ISKL Graduation Ceremony Celebrate Student’s Learning Journey

ISKL believes that learning is a lifelong journey and for the Class of 2019 the journey is about to begin beyond the school’s Ampang Hilir campus. With over 400 acceptances received from international universities, ISKL graduates will soon be heading off to study in 14 countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong. 

This major milestone in the learning journey of the 159 graduating Seniors, was celebrated recently at ISKL’s Graduation Ceremony which was attended by more than 600 family members, guests, ISKL board members, faculty and administration. In an opening address, Head of School, Dr. Norma Hudson congratulated the graduates on their “amazing accomplishments” and asked them to “reflect upon the family - your parents, siblings, friends, and teachers - that you have here, and the fact that there will always be people who deeply care for you and will support you in the future as they have in the past”. Dr. Hudson also urged students to also “Enjoy the successes that you will face. Cherish them. Hold on to them. And, reflect upon them with grace and humbleness”.

The ceremony embodied the spirit of ISKL with performances from the graduates themselves including an emotional rendition of ‘You Raise Me Up’ by the Senior Choral Ensemble.  This was followed by an inspiring address by Justin Woo, a graduating student and President of the Student Council who reflected on the importance of time as the students progress through High School: “Time has fundamentally changed us. It has served as the heat in our kiln, steadily baking us over the years for us to emerge transformed. When we first entered the Ampang campus, we were wide-eyed and unmarked, not knowing what the next four years would bring us. Today, we sit before you as future economists, budding filmmakers and soon-to-be cadets, as well as much, much more. Our time here has exposed us to experiences and opportunities few are fortunate to receive, and has nurtured and solidified our passions into awaiting career paths”.

The message of continued growth and learning was echoed by High School Social Studies teacher, Dr. Rebecca Naughton who shared the following words in her Graduation Address:    “Class of 2019, you have arrived at the end of your high school career, you are starting out the next level of your game of life. For some of you that is pursuing more education either here in Malaysia, back in your home country, or in a new country altogether. For others of you, it is continuing your service to your fellow man, whether in Singapore, AmeriCorps or somewhere else. And for still others of you, it is taking a year, or two, to work, to travel.

“No matter what your next step is, whether you know what you are doing, don’t have a clue or are somewhere in between, you will be off to gain more perspective on what you want next out of your life. And that is actually my hope for  all of you, that you never stop seeking perspective and that you remember, and you are more than one perspective, more than just your scores or grades, more than what your parents, teachers or friends perceive you to be, more than what your college application says you did. These may be the accomplishments we have celebrated, but you are much more, and there is so much more that is important in life. You are ready to be you, and that You will constantly change, if you allow it, so stay open for those new perspectives. Never close yourself off to learning and empathizing with others.”

Dr. Naughton’s address was followed by the presentation of ISKL High School Diplomas to the graduates by Ms. Kelly O’Hale, Chair of ISKL’s Board of Directors and Dr. Hudson. ISKL’s “Lifers” were also recognized with a special Award. This year, seven graduates joined a unique group of students who have been enrolled at ISKL throughout their school life:  Sabrena Badaruddin Jalil (Prep Senior), Sam Christopher Brannan (Prep Junior), Shagun Dhaliwal (Prep Senior), Samuel Alexander Milton (Prep Reception), Maya Octoman (Prep Senior), Park Jae Yong (Prep Senior), and Rian Conor Mulakala Ward (Grade 1).

The Ceremony ended with the Class of 2019 throwing their caps in the air in a gesture that symbolizes the end of their school days.  Or, as Dr. Naughton observed: “You have arrived at the finish line. Or, the start line, depending on how you look at it. Is this an end or a beginning? That’s the thing with life, everything changes depending on the perspective you look at it with, and there is not just one right way to look. Perspectives. It is our perspective on life that matters most”.

From an ISKL perspective the Class of 2019 has become part of its own educational learning journey and the motto “Once a Panther, Always a Panther” now holds true for these graduates as they are welcomed into ISKL’s alumni community.


About Dr. Norma Hudson

Dr. Norma Hudson will finish her six-year tenure as the Head of School at The International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July 2019. Dr. Hudson holds an Ed.D (Doctorate of Education) in Educational Leadership, an M.A. in Education and a B.A. in Music Education.

About Dr. Rebecca Naughton

Dr Naughton is a High School Social Studies teacher and has worked at The International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since 2017.  She holds a PhD in Professional Studies in Education, an M.A. in Education Administration, an M.A. in Economics, and a B.A. in Social Science.

About Mr. Justin Woo

Justin Woo recently completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at The International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is intending to study at Brown University, United States.