In this week’s special edition for our last week of the 2020-2021 academic year, we met up with Roary the Panther (yes, he’s finally got a name!), ISKL’s fun-loving, totally paw-some mascot whose wise experience and knowledge is a true testament of the ISKL Panther spirit.
Roary as we all know has been a pillar of our community having received the well deserved title of Head of PAWsitivity at ISKL last year! Roary is the cheerleader, the spark of brightness, lovable and friendly Panther that we all adore! Did you know that Roary is so popular that the PAWparazzi is always taking its photo?!
Here is Roary’s story!
What is your name?
My name is Roary the Panther, which stands for ‘Respect Outstanding Awesome Resilient and Youthful!’.
When and where were you born? Can you share with us any interesting stories regarding your birth?
I was born in 1973 in a jungle near the previous ISKL Ampang campus. It was also that year when the land surveyors tried to find a location for a new school campus (that was previously established at the Istana in 1965) but could never find the right one. One day, while they were trekking in the Ampang jungle, they came across a baby Panther cub who was so fierce and who did not want to move from his spot – that Panther was ME! So the surveyors took this as the first sign to build the new school there.
Can you tell us more about yourself and your career so far?
After attending ISKL (I’m a Lifer!) and receiving my International Baccalaureate diploma, I enrolled at OxPAW University where I acquired a Panther BA for Caring, a MSc in Kindness, and a Ph.D. in Fun!
After that I joined ISKL as full-time staff (and part-time panther), and am the longest serving employee thus far (Karen Palko, the MS Dance teacher, comes at a close second!) I got promoted to Head of PAWsitivity in 2020, finally becoming the furry friend and chief cheerleader that comes to all of ISKL’s amazing events to cheer on our Panther students! I’m so proud to be part of the ISKL Panther family!
Can you tell us about your role – what your daily activities are?
My activities are watching National Geographic, participating in the PAWlympics, bringing PAWsitivity, and building the spirit for the ISKL community! Don’t tell anyone, but I also enjoy frequent naps and sometimes “misplace” my yarn sometimes. I also partake as a cast member in ISKL Marketing videos – like in this Find Yourself at ISKL highlights video where I narrate.
Can you tell us about any project working on right now that you are excited about?
I’m such a busy Panther these days, and I am working on sooo many projects. These are some of the things I am doing this summer break!
- Building the Elementary School playground
- Masterminding the next April Fool’s Day
- Helping the new Seniors with some Senior Pranks
- Finding a cure for COVID-19
- Writing The Paw magazine
- Chilling by the pool
- Doing the annual report
- Writing blogs and sending advertorials to the media
- Writing Panther News
- Trying to convince the turtles to move out so that I can have my own private pond
Can you tell us more about your hobbies and interests? What are you grateful for?
I have so many! I love card games, eating, sleeping, and playing Sepak PAWkraw (I’m a champion, if you didn’t know). I also love reading adventure books, hanging out at the school libraries, singing at the Robert B. Gaw theater, practicing the Malaysian martial art silat, helping refugees, doing community work, gardening at the rooftop gardens, recycling, composting, and stealing honey from the Edible Garden. I’ve been trying to eat the turtles, but my efforts have been thwarted!
What am I grateful for? Well, unlike my other cousins in the jungle, I get to live in the concrete jungle!
Who or what inspires you?
There are so many things that inspire me! Here are some which come to mind:
- All the previous Heads of School
- All Elementary, Middle and High school students doing inspiring things <3
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Paddington Brown the bear
- The Wizard of PAWz
- The Great Catsby
- Barney and friends
- The Nanny
- Steve Irwin
- Harry PAWter
- Star Roars
- Pink Panther – we are buddies.
Best memory (or most memorable moment) thus far working at ISKL?
There are so many memories and it is hard to choose one – the old campuses, being a cheerleader for all the IASAS Sports, International Fest, Malaysia Week – where I went trekking through the rainforests, jungles, Tioman Island, Langkawi Island and Taman Negara.
I also remember cheering on the kids during the Dignity Football match, being a part of ‘Survivor Island’, and traveling during the Global Action Program (GAP) – from eating catfish in the Mekong river, to cycling in China, surfing in the Philippines, and hiking the mountains up at Nepal. I am very PAW-ssionate about doing good in this world.
I also fondly look back at the time I won second place at the PAW’s Kitchen, joining Elementary School (ES) activities such as sleeping in tents at Zoo Negara, being a part of the Grade 4 Camp, attending the Social Changemakers Conference in Grade 5, being part of the High School Student Leadership Team, Middle School Student Council, and the Elementary School Red Hats. Have I also mentioned that I was a recipient of the Robert B. Gaw Award too?
What car do you drive?
A Furr-rari, of course! But I am thinking of going green and switching to an electric car.
What was your favorite subject in school?
I loved all subjects except I wasn’t great at Math. However, I definitely enjoyed joining the PURRsuits Program!
I was also fond of English class – especially PAWetry and I do enjoy a pawnnet or two by William ShakesPAW!
What was your favorite sport?
I’m an all-rounder athlete, but track and field is a favorite of mine!
Is there a teacher that you remember for good reasons?
MS faculty Karen Palko, of course, and some alumni teachers such as John Stupka, Paul Ubl, Laurence Myers, Sally Painter, Leslie Muri, Bob and Nancy Taniguchi, Margaret and Sinbald Cheng, Ann Whiting and the late Alan Mclean who I dearly miss.
What did you like most about the school?
The views, the vast space, the greenery, and the fact that it is based in Ampang – my hometown – it’s all so fur-miliar!
What challenges do you face being the ISKL mascot? If you could be another animal, what would it be?
The heat, the Movement Control Order (as I can’t go out), and traveling to see my friends in other IASAS schools. Also, did I mention that everybody wants to hug me or be me? I also struggle to fit into most clothes, as they don’t fit me.
If I had to be another mascot or animal…. I’d probably be a bearcat, a dragon, eagle, or tiger maybe. Or even a mouse deer – the Malaysian symbol that is fierce and courageous! On the other hand, perhaps I could be a turtle as they get more love?!
What is your message to all students/community? How do you think people will remember you?
My job is to share the ISKL spirit, the fun times, and all the great things that take place across our community. I hope that people will remember me by my cuteness (I was once on the cover of Vanity Fur), having a big head, and being that Panther who tries to keep all things PAWsitive by embodying the meaning of ‘Be All You Are.’
I would like to remind all the Panthers in the ISKL Community to be PAW-sitive and keep your PAWS up! We are so fur-tunate to have each other!
What does Be All You Are mean to you?
“Accept both your successes and flaws, and be the best you can be. We don’t know what our limits are so keep on growing and exploring around you!”
Some fun facts about Roars the Panther:
Favorite music: My Favorite Things, Fireworks, Lion Sleeps Tonight, anything performed by the ISKL Virtual Virtuosos, Soulja Boy, and the tunes from the ES Music concert!
Occupation: Head of the Department of PAWsitivity, ISKL
Favorite Movies: Paw & Order, Mission ImPAWsible, Pink Panther, Black Panther, and Jurassic PAW!
Personal traits: Cheeky, playful, but wise. I am like Yoda, but FURever young
Favorite Dance moves: The Panther hop, the Moonwalk, the Floss and the Single Ladies dance!
Favorite joke: ‘Hey Panther, what’s the best international school that ever existed?’ My answer: ‘Wakanda question is that? It’s very much ISKL!’.