The Proud Panther Mom.
This week, we met up with parent Corinne S.F. whose children have been studying at ISKL for the past six years!
Born downtown in Kuala Lumpur, Corinne is Eurasian with French, Dutch, and Anglo Indian ancestry and grew up with memories of cycling around the former ISKL Melawati campus neighborhood.
In her youth, she was privileged to experience the world working at Malaysia Airlines and Swiss Air before settling down and going back to school to complete her postgraduate studies. Espressos on the streets of Beirut, steaks in Buenos Aires, hot dogs & bagels in New York, shopping on Oxford Street are some memories she will always cherish.
Here is her story.
“We joined the ISKL community in 2015. At the time, we searched for an international school that would offer our children a well-balanced holistic education. Our children already had friends at ISKL who raved about it and made it the first on our list of schools to visit, and it was also our last! It sealed the deal when we learned there was a girls’ soccer team – a team our daughter would be a part of right up to her senior year!
‘Our initial experience as a parent at ISKL was a little overwhelming – there was so much to immerse in and grow as a parent! From the arts to technology and a view of how our children will grow with the perspective of sustainable development and how to care for the community. The extended family of parents and the ‘hands-on’ community approach is one of the unique experiences I could ever imagine in Kuala Lumpur.
“There are so many things and people that inspire me, the greatest being my children. I strive to be the best role model I can for them with the hope they develop into more excellent role models and be the best at whatever they pursue.”
‘Participating in Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) activities helped me navigate my way around the school and find a sense of belonging. I have since served as Grade Level Coordinator (GLC) for Grade 7, PTA Vice-President in the Middle and High School (HS), team parent, and am currently one of the three GLCs for Grade 11. These peer-run voluntary positions are one of the best learning platforms. I have had a support system to help me learn and better manage my own children’s journey from Middle School into university and adulthood!
‘I would encourage new parents joining ISKL to participate as much as they can, whenever possible, and don’t shy away from being involved in the HS activities. Those are the best, as you’d get to share those special moments with your child before they spread their wings and leave the nest to begin their own life’s chapter.
‘It has been a pleasure and a great learning experience participating in PTA activities in partnership with the school administrators. International Fest, the Celebrates Gala, Quiz Night, Open Days, New Parent Orientations, Senior Treats, and PAC shack are just some of the many PTA school-led activities I’ve had the chance to engage in. I’ve made some fantastic friends, acquired and realized skills I never knew I had!
‘Being on the PTA Executive committee, it was an unforgettable experience to be given a guided tour of the new campus during its construction stage by the then Head of School, Dr. Norma Hudson. It was exciting to be part of the moving process – packing up our old PTA room while reminiscing on memories, then setting up and adding a little personal touch to the new one at the Ampang Hilir campus.
‘Volunteering to teach conversational English to the ISKL community was another memorable experience. A collaborative effort between the PTA, parent community, and school admin, we raised funds for Faisal Cup and various local charities. The classes also encouraged more extensive participation in PTA and school activities from the parent community for which English is not their mother tongue.
‘The most memorable and best accomplishments at ISKL are the successes of my children. I burst with pride that I get a front-row seat to share and support their every challenge and achievement.
‘As a HS parent, one of the best memories was participating in Senior Treats, a special day when parents organize our Senior class treats. It is such a joy to light up the faces of our stressed Seniors with a bit of candy and some homemade goodies.
‘Another was when I volunteered at the Elementary School (ES) Hari Raya/Merdeka celebration. I felt proud to share some of our Malaysian cultures with the ES students and their parents and was impressed by their curious minds. Luckily I came prepared and wasn’t deceived by their cuteness.
‘What I love most about ISKL is primarily that it’s a community of peers who come together as one. My travels around the world have developed a great sense of appreciation for other cultures, and I feel so fortunate that our children get to enrich their schooling experience among such a diverse group of nationalities. Not only will they leave ISKL future-ready academically, but also with a greater appreciation and tolerance for other cultures. I am grateful we have found in ISKL a haven for our children to learn, play and grow. In addition, teachers are not only teachers – some have become friends and confidantes to our children.
‘ISKL has not only met our expectations in education but has allowed our children to develop into well-rounded global citizens with a sense of service and an understanding of cultures other than their own. William is now in Grade 11, and our eldest, Victoria, having graduated in 2020, is now in New York University taking a COVID delayed travel into Manhattan. They have actively participated in the IASAS athletics competitions, which included great experiences with the sweat, tears, joys (and some injuries) in soccer, rugby, badminton, swimming, and golf.
‘I never believe in being idle. Today in this time of the COVID pandemic, the PTA activities have taken a back seat and allowed me to delve into my other interests and passions more. I have always enjoyed creating taste and flavors through cooking, and I like to spend most mornings enjoying nature, taking walks in parks, or the many forest trails we’re so lucky to have within the city.
‘When the pandemic first hit KL, I was glad a friend and fellow ISKL parent had reached out and allowed me the chance to do my part for our frontliners by cutting out protective aprons. As a family, we volunteered in a street feeding program on New Year’s Eve. I am currently engaged in a youth mentorship program run by our Rotary club, and I am also a volunteer with the Malaysian Cultural Group.”
What does ‘Be All You Are’ mean to you?
“In my opinion, to ‘Be All You Are’ is never to underestimate yourself, do all you can and everything you thought you couldn’t, and not get stuck in your comfort zone! At ISKL, it isn’t surprising to see that studious valedictorian pirouetting on stage or that violinist smashing it on the badminton courts – a true testament at ‘Be(ing) All You Are’!
‘I have tested my ‘all’ more than a few times. One of the most memorable and scariest challenges I have put myself through is deep sea diving with my son to help him get certified before Malaysia Week. I was not an actual swimmer and unable to tread water to save my life; however, I accomplished all five dives and am now a certified diver! Had I not tested my limits, I would never have had the chance to witness a whole other world under the sea.”