“Even though swimming is hard because I have to swim around five thousand meters daily, I know that I have learned a lot through swimming. I have learned about perseverance, never giving up, and never being afraid of defeat.”
Grade 8 student Angel Z., originally from Canada, has been at ISKL since she was in Prep Senior. She is currently swimming for the ISKL team, DSAS (D Swim Academy Selangor), and the Selangor State Team. Angel has just been selected to represent Selangor and compete in the Malaysia Open 2023 and Malaysia Invitational Age Group (MIAG).
Here is Angel’s story:
Tell us more about yourself.
I was born in Calgary, Canada, in 2009. When I was 4, my family moved to KL because of my father’s job. My twin sister Anna and I joined in 2014 in Prep Senior, and I am now in Grade 8. This is my ninth year at ISKL – I have developed a lot, and ISKL has helped with that.
I was very nervous on the first day of school because there were many people, and I thought that they were ignoring me. But I realized this wasn’t true, and I made many friends quickly. My teachers were so kind and friendly. Many people helped me, and I want to help others feel welcome at ISKL. This is the reason why I joined ISKL’s Peer Helpers.
Can you tell us more about your swimming activities?
I started swimming when I was five and joined the ISKL Piranhas Swim Team when I was 8. But because the school moved from Melawati to the new campus, the Piranhas Swim Team became the Aqua Panthers.
When I was 9, I joined the D Swim Academy (DSA) and realized that I could work harder and swim faster, so I started training for competitions. I met many amazing coaches along the way. They include Coach George, Coach Wong, Coach Orbell, Coach Jeffrey, and Coach JJ. They were all very nice and helped me in any way they could.
I moved from the Mini Squad (the slowest group) to Group D, slowly progressing to the faster competitive groups – Group C, Group B, and finally, Group A. I recently finished a swimming competition called Selangor Age Group (SAG), where I got third place for an overall score for Girls 13-14.
I’m currently swimming for ISKL, DSAS (D Swim Academy Selangor), and the Selangor State Team. I’ve just been selected to represent Selangor and compete in Malaysia Open 2023 and Malaysia Invitational Age Group (MIAG). Last year, I competed in both competitions. I will also represent ISKL and go to Garden International School (GIS) and compete in the meet ”Early Fire”, and Alice Smith to compete in the ”AIMS Swimming Championship meet” in February.
We understand that you play the Bassoon; can you tell us more?
I started playing Bassoon in the middle of Grade 6, and before that, I played the Clarinet. The transition from Clarinet to Bassoon was hard because the Clarinet is a single-reed instrument, and the Bassoon is a double-reed instrument. However, my mother and Mr. Baird told me that there are very few bassoonists in the world, so I decided to put down the Clarinet and pick up the Bassoon.
Then my mother found a bassoon tutor, and Mr. Baird, Mr. Christensen, and my Bassoon tutor taught me how to play correctly, teaching me fingerings and increasing my range. Now I can play 4 octaves, starting on Bb, and I perform with the Grade 8 Band and have also played accompaniment with the Grade 6 Choir.
I enjoy playing the Bassoon because it has a unique sound and is an essential instrument in orchestras and bands. This year, in February, I’m going to Mumbai to play in the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) event.
Do you participate in any CCA?
I participate in the Jazz Band, a small musical group. Even though my instrument isn’t jazzy, there aren’t any trombone players in the band, and the Bassoon reads in the trombone’s octave. I also like playing different types of music and with other people.
Because I like music, I have been to the ISKL Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (IPYO) twice and the Middle School Youth Orchestra (MSYO) this year. I enjoy playing in the IPYO because I play music with high schoolers and make many new friends who also like music.
I’ve joined the Art Club, and I like digital art, and the things I draw are dragons because one of my favorite book series is Wings of Fire. I draw a lot on iPads, and every time I finish an artwork, I send them to myself to ensure they don’t get lost.
Can you tell us more about your other hobbies and interests?
I love reading, and I read fast! Reading is fun because it pulls you into a story you can’t get out of your head. Some series I recommend are I am Number Four, Flame in the Mist, Warrior Cats, Wings of Fire, and many more!
I also like drawing. It shows me how much I can do and what I can’t do yet. I can also take my imagination and paste it on paper, improving my drawing skills and creativity. I like ISKL’s Art classes, but they got replaced by Design Tech, which is also fun! In Grade 6, there was a small drawing contest to raise elephant awareness, and I won a small elephant plushie!
Playing music is one of my favorite hobbies as I get to play with others, express myself through music, and play when I’m feeling stressed to relieve stress. IPYO was my favorite activity because I got to play with high schoolers and play beautiful music. I also play piano every day.
And finally, there’s swimming. I have to train every day to maintain my endurance and speed; if I miss a day of training, I’ll be exhausted the next day. Even though swimming is hard because I have to swim around five thousand meters daily, I know that I have learned a lot through swimming. I have learned about perseverance, never giving up, and never being afraid of defeat.
Do you have any thoughts on your career pathway?
I want to be a doctor because, in my mother’s family, nearly all of my mother’s siblings are doctors. Being a doctor also means helping others.
I also want to be an author in the future because I like expressing myself through writing, and I learn a lot through reading. Another reason is that many people don’t read books and instead play games or watch videos. Reading is much better than that, and it is more important than spending a lot of time trying to beat monsters. I want to write books that are more interesting than video games and redirect teenagers’ lives back to books.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I want to attend a good university to learn and be on their swim team, and I plan to go to the Olympics and represent my country, Canada, where I can show my pride in my country.
Who or what inspires you or has influenced you?
My family inspires me because they support me when I’m not feeling well, congratulate me when I do my best, and push me to continue and not give up. In swimming competitions, I was nervous I wouldn’t get my personal best time, but my mother would say: “As long as you tried your best, it’s okay.”
Describe your most memorable moment at ISKL.
There have been a lot of memorable moments at ISKL. Some of them are the first day of school, the 4th-grade camp-in, the Grade 5 Melaka trip, the Elementary School (ES) graduation ceremony, returning to campus from online learning, IPYO performances, and Malaysia Week.
Out of all of these, the moment I liked the most was Malaysia Week, as I got to go to Endau Rompin with some of my friends. We played games, hiked to a waterfall, and had a talent show! We walked into nature without our electronic devices and saw nature’s wonders. It was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to go again this year. One thing that every single person remembered was the scary leeches!
What does “Know yourself, care for all and create a better world” mean to you?
It means that you must understand yourself and know your limits and capabilities. Like the Melawati Way – Take care of yourself, take care of others, take care of this place – first, we have to take care of ourselves to take care of others, and together we can create a better world, one that we all know and love.
Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always has an anecdote to tell, loves to share some insights into their passions and interests, or simply is a Panther through and through? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.