In honor of the 40th Anniversary of the IASAS association, we have covered all three seasons of IASAS competitions and conventions in 40 days. 40 years in 40 days is exhausting, but not nearly as exhausting as the punishing workouts the coaches put their players through in preparation, or the countless hours working on strategy for a chess competition, or nailing a dance routine. Extra-curricular activities are crucial in assisting students in developing and practicing interpersonal skills, improving self-esteem and building interest in new things, teaching time-management skills, encouraging community involvement, teaching persistence and follow-through, and generally supporting overall health and well-being.
Grades aren't the only way to determine growth. Students can learn in ways besides doing extensive reading and listening to their teachers' lectures. The skills they develop beyond the classroom often prove to be the most important life-skills they attain while in school. Some of these skills include discipline, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving amongst others.
Having a school sports and activity conference such as IASAS serves a variety of purposes, including offering frequent opportunities for member schools to compete in a relatively level playing field and contributing to each members' overall community well-being. The founders of IASAS created a conference that not only celebrated athletics, but included non-sport competitions such as Debate and Forensics, Art, Theater, Math, and Chess amongst others, that has grown over the years, adding new competitions to serve the needs of the students. This provided numerous students with the opportunity to find and develop their interests. The valuable skills gained while exploring a new area can ignite the passion for future pursuits, whether they participate in academic competitions, athletics, dance clubs, or music groups.
Current ISKL Athletics Director Ryan Naughton sums up the value of IASAS with this explanation, “During my time, we have hosted Badminton, Rugby/Touch, Model United Nations, Cross-Country, and Volleyball tournaments with 80-150 students attending from the other five IASAS schools from around Southeast Asia. With all the fanfare of an American high school state finals tournament or a rugby/soccer tour of Asia or Europe. The families of ISKL accepted these students into their homes, fed them, washed their clothes/uniforms, and created memories that ISKL alumni still talk about! During the pandemic, we have hosted virtual IASAS Music and virtual IASAS Debate and Forensics Cultural Conventions. All IASAS tournaments, virtual or in-person, are not as much about the sport or the activity as much as they are about the learning experience for the students.”
Read more about IASAS from Mr. Naughton in our most recent faculty spotlight, as well as in the Season 1 and Season 2 articles. And, standby for more IASAS lookbacks and celebrations as the 40th Anniversary celebrations continue into the new school year.
Students from the five IASAS schools led, collaborated and organized their first ever IASAS Service Conference in November 2020 in order to learn about each other’s work and approaches to Service learning. Then, seniors Eunji Ee (‘21) and Asha Octoman (‘21) spearheaded the planning, preparation, and participant recruitment for ISKL with assistance from the HS Service Council marketing committee and other ISKL stakeholders. The event was conducted virtually and students from other IASAS schools including ISB, JIS, SAS and ISM were able to come together and share their passions for service and sustainability during Covid-19. Through a variety of inspiring, informative workshops and interscholastic activities, participants were able to discuss and understand the processes taken by each school’s service council and the methods taken to conduct their club’s mission. Eunji and Asha also had a chance to voice their experience in their respective service and sustainability work at ISKL and in KL through Key Club, Earth Club, Service Council, food drive, etc.
The virtual IASAS Service event held at the beginning of the year in January 2022 marked another year of success, with the collaboration of the same schools. The eye-opening experience included five workshops from each school. Unlike other athletics and activities tournaments, the IASAS Service Conference is essentially a one-day event that consists of a presentation of various service projects that each school has supported, as well as workshops led by professionals to improve the quality and efficacy of service in the IASAS community. The main event of the conference is the 35 minute club collaboration session where students from the different clubs discuss and share what they do to reach a common objective related to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here, everybody truly is a winner, striving to be better, paving the way for a sustainable future!
The first ever IASAS Golf Tournament was held in Malaysia in 2013 at Saujana Golf Course with the finals at Bangi Golf Course. With hard work and dedication to preparation for IASAS, the boys won bronze and the girls placed fifth. This was an especially memorable year for athlete Jong Min Park (‘15) who was only a sophomore on the team and the gold medalist for the IASAS Boys category. He was also the recipient of the IASAS All Tournament Award. During the IASAS closing ceremony, the All Tournament award is given to the athlete or athletes who stood out the most during the three-day tournament. For some, being an All Tournament player comes as no surprise being stand-outs all season, but for others, being named All Tournament comes from performing exceptionally well in the games that many people consider to be the most important. Park stated “Golf has always been an important part of my life...Through the golf team, I was able to connect with other peers from different schools who shared the same interest, and I was able to compete competitively with other players. Also, the coaches from the golf team were always encouraging me to perform at my best and were always encouraging me to improve my game.” The first team was led by coaches Michael Egeland (faculty alumni ‘05-’15) and Scott Muir (faculty alumni ‘99-’15) who also coached the following 3 years together.
In 2016 Captain, and four-year IASAS Athlete, Seong Geun Park (‘16) said of his experience “ We weren’t able to win gold in the tournament, but we surely returned home with many valuable memories. I am absolutely looking forward to seeing how much further the team will improve next year. I can say without any hesitation that this was the best IASAS season that I had in four years.” An extension of special thanks went out to the coaches, who since the sport began in ISKL, took the time to go above and beyond to help each student perfect their strokes and form to perform their best! They took their time to practice twice a week as well as set a different course for students to compete on the weekend. Though 2019 was the final year IASAS Golf took place and 2020 was cut short due to Covid-19, we hope that it continues to grow in our community and makes a big comeback very soon!
In late March of the 1983-1984 school year the varsity softball and track teams competed in the second annual IASAS Softball and Track & Field tournament held at the International School of Bangkok (ISB). That year the Varsity Boys Track team won their tournament while the girls proudly placed third out of the five schools. ISKL varsity boys went on to win two more times in the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 school years. From the first day, each track participant was pushed to the limit - big hills, small hills, stairs, build-ups and the dreaded intervals were not only part of everyday after school practices but it also ran into the weekends, holidays and even spring break.
Of the girl’s track and field varsity teams the oldest records held are by Isabel Jantos (‘05) from 2004 and 2005, for her 100 meter and 200 meter events. “When I graduated from ISKL in 2005, I did not think that 18 years later I would still hold 2 ISKL Track & Field records. I remember those days quite fondly as if they happened just yesterday. Initially I didn't want to break records, I just wanted to win gold but one coach, Mr. Grant Millard (faculty alumni ‘00-’14) said I could break records. The day I broke the records, I was so exhausted after leaving it all on the track that it wasn't until someone told me my time and said "you broke a record" that it sunk in. If it wasn't for the encouragement of my coaches, these records would not have been broken by me. IASAS Track & Field was one of the best times I had at ISKL; friendships were made amongst the rivalry and the memories created will stay with me forever“.
Michael Dixon (‘97) earned a whopping four records in 1997, with three being conference-wide IASAS records that have yet to be broken. In fact, both Michael and fellow teammate Paul Guyan (‘96) qualified for the Malaysian National Championships. Paul also became the Selangor Champion in the 400m in 1997.
2019 was the final face-to-face IASAS track and field event attended by all six international schools at Taipei American School (TAS). ISKL had several celebrations; the Varsity Girls’ placed third and the Boys’ fifth. Three girls received the four-year IASAS award, one of which Marthanne Davis (‘19), won for volleyball and basketball too. Finally, a big hurrah was given to Zayley Holli (‘19) for tying an existing IASAS record in the women’s 800 meter event!
Though everyone may not win a gold, one of the greatest aspects of this sport is that there is always your personal best to beat and the pride an athlete feels once achieved. Individually and collectively as a team, the support and encouragement are unforgettable!
Will Track and Field follow in the footsteps of Season 1 athletics and activities and be brought to us in a fun online platform? Or better yet, will in-person events return in the 2022-2023 school year? We definitely have our fingers crossed!
ISKL Baseball and Softball were part of the very first IASAS Tournament that our school participated in during the 1982-1983 school year. The very first tournament was hosted by the Dragons at Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) where they dominated! ISKL hosted the tournament in the 1984-1985 school year. The 1990’s Girls’ Softball team led by coaches Gary McElroy and Jane Lowery, had a thrilling race toward their championship! The girls fought hard and long through the humidity and rain for their title and earned what they deserved. The varsity boys Softball team won their first gold in 2008. It was a spectacular season for those athletes! This season was full of obstacles, with injuries and unfortunate events from a broken collarbone, a bad case of laryngitis to a last minute trip of one of the players back to the United States a week before IASAS, but the boys and Coaches O’Leary and Peterson, fought hard on the path to victory. The team pulled through to overcome these difficulties, never losing faith in each other and truly believing in themselves and their teammates..
2019 was the final year for the IASAS Softball Tournaments before Covid-19 put a halt to the games. Though neither teams placed in IASAS both walked off the pitch in true Panther pride with heads up and smiles on their faces. Hanna Muse (‘19), captain of the varsity girls’ Softball team expressed “No matter how many games you win, or how few, what makes a season fun are the people you win or lose with, and sometimes, losing games can actually be more fun. This season is one to be missed by many, but more importantly, it’s a team that won’t be forgotten”. Captain of the Varsity Men’s Baseball team, Yongseok Lee (‘19) proudly stated “We came together as a team mentally and physically to reach our goal of winning a game at IASAS”.
Though badminton was one of the sports that had a club early in ISKL history dating all the way back to 1968, it only joined the IASAS tournaments at a much later date in the 1996-1997 school year. It was first hosted at Taipei American School (TAS). ISKL had the chance to host shortly after in 1998-1999. With a mix of fresh players, some who had never played before and others with very little experience, the team started out with nearly 50 players but only sixteen were chosen for the squad who practiced five times a week. Though both teams placed last the young athletes described the tournament as fun and a great learning experience! Richard Hession ('98) stated "This year's team members have been the pioneers in the ISKL badminton program and under the guidance of Mr. Tan, badminton can grow to be one of the biggest sports in the school." IASAS also gives the opportunity to win not only medals but also recognizes an All Tournament player, selected by all of the participating schools. One Panther, Bausch Koh ('20) was the recipient in 2019.
ISKL placed sixth for the first IASAS Badminton tournament but these team members were nevertheless the pioneers in the ISKL badminton program and built a solid foundation for the potential of badminton.
Fast forward to 2015 when ISKL won their first gold with the varsity boys Badminton team who won again in 2016. “I hope this year is just the beginning of our domination. Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts” concluded Shivam Yadav (‘16). Unfortunately due to Covid-19, 2019 was the final year that the badminton team participated in IASAS but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for those birdies to make their way back to the court!
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