Celebrating ISKL’s 55th anniversary this year has given our community the opportunity to focus not on the challenges of the pandemic, but on the many things that make our ISKL community strong and positive. Fifty-five may usually be considered middle age, but we proved this year that ISKL truly is “55 Years Young”.
To commemorate this special year, we commissioned our unique ISKL 55th Anniversary Gold and Pewter Panthers. Made at the iconic Royal Selangor workshop and embellished with the ISKL batik, these beautiful panthers have found their way to the homes of ISKL families and alumni around the world. Some were delivered as surprise gifts, including three panthers purchased by alumni from the Class of 1978 who selected three of their most impactful teachers as recipients: Bob and Nancy Taniguchi, Charles Longbottom, and John Stupka. All proceeds from their sale support the ISKL Development Fund. A special fundraiser using the panthers in April and May 2021 to help complete our new Elementary Rooftop Playground proved so successful that we exceeded our target. Our Gold Panthers have sold out, however Pewter Panthers are still available at https://alumni.iskl.edu.my/shop/product/10.
While access to campus was patchy, our Middle School Art students leapt at the chance early in the year to install 55 Banksy-style stencilled panthers in and around the HS and MS decks. With artistic flair, and impressive stealth, the panthers seemed to appear overnight and are constant reminders now of our Panther Pride. For our younger students in Elementary, the same art students stencilled 15 panthers in the ES entrance, much to the young ones’ delight.
We sought our community’s input for our #ISKL55for55 campaign, asking students, parents, faculty, and staff both past and present to share their ISKL Magic Moments, #ISKLHopesForTheFuture, #ThingsWeLoveAboutISKL, and #ISKLChangingTheWorld. From IASAS dance performances to memories of the first ISKL campus at the Istana, learning about worms and insects in Prep Senior to memories of Malaysia Week, we gathered wonderful recollections and hopes. You can see them all here. We’re still collecting, so don’t be shy.
One word has cropped up consistently throughout the year: Gratitude. This may have been one of our most difficult years, but there is so much at ISKL to be grateful for. We decided to capture some of those sentiments, indeed 55 of them, in a time capsule video “ISKL 55 Years of Gratitude”. The video included submissions from all parts of the ISKL community, from our alumni students, faculty and staff who formed the foundations of our community in the early days, right across the decades until the present. It’s a shining reminder of what makes ISKL such an inclusive and empathetic community. Please enjoy “ISKL 55 Years of Gratitude” here.
This year has served up many instances where the words of poet Robert Burns, “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley” (To a Mouse), spring to mind. Despite needing a plan A, B and C for almost every activity, Three High School Juniors, Chelsea, Brayden and Irene, led the planning for a celebratory 55th Anniversary Fun Run in April, a fundraiser in support of the National Autism Society of Malaysia, initially hopeful that the run would be able to take place on campus. While that did not end up being possible because of government restrictions to campus access, almost 200 ISKL students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni, joined the run virtually, clocking and sending their times in from the many and varied places in which they were able to participate. Some chose alternative activities, and our students raised more than RM4,000 for a very worthwhile cause.
ISKL Alumni also collaborated with a group of High School juniors, Hyun Soo, WookYoung, Praveen and JooHyuk, on an ambitious plan to photograph a physically distanced 55, with students, teachers and staff, on the Zurich Field. It would be our final memento of this historic year. The math was intense! Grids were drawn, a drone and assistance from ES teacher, Max Wright sought, timetables examined and dates set, plans for distancing discussed. Then the inevitable happened, and implementation of the MCO3 put an end to our dreams. The students’ perseverance, adaptability, and positivity throughout the process was admirable and prompted us to find another way to celebrate the year.
Please enjoy our ISKL 55th Anniversary Celebration Mosaic; a reminder of the people at the heart of our community and our Panther Pride as we look to the next 55 years of ISKL!
Once a Panther, Always a Panther!