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News > Profiles > ISKL Alumni Pitching In for Celebrates 2020!

ISKL Alumni Pitching In for Celebrates 2020!

Part of being an “always” Panther, is giving back to the school that shaped characters, provided wonderful opportunities and holds so many great memories.
14 Feb 2020
Michael Grossman ('09)
Michael Grossman ('09)

“Once a Panther, Always a Panther!” isn’t just a snappy slogan, it’s how our Alumni feel about ISKL. And part of being an “always” Panther, is giving back to the school that shaped characters, provided wonderful opportunities and holds so many great memories. That attitude extends to supporting this year’s Celebrates Gala, our ISKL PTA’s largest fundraising event of the year.

Many ISKL families know Michael Grossman (Class of ‘09), but probably don’t recognize that name. Better known as SCUBA Mike, Michael started his career as a commercial diver in the US, before returning to Malaysia in 2017 and establishing SCUBA Mike’s which now provided dive courses for the Middle School Malaysia Week program. Michael has generously donated two open water licenses for the auction. He says, “ISKL and especially my teachers, gave me a world of support growing up. I wanted to pass that on to the next generation. I want today’s teachers and kids to always feel they have the resources they need.” Michael says ISKL played a large role in shaping the person he has become. He adds, “As a business owner, it helped build my communication skills, my ability to adapt to new situations and to better understand new cultures. I am a better leader today because of ISKL.”

Among the many great items that have been donated for the live and silent auctions at the gala are some very special lots donated by ISKL Alumni. Perhaps ISKL’s only pewtersmith, Stuart Helble (Class of ‘75), who recalls playing in the dredged tin mines on Jalan Ampang Hilir as a child, has donated items from his hand-crafted pewter selection. They include wine bottle coasters, bookmarks and olive oil dipping bowls. Stuart and his wife, Karen, who live in New Jersey, USA, have been working pewter for 39 years, with their own business largely selling online. In true ISKL spirit, Stuart sent the items on the very day he received the request, sending this simple message in reply: “Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

Another of the very exciting lots up for auction on March 7 has been donated by ISKL entrepreneur, Aziz Azman (Class of ‘03). Aziz moved back to KL last year, after several years studying and working in the USA, and launched a startup car subscription service; think Airbnb for cars. The donation of a full month, all inclusive, subscription for a 2019 Honda CRV is, according to Aziz, “One small way a young startup can contribute.”

Mulling over his close attachment to ISKL, despite having attended other schools, Azis says, “I studied in the UK, went to a British-run boarding school in Malaysia, then to ISKL. ISKL was a lot more open in terms of what you could study, with lots of extracurricular activities...and a broader perspective.”

Aziz spent 10 years studying and working away from Malaysia, firstly undertaking an economics degree at the University of Warwick, then a Masters in Entrepreneurial Management at Regent’s University London, and finally and MBA at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yet, he says the draw of ISKL for him has always been about the people. He explains, “I honestly think it’s the fact that I established such close friendships. My closest friends now are my classmates from 2001.”

Tickets to Celebrates are still available for sale from our wonderful PTA. Contact [email protected] or drop into the Panther Hut to purchase yours.

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