Panthers of ISKL #195: Mina E. (‘24) – The Team Captain

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Panthers of ISKL - Mina E

“As an athlete, I love challenging myself, pushing, and keeping my body moving. I wouldn’t succeed in academics without my sports, as they give me structure and purpose.”

Meet Mina E. (’24), a Grade 12 student who is the Team Captain for Varsity Climbing and Swimming. Born in Canada, she joined ISKL in 2021 but first attended the school in 2012, when it was based at the Melawati campus.

After graduating, she will most likely return to Vancouver, Canada, for university to study business management and specialize in marketing and international relations. In her free time, Mina coaches the ES Aqua Panthers and enjoys traveling and meeting new people. A lover of fashion, makeup, and design, she has recently started modeling.

Here is Mina’s story:


Tell us more about yourself.

I was born in Canada; my mom is Japanese, and my dad is Canadian. My younger sister, Kaya, is currently in Grade 10 and attending ISKL. Kaya is like my best friend. We both look up to each other and encourage one another to be the best versions of ourselves. I am fortunate to have such a close connection with my sister.

I am now a Senior at ISKL, and this will be my third year here. I lived in Malaysia in 2012, attending the Melawati campus for two years before returning to Vancouver. It’s been exciting to be back, to recognize people from my childhood, and to see how much everything has changed.

Mina and her family

Which grade did you join ISKL? What were your first days of school like?

Coming from a public school in Vancouver, Canada, I joined ISKL at the beginning of Grade 10. This was in 2021 during Covid, and I started school online. I had only known my classmates through a screen for two months before ever seeing them in person. I still remember how weird it had been to feel like you knew someone for months but not knowing their character until interacting with them in person – talking face to face. However, I was incredibly lucky to have had many people reach out to me through social media and messaging and be there for me. I quickly made many friends and felt like I was a part of the community.

When school started in person, I remember feeling intimidated by how large our campus was, but the facilities we have are truly incredible, and I remember how grateful I felt to be a part of this school.

Due to its rigorous academic culture, adjusting to the curriculum between Canada and ISKL took work. Luckily, I was surrounded by kind, intelligent individuals who were more than happy to take the time to support me.

Tell us about your passion for rock climbing.

Mina E rock climbing competitionI started rock climbing when I was nine years old. It all began with a birthday party at a climbing gym, and I immediately found my passion. By 12, I was part of a team training 12 hours a week and competitively climbing. I qualified for national competitions, traveling around Canada and climbing with others all over North America. Training and competing had become a significant part of my life. When Covid broke out, I was forced into a break and stopped climbing completely, and within that same year, our family found out we were moving to Malaysia.

My ability in rock climbing has never been the same since, which has been a mental challenge that took me a while to accept. I still miss the strength, the time, and the motivation I had, as well as the huge competitions in which I was lucky enough to participate. But through my time in KL, I’ve been able to train and climb again each year.

This year, rock climbing became a varsity sport at ISKL, and I am honored to be captain of the original team in the school’s history. We trained three times a week, mostly at our climbing wall here on campus and occasionally at a local gym in KL. This season was motivating because we had multiple competitions to train for, and we were all significantly improving week by week. Being surrounded by people with the same passion was inspiring because we automatically lifted each other. One of my proudest moments being on the team was taking on the role of a coach. Using my knowledge to support everyone and being a figure in their growth was inspiring.

For the future, I know climbing will always be a part of my life, even if there are breaks in between. It is my passion, and I love the way climbing makes me think and the way it makes me feel. Wherever I go in the world, I always have a sense of community around rock climbing, even if it’s technically an individual sport. The environment around rock climbing has allowed me to meet incredible people. Whether it’s Japan, Canada, or places in Southeast Asia, the interactions both my sister and I have had with others internationally have been positively uplifting. The sport takes mental and physical strength, forcing you to problem-solve and be entirely out of your comfort zone. I’ve noticed I’m happier when rock climbing is present in my life. The sport influences my life for the better – making it more balanced and productive. That is why I love it so much.

Before I leave Malaysia, I would like to participate in one more local competition, and when I move back to Canada, I would like to do more outdoor climbing with my old climbing friends!

Do you participate in any other co-curricular activities at ISKL? Please describe them.

Although being a Senior participating in the International Baccalaureate (IB) can be hectic, it’s important to maintain a balanced life. I have been part of the Varsity Swim Team since joining ISKL and am proud to be the team captain this year. Aside from rock climbing, swimming has always been my passion. I began swimming at five years old when I first attended ISKL. Since then, I’ve been competitively swimming, participating in meets every summer in Canada, and continuing throughout High School in Malaysia. Varsity swimming does take up a significant part of my life, training both in and out of the pool six times a week, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Last year, I tried out for Varsity Track and Field for the first time and realized how good running can be for your mental health. Training in the morning before school three times a week with your teammates who become your best friends was an unforgettable experience. Our team went to IASAS in Jakarta and met people I know I will stay connected with for the rest of my life.

Mina E during IASAS Swimming

What are your plans for after you graduate from ISKL?

I have been accepted to a couple of universities in Vancouver and am deciding which one will be most suitable for me. I will study business management and specialize in marketing and international relations. I’ve been most interested in marketing because it is specific and uniquely curated to the target audience. The creativity and psychology behind marketing are essential for any business to succeed, and I would love to learn more about it. My dream is to have my own successful business one day.

What is your most memorable moment at ISKL?

Swimming at IASAS this year was definitely my most memorable moment!

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

I love traveling and meeting new people. For a long time, I struggled with the anxiety of social situations and unfamiliar environments, but ISKL has allowed me to overcome this. Throughout my time here, I’ve connected with many people and found my best friend. I love to spend time with the people who make me feel good and a better person.

Mina and her friends

In my spare time, I explore the city of Kuala Lumpur with my friends and appreciate the limited time we have left together. We take many photos and capture the special moments I have with them. Through my senior year, I’ve realized how temporary our time left together is, and it’s been bittersweet to process. Being at an international school has allowed me to travel more and learn about different cultures. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to gain knowledge and global awareness from a young age.

Mina during a modelling photoshootAs an athlete, I love challenging myself, pushing, and keeping my body moving. I wouldn’t succeed in academics without my sports, as they give me structure and purpose. Outside of school, I enjoy coaching swimming for our Elementary School (ES) Aqua Panthers. Coaching has taught me the importance of taking responsibility and making decisions you believe are right. I love to be a part of one’s growth and share my knowledge to help people improve. Through patience, trial, and error, I’ve become more confident as an individual.

For my creative side, I love fashion, makeup, and design. Doing makeup on my sister and my friends is truly my love language. I love experimenting with makeup and different clothes. I recently got into modeling, and it’s been an exciting, foreign experience. Doing photoshoots that don’t involve my sports for once has felt weird, but I’ve enjoyed every moment.

Who or what inspires you or has influenced you?

I am inspired by people who have goals and know what they want. I look up to those who work hard, have balance in their lives, and make meaningful connections with others who are like-minded.

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

Knowing yourself means being comfortable with who you are while being self-aware. This refers to finding your strengths, weaknesses, what you like and don’t. The ability to be emotionally and socially intelligent, not only reflecting upon yourself and the people around you. Care for all means being selfless and humble and treating people as they deserve. It means to stand by your morals and for what you believe in without letting anyone dictate your choices. Lastly, creating a better world means being significant – positively impacting everything you do.
In other words, this phrase means to be intentional, value your actions, and be the best version of yourself for not only yourself but also others.


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.

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