Panthers of ISKL #148: Serena Z. – The Self-Driven Panther

Home » Panthers of ISKL » Panthers of ISKL #148: Serena Z. - The Self-Driven Panther

“Hopes and dreams are huge aspirations; it is hard to describe them fully for what they are. In a generalized sense, my hopes and dreams are for my future to be filled with excitement at every turn, manifesting a happy, bright life.”

Serena Z., originally from Canada, joined ISKL this academic year in 8th Grade. Apart from participating in the Middle School Youth Orchestra (MSYO) program, Serena is an active member of MS and plays basketball and volleyball.

Here is Serena’s story:


Do tell us more about yourself.

So, I lived in Canada for the first four years. I was born in Edmonton, but my family soon moved to Calgary. In 2013, My family moved to the States, and we lived in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and I lived in that area for nine years. During that time, I went to Stan C. Stanley Elementary, and continued to Seven Lakes Junior High.

When the pandemic was fizzling out, I moved here to Malaysia to start my 8th-grade year at ISKL, and I plan to graduate from here too.

Do you participate in any CCA?

I recently just finished the Middle School Youth Orchestra (MSYO) program, which was an enjoyable experience I got to do with my peers. Getting to play music, with not only strings but with the band students too, was a great experience where we got to cross-connect with each other and converse on musical topics.

Previously in the year, I also participated in the ISKL Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (IPYO), which was more challenging than MSYO in terms of music. However, it was expected since the orchestra was a mix of High School (HS) and Middle School (MS) musicians.

It was an eye-opening experience listening to the High Schoolers play, which was so cool – I look forward to joining them next year in 9th grade.

Can you tell us more about your other hobbies and interests?

I enjoy playing some sports including basketball and volleyball. I’ve been more active this year because of the great sports department and encouragement at ISKL compared to my last school. It’s a fun thing that pushes me and gives me time to have fun with my friends.

Besides sporting away my time, I sometimes push myself to write a little – I enjoy it. I write small stories or anything that comes to mind, and I get lost in the words when I’m in the zone — until I run into judging my work midway!

But moving into another area of the Arts, I enjoy playing the violin, and playing pop music through sight-reading, which is purely for entertainment reasons.


Do you have any thoughts on your career pathway?

No, not yet, This topic is too early for me to know my definite answer, and I hope someday the answer will come to me in a heavenly light. Until then, I will branch out to find what I would like to do in the future.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Hopes and dreams are huge aspirations; it is hard to describe them fully for what they are. In a generalized sense, my hopes and dreams are for my future to be filled with excitement at every turn, manifesting a happy, bright life.

Who or what inspires you or has influenced you?

Many successful people have accomplished much against the odds, but even in our ordinary life, we can find people with small successes that make us want to be our best selves. For me, as a student, that means mostly my classmates. Every day we take classes together, and seeing what they have accomplished and what aspirations they have inspires me the most to have great ambitions and work towards those.

Describe your most memorable moment at ISKL.

The most impactful moment I’ve experienced here was the first IASAS event, the Soccer Championships. I may not be a massive fan of soccer, but the atmosphere at school that week was exciting. All the students wanted to skip class to watch, and the teachers had the live stream channel playing in their classrooms during break times. The lessons had so much flexibility, and the sense of freedom that we could watch and get food from the food trucks was quite exhilarating. The events are something quite special that I got to witness here.

What does “Know yourself, care for all and create a better world” mean to you?

Breaking it down, “know yourself” means understanding where you stand in this world and what you do that impacts the world you are in. Once you know that part, “caring for all” is putting that “you” forward and coming to the aid of others in their lives to understand the “you” part as well.

As we all learn our place in society, we know how we are and what we do – doesn’t that push us to be the good side of ourselves as humans? A better world is where people can acknowledge and connect to Planet Earth where we live.


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.