Panthers Of ISKL #20 - The Outgoing PTA Co-presidents Featuring Kristine Orlando-Martinez And Lisa Phinney
This week we caught up with dynamic duo Kristine Orlando-Martinez and Lisa Phinney, who have held the position of Co-Presidents of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) for the 2019-2020 academic year. The bustling PTA Committee has been very busy organizing events and activities all year round such as the fundraiser Celebrates!, and can also be counted on for assisting with New Parents and working with PTA volunteers.
Kristine and Lisa will both be leaving the ISKL community this year and will be sorely missed.
Here are their stories.
"I am Canadian and had been living in Houston, Texas, for the last 17 years before my family, and I took the incredible journey to Kuala Lumpur two years ago! Our daughter is finishing Grade 7 this year, and we have LOVED Middle School at ISKL! Kuala Lumpur was our first international assignment.
‘I was fortunate enough to get involved with the PTA when I first arrived and served as the PTA Secretary last year, and I also had previous experience as a PTA President and held Executive positions at our previous school. I was excited to be able to fill some of my time serving ISKL and feeling like I could give back a little, as the school had given so much to my family and I.
‘To me, the role of a PTA President is doing what needs to get done! It is a unique role with the opportunity to work with so many other PTA volunteers who are incredible.
‘It was also humbling to be part of something so significant to our ISKL Community. A sound foundation was set up by past volunteers, leaders, and stakeholders, which enabled us to keep many traditions alive.
‘There are so many great memories at ISKL, and it isn't easy to choose! One of the highlights of the year would be working with New Families during the New Parent Information Sessions. I am so proud of the work ISKL and the PTA does to welcome new families. I can easily recall feeling so appreciative of that when my family first arrived.
‘This year it was a real honor to have the opportunity to pay it forward and help new families feel as instantly welcomed, and as an essential part of the ISKL community the way my family did.
‘Serving as the 2019-2020 Co-President of the ISKL PTA was an honor. My best words of advice for the incoming Presidents is - to have fun!!
What does Be All You Are mean to you?
“Be All You Are means always to be your best, give your most, and at the same time, help others around you shine!”
‘No matter your skills, experience, or background, there are innumerable ways to be involved at ISKL. The best advice I can give to new families is to read the Panther News and the PTA Weekly News and go to EVERYTHING in your first year - yes, everything!
‘Get a feel for what is going on in the community and where you can best allocate your time and energy. You don’t need to be a PTA President to make a difference - if you can devote one hour a week to ISKL, it will be a better place for it, and you will feel more connected to the ISKL community, and ISKL is a special place because of the parent’s involvement.
‘Kristine and I took over the role of President from our predecessor, and when ISKL needs you, and you love the community as much as we do, you step up! We have been Co-Presidents for one year, and although we had big shoes to fill, I think we have helped accomplish the PTA goals by playing to our individual strengths.
‘Kristine had been involved in the PTA Executive Committee as Secretary, and I had been involved in the PTA Booster Team, so we each came to the role with experiences, skills, ideas, and contacts that helped us further the community-building function of the PTA.
‘As Co-Presidents, our primary job is coordinating all of the wonderful volunteers. They help the PTA implement the numerous events and initiatives we have scheduled, making sure they have the support they need to make them happen.
‘The PTA is also always on the lookout for new ways to bring the ISKL community together. We work with the administration, faculty, staff, student, and parent communities to plan functions and initiatives that bring our ISKL family together. One of the main challenges is to try to fit them into a calendar that is already brimming with activities!
‘Some of my best memories at ISKL have happened in the gym, watching Maya, who started at ISKL in Grade 9 and my youngest daughter out of two, play volleyball and basketball. I often traveled to attend the IASAS Tournaments and sat amongst the sea of Blue and Yellow, chanting and drumming to spur on our ISKL Panthers! I was honored even to be the Panther mascot in one of the games! It is a point of pride that our supporters are always the loudest in the stands!
‘As a member of the PTA Booster Team, I loved being a part of the efforts to support the Athletics and Activities Department by coordinating Team Parents, procuring items for the Panther Hut, supporting on-campus tournaments with food stalls and welcome tables. ISKL spirit is my passion, and I will find it hard to give it up now that Maya is graduating!
“Although I hold a US passport, I have been out of the country for 23 years of my life. I was an expatriate kid, and now I am an expatriate adult, having lived in Iran, Kuwait, USA, Egypt, Australia, India, and Malaysia. So if anyone asks me, I like to say I’m from “Earth!”
‘As my time at ISKL comes to a close, and the virus continues to put plans on hold, I’m not sure yet what our future will be. I will enjoy taking Maya to the US in July and helping her get ready to enroll in University.
‘I hope to be able to return to KL and find a way to be involved at ISKL. I have blue and yellow blood, and ISKL is in my heart, so it will be tough to distance myself from that. In the meantime, I have just learned to crochet (a process of creating textiles by using a crochet hook to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other materials), so it might be time to buy some blue and yellow yarn!!”
What does Be All You Are mean to you?
“ISKL does a phenomenal job of encouraging each member of the community to explore, engage, and develop every aspect of their personality, life, and interests. There are myriad opportunities to do so on campus and within the community. There is no cookie-cutter route to success or accomplishment; each person finds a way to be their ‘best self’ at ISKL, whether you are an employee, parent, or student!”