PANTHERS OF ISKL #6 - ALEX - THE ALL-STAR STUDENT
This week we sat down with Grade 12 student Alex (Jehseok) K., who was named Commended Student in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program!
Alex was among the 16,000 highest scorers in over 1.6 million students taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which recognizes students for their outstanding academic promise.
He scored 1490 out of 1520.
He is also the President of the Key Club, where he helps out the Zotung Refugee Catholic Learning Centre (ZRCLC), and as we found out, there is far more to Alex than his academic achievements.
"I have always taken great pride in my background.
'I was born in Boston, and since then have lived in six different cities and five different countries. Some of the cities I have lived in are Seoul, Muscat, Vienna, Boston, and now Kuala Lumpur.
'With my dad being a diplomat, we usually travel to a different country every two to three years.
'My dream university would probably be Princeton University, due to its International Public Policy program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I am interested in pursuing a degree in Financial Economics, connecting to Macroeconomic policies.
'Having been a part of the Young Investors Society, I had the chance to travel to Hong Kong and meet other students who are also interested in economic policy.
'I have been heavily influenced by one of the parents, Mr. Van Cott, who is involved in the Young Investors Society. He told me that to learn about a company; you need to learn about the culture of the country they are in.
'I also learned from him that finance is not just about being behind a computer, doing statistics.
'Another reason I am interested in finance is due to a conversation I had with an uncle of mine, regarding some of our family members who run small businesses and are affected by the financial crisis.
'This led me to read more books on this subject such as "Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity" by Michael Lewis - I became more interested in the relationship between businesses and banks, and how economic policy affects them.
'For my High School community partnership, I am the President of the Key Club, where we help out the Zotung Refugee Catholic Learning Centre (ZRCLC) - a Myanmar refugee community school under UNHCR.
'I teach students from the Chin refugee community once a week at the Key Club and also during weekends or holidays - teaching English, mathematics, and science.
'Some refugee students plan on moving to the US or Australia, so we help them not only with the English language but also what to expect from a new culture together with some necessary life skills.
'Besides that, to raise funds for a yearbook that we are helping them produce, we also organized a golf fundraiser on March 1, and as I am also a member of the Varsity Golf team, I was able to get many people interested in this cause.
'Besides that, I am also into jazz. Jazz at ISKL is such a tradition, and it is something that I love, so much so that from Grade 11, we started a student-led jazz band, so I looked around for people and put up posters everywhere around the school.
'At first, they were not accustomed to jazz music or even their instruments, but over time we were able to build our group, and the ISKL jazz band has such a diverse range of students from freshman to seniors.
'I am very proud of how the ISKL jazz band has grown into a family - and whether I am playing in the Jazz band, Jazz Concert Band or the Wind Ensemble, the saxophone will always be a central part of me. And if there is a song that I like, I will spend countless hours working and perfecting it.
'I have done a few gigs, most recently at IFest, the HS Elements Showcase, the Millennium Hotel, US General consulate, and the Jazz Night concert at Chamber 3.
'I am also an avid lover of traveling. Exploring different cultures and seeing whole fundamental ideologies and conceptions - I feel that I learn and gain insight from these experiences. By traveling around the world, it is my chance to digest all the different cultures and has helped shape my values.
'Life is rather busy, running around school and going to meetings. There are some days where I have gone without sleep. But I enjoy doing all these things that I am genuinely passionate about.
What does "Be All You Are" mean to you?
"We have a fantastic culture here at ISKL. To me, it means your ideas are not limited. The relationships and partnerships between students and teachers, and within our community and clubs - allow us all to be who we are. It is a motivation which can be taken into our future lives, where our ideas, can become a reality."