease his transition to ISKL in 1992, where under the watchful eye of Coach Lynn Kelly, Brian was accepted onto the school's swim team, participating in IASAS tournaments in Jakarta, Singapore, and Bangkok.
Brian's professional journey at ISKL started as a long-term substitute Grade 9 Physical Education teacher, then on to the Tech Office as Webmaster before accepting his current role. Here he manages a team supporting, customizing, and integrating the school's business systems from a technological perspective.
He shares, "One should look for the potential in existence to discover and explore the boundaries of oneself. The freedom to choose your path, adjust to change, and enjoy what you do is important. Graduating from college and having potential is one thing, but keeping that idea growing and adapting as you get older when there are changes in health, family, and career is quite another".
THE RESILIENT SCHOLAR
Malaysian student Delphine T. ('25), an International Baccalaureate (IB) Scholar, joined ISKL in August 2022. Her strength and determination in character have motivated her to overcome obstacles and take on the attitude of 'facing the impossible' when challenges arise.
As an IB Scholar, Delphine's dream of becoming an ISKL student was realized when she represented her former public school at the SEA Forensics Tournament in 2019 and 2020. Exposed to the cutting-edge facilities on ISKL's campus and subsequently researching the high level of education that guided students on pathways beyond the rigorous IB Diploma Program, she was motivated to apply for an ISKL scholarship.
"While it was a definite culture shock to navigate the ISKL school life," Delphine tells us, "it has transpired to be one of my best decisions." A friendship group that supported her from the start, together with the encouragement of dedicated faculty, has ensured she has fully felt welcomed into the ISKL community.
With the positive mindset that nothing is impossible, Delphine's future aspirations are placed alongside a focus on her current progress in the IB Program. A receptive approach to her future pathway enables Delphine to consider following in her father's footsteps in pursuing a Law degree combined with a career devoted to improving the well-being of children.
THE THIRD CULTURE KID (TCK)
Haruka S. ('23) is an ISKL student whose creativity and passion for the arts led to an invitation from the Ilham Gallery to enroll her on their Student Art Committee. Having spent 15 years living in Kuala Lumpur, she feels she has grown from her experiences as a TCK, having regularly traveled between Malaysia and Tokyo.
After joining ISKL in Grade 9, Haruka continues to pursue her enjoyment of playing the violin, dancing, film-making, and design. She has participated in IASAS Dance since her Sophomore year and supports the ISKL Key Club as Co-President. Her natural ability to fuse her talents with her interests and studies, especially in Psychology, is essential for her focus on a future that nurtures her creative and academic passions.
Haruka feels fortunate to have been raised in a culturally diverse and rich environment, which inspired her to film a short documentary called "Boundless" for her Pursuits Project, based around TCKs in Malaysia."
Researching allowed Haruka to learn about the various struggles TCKs face and their inability to identify a 'home' or the challenge of defining a cultural individuality while constantly moving countries. "This made me realize that home didn't have to be a particular place – home lies in the people I meet and the memories I create," says Haruka.