1999 -Tracy Howard (nee Candler)
“I was very proud of winning the award, but I don’t think I realized what an honor it was and the significance of John G. Hadwen’s life.”
As with so many things in life, Tracy Howard (nee Candler), Class of 1999, didn’t realize at the time that receiving the John G. Hadwen Award for Outstanding Senior was such a significant achievement. Tracy remembers, “I was very proud of winning the award, but I don’t think I realized what an honor it was and the significance of John G. Hadwen’s life.”
Canadian John G. Hadwen had a distinguished diplomatic career, including serving as High Commissioner to Malaysia and Singapore and Ambassador to Burma from 1967-71. His sons Timothy (‘75), Peter (‘77), Matthew (‘77) and Anthony (‘79) attended ISKL during the family’s Malaysia posting. His career also saw him serve as Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan, High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to Nepal, and Director General of the East Asia Bureau during the 1970s and 80s.
The award recognizes a Senior student who has had the most positive and dynamic overall impact on the ISKL community in the fields of service, scholarship, sportsmanship and character. In her Senior year alone, Tracy was National Honor Society and a Peer Helper, and captained Varsity Soccer and Softball, as well as competing in Varsity Swimming. However, it was an opportunity for service, through a Habitat for Humanity trip to the Philippines in her Junior year, that she says she “…first found my driving force, I just didn’t realize it until years later.” Tracy explains, “The whole week we were serving and working hard to help the people of this village. We stayed with a local family and I remember feeling overwhelmed by their generosity. They had so little, and yet gave us so much. The week was sweaty and tiring, but so satisfying. I very clearly remember riding back to the mainland on the ferry, with an overwhelming sense of peace. Our host village was incredibly kind and gracious, in a way I had never experienced before. It was the cliche “wow, I have so much, I want to do more with it” response, but it was also a deeper desire for the joy that seemed to radiate from that place…I truly believe a seed was sown that week, and that desire to serve and share that same joy is what continues to drive me to this day.”
Tracy studied Health and P.E. Education at William & Mary and while she says she enjoyed the P.E. side, it was Health Education that captured her interest. She recalls her interest being spark at ISKL, saying, “One of my favorite coaches and teachers at ISKL, Deb Jones, taught a class on First Aid and Health, and I loved it. So many of my teachers at ISKL were amazing, getting into the field of education was an easy decision. Years later, my husband and I and our three kids moved to Honduras, and I got to help the doctors in the local clinic plan curriculum for their Health Education classes. I even got to put my Spanish to the test and teach a few! It was amazing. Watching eyes light up as patients learned that they could control their diabetic symptoms, or prevent heart disease, or seeing the tears in a mother’s eyes as she realized what she was learning was helping her baby gain needed weight.”
Again, Tracy says she wanted to do more, and since moving from Honduras to Austin, Texas, has gone back to university to study for a Master’s in Public Health, in Health Promotion and Health Education at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Her dream is to find another international role.
Although she hasn’t visited ISKL since graduation, the memories remain strong. Tracy muses, “I remember the rush on the canteen when it was roti day and the taste of a cold 100 Plus after a hot practice. I remember finally getting to hang out in the senior lounge, working out on the pool deck when it was storming, being bummed that the upper and lower fields were connected which coaches would use to extend our runs. All in all, I really enjoyed high school. Are there things I would do differently? Absolutely, but I’m grateful for how ISKL has impacted my life.”
Who Was John G. Hadwen?
ISKL Faculty Alumna, Leslie Muri, was a sixth-grade teacher when the Hadwen boys attended ISKL in the late 60s and early 70s. She shares some memories:
ISKL was quite young then and had no award/way to recognize an outstanding senior, one who excelled in academics, activities and sports. So Hadwen created it.
I remember Matthew and Anthony because they were twins, whom I had taught. They were great kids, full of fun, active in sports, active in school life, good students, well-liked (just the kind of kids who would be likely to win the Hadwen as seniors). They told us about how they earned pocket money like an allowance by “passing the peanuts” at High Commission functions. They were the youngest sons. Peter was a year or two older.
I remember in Peter’s sixth-grade class he sat at his desk under a large golf umbrella for quite some time. This was at the old Istana and his teacher was Nancy Lambeth, who has passed away. There was no air conditioning in the bedrooms that became classrooms, but there were fans. The building was old and so had very high ceilings and the fans hung quite far down from the ceiling with long shafts, which had a sort of a bowl or cup to cover the point where the shafts attached to the fan hook at the ceiling and the wires were connected. The bowl in Peter’s classroom had become dislodged and no longer touched the ceiling, there being about a two-inch gap between the edge of the bowl and the ceiling. So a family of birds took advantage of such a safe place and built their nest in the bowl. When it was potty time all the birds just perched on the edge of the bowl and let go. So the golf umbrella was to protect the kid underneath who would have taken a direct hit. We had birds flying in and out of our classrooms quite regularly as the windows and doors were always open.
Canadians were always invited to their Christmas function at their house on Jalan Stonor and so as a Canadian, I went along. Mrs. Hadwen was so apologetic for the phony tinsel tree, galling especially for a Canadian family and the HC at that. Nothing on the tree was natural, no pine cones etc. So, she said if it was going to be false it might as well be completely, absolutely unnatural.