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News > Campus News > ISKL Recognizes Outstanding Grade 12 Students At Virtual Senior Awards Ceremony

ISKL Recognizes Outstanding Grade 12 Students At Virtual Senior Awards Ceremony

May 28 2020 Congratulations all Seniors have been recognized for their achievements at the Virtual Senior Award Ceremony!
28 May 2020
Campus News

"2020 - the year we faced the unprecedented challenge of keeping our school running during a global pandemic. We did it together! Because of our strong relationships and our sense of community. For your guidance and leadership - Senior class, I applaud you, and I thank you deeply. For your patience this year more than ever, your insight and your perseverance when things didn't always go your way, I thank you."

Thus were the words by The International School of Kuala Lumpur’s High School Principal Jeff Farrington, as he formally introduced the Virtual Senior Awards Ceremony to ISKL’s graduating seniors.

The annual event, which occurs in the second last week of the academic year, recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence, dedication, and passion for academics, sports, visual and performing arts, or community service.

Beginning with a delightful rendition of the Malaysian national anthem "Negaraku" sung by the Senior Choral Ensemble, it was then followed by Jeff’s heartfelt message to the senior class.

You are not the same students I addressed at the Robert B. Gaw Theater nine months ago,” he reflected.  Think about the person you were back then. Take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved this year, how you have developed, what you have learned, and how you have changed. 

He continued with a description of how the spring of 2020 would be infamously remembered in history as the year the world faced the unprecedented challenge of continuous learning in a global pandemic.

Following Jeff's Speech, the award ceremony continued with a medley of videos from all HS departments announcing the names of the Senior Awards recipients.

Here are the names of the recipients, a description of the awards, and quotes from their teachers. 


Valedictorian: Tanmay Gupta 

"Tanmay embodies all qualities ISKL seeks to instill in students. An all-round star at ISKL, whether it be in the classroom, on the forensics team, among peer helpers, and more. Bright, articulate, funny, caring, and charismatic, he is one of our debate captains, demonstrating superb leadership and mentoring of our new members. Tanmay is an outstanding student, a remarkable young man, earning full respect from both faculty and peers. His ISKL school spirit is infectious, and he has made our school a better place each day during his long tenure here at ISKL."

Rami Madani, Head of School


Salutatorian: Jehseok (Alex) Kim 

"Outstanding in every aspect. Humble, dedicated, positive, self-reliant, and inspirational. From refugee projects to the jazz band, Alex has absolutely awesome energy. He is a young man whom I admire for his genuine love for learning - his positive and supportive interactions with peers and his dedication not only for his progress but also to others. 

His music department leadership has been second to none. He is one of the most gifted performers, he is humble, yet he is brilliant. He always needs to support and encourage those around him - all done with a heart of gold. Alex is a real leader and a great role model for his peers. He is a stellar student who has had a significant impact on our school community on many fronts. He is very well deserving of this award."

Rami Madani, Head of School


About the Awards: The Valedictorian is the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average from 11th and 12th grades (four semesters). The Salutatorian has the second-highest cumulative average.

To be eligible for these distinctions:

  • A student must have attended ISKL for all four semesters before graduation.    
  • A student's grade point average (GPA) is computed at the end of these four semesters and includes all courses except Teacher's Aide.


The Robert B. Gaw Citizenship Award, Senior Class, awarded to: Hana Helmy Abbas Elsaid Elsoda

"Hana is such a positive force in and out of the classroom. Hana is humble, well rounded, and always there when you need her - she always looks to raise others around her, a true ambassador.

Hana works well behind the scenes and has done great things for ISKL and other communities. She is an active member of the Fugee School, Girl Talk with MS students, the 24 Hour Race, STARS Admissions tours, exec of Faizal Cup, and raised more than RM 3000 running 150 km in her house during the MCO."

Erik Custer - HS Health/Physical Education Teacher, Becky Naughton - HS Social Studies Teacher and Matt Popovich - HS Social Studies Teacher

About the Award: The Robert B. Gaw Citizenship Award is intended for students who demonstrate exemplary citizenship and is given to one student at each grade level. The award, sponsored by the PTA, is named in honor of Robert B. Gaw, who served as Headmaster at ISKL from 1970-1978.

The criteria for the award is as follows:

  • Nominee exemplifies the international aspect of the school. He/she interacts positively with others and shows an appreciation for nationalities other than his/her own.
  • Nominee demonstrates courtesy to teachers, staff, and fellow students and shows respect for others' rights.
  • Nominee demonstrates a positive attitude and willingness to support in-classroom and extracurricular projects and activities.
  • The nominee is gracious in dealing with success as well as disappointment.
  • A student can only win this award once.


The Hee Won Bahk '94 Award for International Understanding awarded to: Tanmay Gupta 

"An extraordinary person, well rounded, and of impeccable character, Tanmay actively participates in and leads groups at school from IASAS to peer volunteers. He spends his summer break teaching Science back home in India to local school children."

Richard Martin, Social Studies/IB History/AP US History Teacher

About the Award: Hee Won Bahk, Class of 1994, was killed in the Highland Towers tragedy in December 1993. At the time of her death, Hee Won was the student body secretary, a member of numerous organizations (MUN, Forensics, NHS), ranked number two in her class, and was highly respected by her peers and faculty. Although the past recipients of the award have been Seniors, the Hee Won Bahk Award is not restricted to a particular grade level.

The following criteria reflect these and other outstanding attributes of Hee Won:

  • The nominee is a good representative of his/her own country, with a positive attitude toward the life and culture of others.
  • The nominee can converse in at least two languages.
  • The nominee is a contributing force in the life of the school, with the ability to bring different people together into a sense of community, thus furthering the cause of international understanding.


The Principal's Award awarded to: Evelyn Patricia Ramli 

"Evelyn demonstrates outstanding attributes of citizenship, international-mindedness, group unity, compassion, positive attitude, and humor.

She is full of spirit and kindness, is always thinking of others before herself, and has a heart-warming appreciation."

Jeff Farrington, HS Principal

About the Award: This is given at the discretion of the Principal on behalf of the High School faculty in recognition of an outstanding graduating senior who meets the following criteria: 

The recipient must:

  • Embody the spirit of the International School of Kuala Lumpur community
  • Be a consistent and outstanding contributor and performer within the academic and co-curricular program of the school
  • Be widely respected by peers and faculty
  • Demonstrate respect for ISKL's international character and diversity


The John G. Hadwen Award, Outstanding Senior, awarded to: Isabella Joanna Jokela     

"A truly remarkable individual and outstanding young lady. Her leadership and organizational skills are phenomenal. Without question, she is the person most of the high school looks to when they need to get things done. Success. A fantastic leader of SLT, of MUN, and her forensic team. Impresses everyone she meets and has the respect of the entire school."

Lisa Jensen-Hengstler - HS English/TOK Teacher, and Paul Hengstler - HS Social Studies/IB History Teacher

About the Award: This award is presented to the most outstanding graduating senior, the student who has made the most positive and dynamic overall impact on the ISKL community. Outstanding contributions can be demonstrated by the recipient in the fields of service, scholarship, sportsmanship, and character. The award winner must have spent at least the whole senior year at ISKL. Mr. Hadwen was the Canadian High Commissioner to Malaysia from 1967- 1972.

Please find the criteria related to this distinction:

  • Scholarship: At least a 6 GPA average in the senior year.
  • Leadership: Class or school officer, club or committee chairman, team captain.
  • Character: Willingness to accept responsibility, initiative, mature judgment, able to carry a project to completion, willing to take risks, and make a positive difference in the lives of others.
  • Sportsmanship: A competitive spirit in athletics, drama, music, and forensics, combined with a sense of fair play. 


PTA Visual & Performing Arts awarded to: Rebecca Yenn Kay Chan 

"Rebecca, you've excelled as an IASAS Drama, Film, and Tech delegate. Musically, you have introduced ISKL to the world in answering the call to unite. As your theatre teacher, I admire your versatility. In two short years, you've contributed in every way, maximizing every opportunity and production role. Mr. Miles shares: “You are a force to be reckoned with - you mean business’. Mr. Cee says: ‘You’re kind, courageous, and clever. You easily win the respect of your peers and teachers’. Mrs. Baird says: ’Working with you is like working with an extremely competent colleague. Your standards are high, creative ideas abundant, and your work and output exemplary’. Ms. Palko says: ‘You do technical theater, drama, music, and you can dance to. This is what makes you an outstanding performer - you’re a quadruple threat!’. On behalf of all of us, Rebecca, we thank you for your passion, leadership, and zeal."

Timothy Howe, Theatre Manager / HS Theatre Teacher

About the Award: A junior or senior who demonstrates outstanding creative performance and superior ability in the arts will be the recipient.


Scott Smith Memorial '76 Award, Outstanding (Male), awarded to: Reeve Woodward 

"In thinking about what to say to honor Reeve, there's two things that stand out in my memory. The first takes me back to when Reeve was a freshman, we were down to only eight healthy players, and we decided to bring up four freshmen students. Reeve immediately became a starter and earned his spot to represent us at IASAS that year. Reeve, thank you for four incredible years coaching you at basketball, you are a wonderful young man, a wonderful athlete, so deserving of this award." 

(Coach) Wesley Pike, HS Math Teacher

"You have one excellent attribute that I want all volleyball players to have, and that is your belief in your skills. Volleyball, for me, is the ultimate team sport, you are a fine player Reeve, and you have some fine players around you. Congratulations to you and all the boys on winning the silver medal, and congratulations again on winning the Scott Smith award."

(Coach) Shane Graham, HS Science / IB Chemistry Teacher

"I've known Reeve ever since he was in Grade 4. I've coached him in U11 basketball for two seasons - two championships. Freshman year, Reeve decided to play baseball. I've known Reeve and coached Reeve since he was in 4th grade, and it's easy to give him the Scott Smith award." 

(Coach) Max Mangelsdorf, ES PE/Health Education Teacher

About the Award: This award is presented to the outstanding female and male athlete of the year. The award is named after Scott Smith, an exceptional student-athlete who was killed in an automobile accident in 1980. The Scott Smith award is decided based on Athletic Ability, Leadership, Sportsmanship. The coaches select the Scott Smith Awards. The eligibility criteria for the Scott Smith Award are participating in at least two varsity sports. 


Scott Smith Memorial '76 Award, Outstanding Athlete (Female) & Troy Marschang ’07 Award awarded to: Wen Li Yau 

 "What's most commendable for you is that not only are you a 4-year IASAS athlete in other sports but in track, the hardest one for seniors to stay committed to. Not only did you do it, but you got better every year up until your final year, and you captained our team in what was probably the most challenging year we had. You are a superstar, and I am so grateful for having coached you for the last four years." 

(Coach) Tina Casey, HS IB English Teacher

"I cannot think of a better athlete to represent our school with these two awards, nor can I think of another athlete to have represented our school and ISKL Panthers at IASAS throughout all three seasons, on top of musical IASAS. To balance all the leadership responsibilities that you take on, and doing all three sports without quitting, without faltering, without not wanting to be a leader or captain on the team because it's simply too much, you never falter, you are such a rock. You are always the athlete I can count on. I know that you will do the same in your future years at university no matter what you set your mind to, and you will do it with that infectious laugh, your wonderful smile, and grace." 

 (Coach) Chandra Pike, ES Grade 2 Classroom Teacher 

"I joined ISKL when you were just a freshman, and I can't think of anyone better to have spent these four years with. Your passion, enthusiasm, and dedication flow over to all that you do - and that's a lot. You played three varsity sports each year for the past four years, and you managed to take a music class each semester for four years while taking the full IB program. You were able to do all these things while remaining true to yourself and your values. Being an amazing friend and constantly encouraging and including others. You are truly someone who did High School right, and I am so proud of you receiving these two major sports awards." 

 Jaymin Baird, HS Choral Music Teacher

 About the Award: The Troy Marschang Award is presented to the senior who participated in the most IASAS events during his/her ISKL high school career. It is dedicated to the remembrance of Troy Marschang, a 2007 graduate, who participated in 17 IASAS tournaments/conventions from 2004-2007


Departmental Book Awards / Creative Technology awarded to: Joss Alexander Schubert 

 "This tech whiz has been involved in all major ISKL tech productions, from food-tech to video production classes. He's not only extremely creative, but he's always looking for ways to push the envelope further. He's always there to assist and help others with his talent and skills. In food tech, he went beyond; he had to put his personal touch to every recipe that he made."

Sylvain Jacques, HS French Teacher


Departmental Book Awards / English awarded to: Sera Maryam Binti Ahmad Fuad 

 "Sera Fuad is a dedicated English scholar, an amazing exegete, and essayist, an innovative and creative presenter. Sera's a class leader; I use her work almost weekly for the rest of the class to follow. Sera is not only an excellent student but an excellent person."

Grant Venables, IB English/Literature Teacher


Departmental Book Awards / Mathematics awarded to: Tanmay Gupta

 "Tanmay gets both the effectiveness of applied mathematics and its beauty in its pure form. It's not only your achievement in this subject that earns you this reward. Above all, it's your curiosity, for questions in mathematics are always more interesting than answers.”

Michael Ortiz, IB/AP Coordinator & IB Math Teacher


Departmental Book Awards / Performing Arts awarded to: Sera Maryam Ahmad Fuad

 "Sera's progress has just been stellar. She's improved in ways that most people would say somebody could not, or that's impossible, or" who is she". She has serious talent, but there's something more - she has this superb moral compass."

Vincent Cee, MS/HS Music/Strings, IB Music Teacher


Departmental Book Awards / Science awarded to: Tanmay Gupta

"What sets this winner apart is the level at which they have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of Science and applying theory in a practical context. Interested in all things, having a genuine thirst for understanding, Tanmay loves sharing knowledge with others. A great communicator,he spent his summer sharing his knowledge of Science with others. Most importantly, Tanmay is a dependable classmate, has sound of character, and is humble in his ways. "

Todd Brown, HS IB Physics/Design Technology Teacher


Departmental Book Awards / Social Studies awarded to: Isabella Joanna Jokela

"Her consummate work ethic, her intellectual passion for social studies subjects, the depth of her contributions to the social studies department, Isabella is the kind of student teachers love to have. Isabella is a young lady inspired by ideas, but also a person inspired by action. No doubt, there are many in ISKL who would rest easy at night if she were to be managing the current global crises. She truly personifies the essence of what it means to be a socially responsible global citizen."

Richard Martin, Social Studies/IB History/AP US History Teacher


Departmental Book Awards / Visual Arts and Film awarded to: Ishita Arora

"Winners of this award demonstrate diligence and excellence in the Visual Arts, and this year's candidate is the epitome of those descriptors. Ishita has worked diligently and humbly in the learning of the visual arts, pursuing excellence in the highest level possible."

 Jo Tilton, High School Art Teacher

Congrats again to all the recipients of the Senior Awards 2019-2020. We are immensely proud of all your achievements and wish you all the success for your future endeavors!

Here's the full video recap from the livestream which featured all HS faculty members announcing and awarding the recipients.

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