– The Long-Serving Panther
“With over two decades under my belt, ISKL has become a second home. The commitment to excellence and the tight-knit community here have provided the perfect environment for my continuous growth. I’m proud of my mark on ISKL’s legacy, embodying its values and fostering a sense of belonging.”
Meet Bavani Velaiyathan, the International Students Coordinator at the ISKL Admissions department, who has been a long-serving community member for almost thirty years. Hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Bavani is a proud mother of two daughters and enjoys cooking, traveling, spending quality time with loved ones, but most importantly, spending “me time” when possible.
Here is Bavani’s story:
Tell us more about yourself.
Vanakam. I wanted to share an incredible journey that’s been a huge part of my life.
I’ve had the privilege of being part of the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) for over two decades. What began as a job has transformed into a fulfilling adventure of dedication, personal growth, and community engagement.
I’m a true KL native born and raised in this vibrant city and the second child of four siblings. I’m married and have two loveable daughters, ages 23 and 9.
My early education occurred at Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Ampang and Sekolah Menengah Taman Tasik. After graduating high school, I briefly worked at an industrial company. But fate had other plans, and in October 1994, I stepped into ISKL, beginning a journey that would profoundly shape my professional life.
Navigating the international school environment was initially challenging, but my unwavering determination to learn and adapt smoothed the transition. For nearly two decades, I was an integral part of the Middle and High School (HS) library and worked with almost ten librarians. During this time, I honed my skills, learned valuable life lessons, and grew both personally and professionally.
In October 2014, a new chapter commenced as I embarked on my journey with the Admissions Department. Initially focused on processing applications, my role quickly expanded to engaging with prospective parents. One aspect that fills me with immense pride is informing prospective parents about the strong sense of community that defines ISKL. Our school isn’t just a place of learning; it’s a vibrant and interconnected community where relationships are formed, cultures are celebrated, and bonds are forged. The transformation of our students under the guidance of our dedicated faculties is genuinely remarkable and holds significant meaning.
This sense of belonging is an integral part of the ISKL experience. I also embraced the intricate responsibility of handling student and guardian visas, diving into the immigration processes and government collaborations.
What is your most memorable moment so far at ISKL, and who or what inspires you?
It was during this time that I learned valuable life lessons from none other than Mary Rideout, our HS librarian. Her guidance helped me navigate complex tasks and equipped me with the skills to face challenges head-on.
Among the standout memories is my dedication during challenging times. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic was one such period. I remember going the extra mile, securing approvals from the police station to work from the school premises, meticulously preparing Student Pass applications, driving to the Head of School’s home to obtain his signature, submitting applications to the Ministry of Education (MoE), and ensuring parents were updated during uncertain times. It was a time that demanded resilience and adaptability, and I was determined to ensure that our ISKL community felt supported and informed.
But my pursuit of growth continued beyond work. In 2012, I pursued double diplomas in Business Administration and Secretarial Management. Fuelled by a thirst for knowledge, I earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in 2017, underscoring my commitment to lifelong learning.
Can you tell us more about your hobbies and interests? What do you do after work?
Beyond work, I find joy in the simple things – cooking, traveling, spending quality time with loved ones, but most importantly, spending “me time” whenever possible. It’s essential to reenergize myself through self-motivation and treat the little angel within me occasionally. Taking these moments of self-care and self-reflection allows me to continue thriving on my journey.
What does “Know yourself, care for all and create a better world” mean to you?
The ISKL ethos, “Know yourself, care for all, and create a better world,” resonates deeply with me. It’s a reminder that self-awareness and self-care are vital to caring for others and contributing to positive change. Through my journey, I’ve realized that personal growth and embracing challenges enrich our lives and inspire transformation in others.
My career at ISKL has been an evolution marked by dedication. It’s been an incredible ride for me, starting as a Library Aide to becoming the International Students Coordinator in Admissions today. Engaging with prospective parents and existing parents, guiding them through the admissions processes, assisting with applying and obtaining approval for student visas from the MoE, and immigration matters are just some of the roles I take on.
With over two decades under my belt, ISKL has become a second home. The commitment to excellence and the tight-knit community here have provided the perfect environment for my continuous growth. I’m proud of my mark on ISKL’s legacy, embodying its values and fostering a sense of belonging.
As my journey continues, I’m excited to see how my dedication to growth, community, and a better world will continue to inspire those around me.
Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always have an anecdote to tell, love to share some insights into their passions and interest, 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.