The Audio Visual Club is in charge of Theater maintenance. They are responsible for creating the entire atmosphere of the stage and play a major component in the success of a show. From lighting, sound, microphones, and right down to the finite details, they are the backbone of every theater production. In the past, they were part of the drama club, in which the stage and lighting crew took part until 1983, when the Audio Visual club became its very own, led by Mr. Alex Chavez (alumni faculty ‘77-’87). Members began by learning how to operate the theater lights and sound and how to set up lighting scenes and sequences for plays, musicals and other theater events.
In 1990 they adopted the name “Sound and Light” and the club became a formal class conducted by Mr. Alan McLean (alumni faculty ‘87-’92). With the new upgrade, came new equipment. The improvements allowed students to easily raise and lower light bars, enabling them to quickly change alignments and create new lighting effects. One of this crew’s biggest achievements was creating a sunset and thunderstorms for the first time, followed by the ‘91 set-up of the CulCon where many compliments were given about the evenings’ set up, in particular, the student technicians, sound and light operators, and the stage crew.
In 2012 the Cultural Convention became three events (Music, Art/Dance/Drama/Tech, and Debate/Forensics). Finally in 2019-2020 Art and Film became its own event taking place in November with the other three conventions (Music, Dance/Drama/Tech, and Debate/Forensics) taking place in March. The IASAS tech crew that accompanies the drama team each year is the perfect display of a whole other form of talent - their work does not go unnoticed! Each year students contribute outstanding ideas and elements to the year’s performances. The theater tech team truly comes together behind the scenes to bring imagination to life. The tech students do so spectacularly and manage to blow away audiences each year with the final production.
When Dr Gail Schoppert arrived as administrator of ISKL in the summer of 1978, one of his first decisions was that “...we had to have a forensics tournament to hone the speaking and acting skills of our student body. My motivation, of course, was to give the opportunity to develop public speaking skills to ISKL students and those of other schools. In my view, no student should leave high school without the ability to give a cogent short speech to persuade”. Though the baton of hosting the tournament has been passed from year to year, the IASAS Forensics and Debate Conference continues to include the following five events: Extemporaneous Speaking, Debate, Impromptu speech, Original Oratory and Oral Interpretation. Like many of the athletics teams, these delegates employ their own techniques to de-stress and warm their facial muscles and vocal chords which in the past included standing in a circle making weird noises, singing 2000’s pop songs and even rapping. 1983 was its first year as a formal club. The Forensics team had many committed and helpful sponsors in it early years including: Mrs. Patricia Buck, Mrs Merrily Van Zevern, Mrs. Gloria Lubon, Miss Anne Hamilton, Mrs. Judith Pearce and Dr. Gail Schoppert. Their hard work and dedication laid the groundwork for many years ahead.
Though Debate and Forensics went virtual in 2021, each participant in the four categories worked extremely hard and adapted very well to the new online setting. The speeches were recorded, then uploaded. The debate portion was held via zoom. The need to multitask, research, and think on your feet can make IASAS forensics both incredibly fun and demanding. Congratulations to the 2022 speech and debate team on a successful three day weekend where ISKL placed in extemporaneous, impromptu, original oratory and oral interpretation. We extend our congratulations to the efforts of the talented Debate team who competed with their heads held high in the most excellent fashion!
In the first year of the Cultural Convention (CulCon), 1983, Mr. Alex Chavez who led the high school mixed choir group stated “With luck, ISKL will be able to participate more fully in the IASAS Cultural Fair [what is now known as Cultural Convention] and a large music festival can be staged. Many choirs will be able to perform and then sing en masse”. The next school year Mr. Chavez also said that the chorus enrollment was the largest since the first high school group was organized in 1978. In 1986, ISKL had the opportunity to be the host and the choir members were involved in a mass concert with the other five international schools - this goes to show that in addition to athletics, IASAS exhibits and embraces exciting new artists and academic leaders year after year!
The music portion of the Cultural Convention is divided into two sections: vocal and instrumental. The mass band in 1989 was enormous - over twenty flutes, seven oboes, seven trombones, and lots of trumpets. Stephanie Cox (‘90), a flute soloist said “I couldn’t even see the trumpets”. Gabriela Hawkes (‘18) expressed “I have participated in this event for the past two years, and I always come back incredibly motivated and inspired to further develop my personal skills and abilities as a musician. There is something so special about the gathering of hundreds of students who all share the same love and appreciation for music. I wouldn’t trade my experiences at IASAS Music for the world, and I can say with confidence that the friendships that I made with my vocals team and musicians from other schools will last a lifetime”.
In early March 2022, 30 talented, adaptable, and passionate musicians took part in two virtual days and one in-person day over this past week. Students prepared for solo, octet, and large ensemble events for months leading up to the convention and their final performances deserved a standing ovation! In early March 2022, 30 talented, adaptable, and passionate musicians took part in two virtual days and one in-person day. Students prepared for solo, octet, and large ensemble events for months leading up to the convention and their final performances deserved a standing ovation!
When Ms.Aggie Brenneman joined the ISKL physical education department in 1979 she offered the first movement and dance courses. Ms Karen Palko continued to build this program when she began in 1983, and through her creativity and endless energy, dance has become an integral part of the fine arts program in high school and middle school. The Cultural Convention (CulCon) started at the same time as the IASAS athletics tournaments in the 1982-1983 school year. IASAS Dance only started the following school year in 1983-1984. The first contingent of dancers that was sent to CulCon was a Tarian Lilian (a candle dance). Karen laughs as she remembers, “The funny thing is, because it was called Cultural Convention and it was our first year participating, we sent a team dressed literally in traditional costume to do a cultural dance. It wasn't until we saw what the other teams were doing that we realized it wasn't what we had interpreted at all!” After that, each year ISKL holds auditions for IASAS Dance, an opportunity for students to express their artistic ‘voice’ through their performance as well as participate in a variety of dance workshops.
The dance and panther legend herself, Ms. Palko elaborates “CulCon Dance started out as a competition, but soon after reverted to a collaboration and a sharing experience as opposed to a competition.” Dancers put their 20-minute performances together and perform both at our home schools and at CulCon in front of an audience. Then they receive feedback from the dancers from participating IASAS schools as well as professionals in the field.”
Upon reflection, Ms. Palko says "CulCon IASAS Dance has come a long way from the very first year. It's hard to believe that we can have 40 years of dance shows at six schools 'barely' repeating any themes! That's 240 dance performances! Not to mention the other dance shows that we each have at our respective schools! It's a testament to the creativity and challenge that IASAS provides for our students. I love the CulCon. Being able to watch 12 different shows each year is extraordinary!”.
This year, the ‘22 IASAS Dance team performed Butterflies and were thrilled with their experience. The students watched the other shows, participated in dance workshops and bonded in ways that they hadn’t been able to experience before.
What was once a single event hosted at a single school developed and evolved over the years. First, it was split into two events in the school year of 1988 - 1989. Then, in 2019, it split into three in 2012, to finally distinguish Art and Film as their own event in November, and the other three conventions (Music, Dance and Drama, Tech, and Debate and Forensics) which take place in March. IASAS Drama is an ensemble of student actors and technicians who devise a 45-minute show, showcase it at ISKL, and finally bring it to the annual Cultural Convention (CulCon) early in the year. Theater teaches the artists and audience to have passion and compassion for one another. It is an opportunity to have an artistic voice which provides artists with a rewarding experience both on and off-stage. The Drama club was first formed in 1969, and has been fortunate enough to continue its existence from the first CulCon until present. In 1986, ISKL had the good fortune of hosting the IASAS CulCon which directed the spotlight on drama, chorus, music, dance and forensics.
Sadly by the time 2020 IASAS Drama and Tech were due to perform their piece entitled “Be” at the Singapore American School (SAS), the Covid-19 Movement Control Order in Malaysia was in full effect. The 2019 ISKL IASAS Drama Tech team’s “Tales from Watership Down” which included elements of cute bunnies, blood and well, drama, was therefore the final maskless performance.
Members of the productions work extremely hard. Those endless hours together is what brings the teams closer together. “The end result has been the most satisfying and memorable part of this experience. Simply getting on stage and stirring nostalgia in many people is quite rewarding” explained Nengvanghoi Hangsing (‘21). Though the past two years have been virtual, “The show must go on!” This love for performance, and motivation to become better actors has not stopped our thespians but instead has encouraged students to think outside the box. The 2022 Drama team collaborated with the Tech students to perform an adaptation of Lindsey Price’s “Emotional Baggage”. The students also tuned in online and on-site at the Robert B. Gaw theater for three fabulous days of learning and sharing with other thespians from the other IASAS schools.
Raissa Chernushenko (‘79) thinks of her time in the very first Chess South East Asian Forensics Tournament in 1979. “I had the honor of being part of the very first tournament and can attest to the huge role it played in boosting my confidence for public speaking and performance. I shied away from impromptu speaking but did love oral interpretation and duet acting, placing second along with Brent Blair (‘81). The most touching gesture was made by dear Gretchen Fountain, then Schoppert (‘81) who had placed first with her brother Peter. She decided that - since I was a Senior, and she would still have another chance the following year - that I should have her first place trophy. I still have it, and her generosity still warms my heart.”
This goes to show that the only thing you can expect when going into any club at ISKL is to have NO expectations. Join with an open mind as it may lead you to try new things as it did for Raissa who, from Chess Club also went on to join Forensics, Drama and Choir concluding her experience with “I came out of my shell at ISKL”.
Chess Club was formed as early as 1969 however was missing-in-action as of 1977 and did not reappear in the yearbook until the 1980-1981 school year where the ISKL “chess-nuts” held a weekly series of military clashes over a sixty-four square battle-field. Visiting experts shared their gaming knowledge and tournament play was frequent. Pictured in the IASAS post from left to right is the first team - Danny Leong (‘81), Gene Gagliano, president (‘81), Emmanuel Agnir (‘82), Lawrence Yen (‘81) and missing from the picture, David Gagliano (‘83).
You may not like it but it's practically all around you! The formation of the Math Club was sparked by student interest in 1980. It was encouraged by Mr. Carl Jagdeo. Members met once a week to take practice tests for bigger competitions such as the Junior Math test set by the University of Waterloo, Canada. The first group pictured in the ‘80’s Harimau were Lars Wilson (‘82), Carol Yao (‘81), David McClung (‘82), Brewster Campbell (‘82), Melinda Tong (‘81) and advisor and coach, Mr. Jagdeo.
In 2020 the IASAS Mathematics team, managed by Aryan Mishra (‘20), club President, and Hyun Seo Lee (‘21), club Vice President made history by placing second place, the highest ranking in ISKL IASAS Mathematics history! As years passed and the teams developed, those keen mathematicians present at ISKL had the opportunity to join different competitions provided by what is now known as the Asian Math Club. ISKL placed 4th in 2021, “The IASAS Math competition is based on the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) which is held globally”, expressed Joo Hyuk K. (‘22), a participant of the 2021 online IASAS event. Lydia L. (‘22) who received the highest score amongst the IASAS students said “I was shocked when I found out about my score on the AMC – it was so unexpected! At the same time, I was thrilled with the results and that my efforts had paid off. In a way, this is my contribution to the ISKL community.” Lydia and the rest of the ISKL team Coached by Seth Taylor earned 4th Place overall in IASAS last year.
The first time ISKL hosted the IASAS Tennis tournaments was in 1992 - 1993 at the old Ampang Campus (Jalan Kolam Ayer Lama). Since then, ISKL has had the opportunity to host another six times to date. Both teams were competitive that year and though the girls only placed fifth and the boys fourth that season, each player was proud of their willpower and dedication. The athletes walked off the court with their heads held high, more love for the game and gratitude extending thanks to those who came out and supported them when they really needed the boost. Those who were chosen for the team practiced tennis everyday enduring the hot and humid weather, “Our tennis team is united, spirited and in other words the best!” exclaimed Samira Sheikh (‘95).
Varsity Boys Tennis’ first gold medal was received in 1986, a year after the sport officially became part of the IASAS tournaments. Only a freshman at the time, most valuable player Martin Bulow (‘89) showed great potential to help ISKL be IASAS champions for three more years.
Though tennis is an individual sport, it took a team effort to reach the gold! Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2nd season IASAS Tennis Championships did not take place in 2020 - 2021 but junior and senior athletes had a fantastic opportunity to represent their team in their jerseys, commemorating their passion for athletics, in a collage printed in the 2021 yearbook.
ISKL Swimming had wonderful back-to-back IASAS wins in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The varsity girls swim team became IASAS champions for the first time in ISKL history in Singapore in 1998. To get a glimpse into how tough their daily training regimens were, the swim teams practiced after school five days a week ending at exactly 5:15 pm and if their Coach Lynn Kelley felt they needed more practice they were required to drag themselves from bed and be in the pool by 6:00 am for an hour and a half. To take their mind off their sore muscles and drowsiness they would count each of their stretches in a different language, “Uno-dua-san-shi-oh-six-huit-agt!”. “It was a great season. Every swimmer swam their personal best with times many of them didn’t think they were capable of. It was wonderful for the girls that those personal bests accumulated into an IASAS victory!” expressed ‘98 Coach, Lynn Kelley. The Varsity girls’ most recent win was 2012, coached by Brian Candler (current faculty). Then Captain Ali Wheeler (‘12) “Winning by 0.5 had never happened in the 30 years of IASAS swimming and as we stood around the edge of the pool to hear the results, we couldn’t believe the girls had just won IASAS. Finally beating the IASAS Girls Swimming streak at SAS who had won for 13 years. With all the records broken, the ISKL girls’ varsity team had a season that will never be forgotten”.
The Varsity Boys Swim team had a wonderful back-to-back winning season in 1995 - 1996 and 1996 - 1997. Looking back at a group image of the 1996 - 1997 IASAS ISKL swim teams at Jakarta International School (JIS), Nicholas Aghajanian (‘96) reflects on the importance of each and every coach involved, “That's a good story too. We were only supposed to have two coaches travel with us, but we petitioned hard to include Mr. Leep Beng Goh (alumni staff ‘76 - ‘07) because he was an integral part of our team”. Today, Coach Lynn Kelley comments “ I Have probably coached 50 different teams/seasons and none compared to this. A testament to hard work, shared vision and not letting other people’s expectations define you”.
Since all after school activities remained on hold due to long COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 - 2022 IASAS Athletic Directors decided to hold a Virtual IASAS swim meet. ISKL’s Director of Aquatics, Coach George Carpouzi explained “Each school would hold their own swim meet and then the times from all schools would be collated to get the full results. ISKL held their virtual meet on February 24th during the school day. All our swimmers had a rewarding experience even though it rained during the whole meet! Teachers brought their classes to the meet to cheer our ISKL Aqua Panthers on!”
Touch Rugby followed suit making its first appearance the 1998-1999 school year at the Taipei American School (TAS) where the varsity girls team placed fifth. The first year did not distinguish between Junior Varsity and Varsity and shared practices throughout the season but only ten chosen ladies traveled to TAS. Amber Snider (‘00) described the sport, “It’s not really fun to watch, but it’s a lot more fun to play. In soccer, there’s always one person who moves with the ball but in touch, we all move together with the ball. There’s a lot of strategies involved. You have to keep tossing the ball backward in order to get ahead. You have to be really agile”. 2002 was the first year that ISKL varsity touch won their well-deserved gold medal! This team was led by Coaches Chad Bates (alumni faculty ‘99 - ’08) and Alex Smith (alumni faculty ‘00 -’14) and anyone who had the opportunity to train with this great duo would definitely remember how they shaped their athletes. By the end of the grueling sessions, agility, stamina, fitness and strategy were down pat, but they always had “something fun” in their pockets to really turn those legs to jelly, like those dreaded “green monsters”. Coach Chad expressed “From the very start of the season there was a feeling of anticipation that this would be our year, and it would seem an appropriate time to win with the last of the foundation touch footballers graduating” which made all the training worth the golden touch in 2002; a winning feeling that the varsity girls champions, led by Coach Jeff Moorhead (current faculty) in the most recent 2019 “Double Gold” season can relate to. Coaches play an integral role in each IASAS sport/cultural convention so thank you to all the coaches who took and continue taking the time to share their knowledge with passionate athletes! **Note: What is a green monster? A drill to finish a training session on a high note - this incorporated pairing up and lining up five meters from either the green fence that surrounded the old Ampang Campus field or the blue padded wall in front of the fan stands. At the sound of the whistle, the first row partners run up to “make the touch” on the barrier and run backward while the second row of partners prepare to run forward when their partner reaches them. It wasn’t until your partner returned that it was considered as one rep and there was no stopping until you had reached the chosen number of reps.
Rugby and touch rugby were two of the sports that joined the IASAS competitions at a later date. Rugby debuted in 1997-1998, and ISKL had the honor of being the first school to host the IASAS Rugby championships! Coincidentally, the varsity boys team led by then Activities and Athletics Director, Coach John Smith (alumni faculty ’96-’05) won gold that year! ISKL boys rugby continued this golden combination of winning and hosting in 2000, 2013, and again in 2019. The 2019 season was called the “Double Gold” for a reason! It was a very special year for the varsity rugby and varsity touch rugby teams as both won gold on home turf. “My favorite memory was the second after the whistle blew in the championship game. Knowing what the team had accomplished in front of our friends and family is beyond explainable” said Austin Griffin (‘19). Anna Thorne (‘20) added “There is never a dull moment during this season because the girls are always so positive and we can always have a laugh about stupid things together”. It's the moments like these that athletes live for.
ISKL was part of the very first IASAS basketball tournament hosted at the Singapore American School (SAS). The first time ISKL hosted the tournament was in the school year of 1983-1984. Though Bangkok dominated, winning both the girls and boys trophies that year, Panthers supported each other on and off the court with positivity and along with all five international schools, displayed excellent sportsmanship throughout the three-day tournament! The first recorded gold medals that the ISKL varsity boys basketball won were in 1994 and the team celebrated big with the cutting of the basketball hoop’s net for a keepsake, and of course, a team lift of their then, drenched in water guru and coach, Coach Frederick Miller. The varsity girls recorded their first medal win in 1985 and with a trophy to go with it, the girls could still not hide their winning smiles behind it. 2015-2016 was the most recent year that ISKL hosted the IASAS Basketball Tournament and the SAS Eagles claimed victory for both boys and girls but the road is always onward and upwards for our Panthers!
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