Panthers Of ISKL #70 – Ruby L.

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Ruby L. - Panthers of ISKL


This week, we met up with Ruby L. (’23), who from a young age has traveled around many places such as Indonesia, Australia, the United States and France. However, Malaysia is the first country she has lived abroad in, and ISKL her first international school experience.

Ruby joined in 7th grade and has been part of the Peer Helpers leadership team that helps student newcomers transition to school life. Ruby also is a member of the Key Club, is on the Junior Varsity (JV) Basketball team, and plays the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia School (IASAS) flute. Apart from qualifying for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) after getting first place in AMC 10 in ISKL, she is currently working closely with the ISKL Science department on creating an international science competition, among many other endeavors!

Here is her story.

“Since the first day I joined ISKL in Middle School (MS), I have actively taken the lead as part of the Peer Helpers Leadership Team, as it has always been there by my side. The beauty of the Peer Helpers experience is that you get to be in the center of the positive cycle of empathy and care, which the ISKL community imparts right from the beginning. I try my best to help newcomers transition, just like I did four years ago, with great pleasure and passion, using my prior experience for helping others and paying back the amount of help I received from this community.

‘When I first joined ISKL, I was entirely new to an international environment; from the education system to the everyday language I had to use at school, it was a 180-degree change for me! If it were not for the buddy system and the welcoming atmosphere in ISKL, I would not have been able to stand as strong as I do now. Furthermore, thanks to the community celebrating and seeking diversity, I learned to find beauty in myself and grow as a global citizen.

A Friend In Need

‘Being part of the Peer Helpers Leadership Team, we have to embody the very spirit of empathy and care in ISKL, and make sure new students feel a sense of belonging and comfort. I find this particularly attractive because we as Peer Helpers are there from the beginning to the end, so in this way, newcomers get to experience extraordinary moments here at ISKL.

‘I have also been part of the Key Club since the 9th grade, and our club acts as ”big brothers” to the Zotung Refugee Catholic Learning Center (ZRCLC) students. I started as a club member, then a room leader in the Oldest Room, and now this year I am secretary. I am thankful to be able to help these students and support them with quality education. For every meeting I attend, I realize that it is not just the ZRCLC students who learn, but we, the ISKL students, grow by learning to be global citizens and are inspired by the enduring passion of the refugee students.

‘Two years ago, I participated in the Head of School (HOS) selection process as a MS Student Council member. Selected members from the MS Student Council (StuCo) and the High School (HS) Student Leadership Team (SLT) interviewed the HOS candidates. We asked them various questions about their vision of making ISKL a better place. Throughout the process, we were able to get a clear picture of their past contributions and how they intend to make positive contributions to the community.

‘As a Middle Schooler, it was my first time witnessing and being part of a democratic process in real life. The fact that democracy is upheld in reality – especially in the school where we are taught about democracy – was awe-inspiring for me! I truly felt that the students’ voice is prioritized in ISKL and that the community constantly seeks ways to bolster and develop itself. It was no surprise when Mr. Rami Madani was elected; his passion and humble confidence inspired us during the interview.

Managing the Balance Between Academics and Extracurricular Activities

‘In my sophomore year, I took Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics, AP US History, and International Baccalaureate (IB) Chinese. It was a challenge for me, as my life got at least three times busier than before! But doing what I love brought so much excitement and vigor to my life. For me, staying in my comfort zone leaves me feeling purposeless and with immense discomfort. It was not the labeling of the classes but the standard I set for myself that I struggled to withstand. Still, throughout the year, I realized that there is no unbreakable barrier to pursuing my goals with unremitting passion and positivity.

‘I thank Mr. Josh Weiner (High School Counselor), who supported me in my course selection and journey this year. Ms. Wendy Ching (HS IB Chinese Teacher), who always inspired me with passion, and Ms. Andrea Guerra (HS Math/IB Math Teacher), who was always there when I ‘knocked her door’ for a virtual zoom call in the afternoon.

‘The first time when our classes went virtual due to the pandemic, I wrote in the wellness and feedback survey that we needed a longer class time to catch up with some of the challenging classes like Advanced Placement. ISKL has accommodated this feedback right away and lengthened them by 10 minutes, and this has helped me feel more connected with my school despite it being virtual.

‘My advice on how to manage a busy schedule and workload? One practical piece of advice is to create a list every morning, outline your schedule, and prioritize the tasks you have to complete. Then, simulate in your mind how your day is going to go. As you do the simulation, you will find yourself automatically thinking about what can bring new ideas and improvements into your life every day.

A Love For Mathematics

‘I think the beauty of math is that math never betrays you; the more you familiarize yourself with math, the more it will open up to you. A great way to prepare for the AMC is to join the Math Club! Mr. Seth Tyler and members of the Math Club are looking forward to bringing in deeper insights and engaging activities next year, so I strongly encourage all to join!

‘One of the major initiatives I have been working on is to create a platform for students to further seek and flourish in the field of Biology. As I continued learning the sciences in ISKL, I realized the need for a comprehensive platform to share knowledge in the sciences. Albeit the perspectives and love ISKL students have towards science, there weren’t many opportunities to further our insight. Taking advantage of the online space, I plan to hold online conferences in which students share their perspectives in science and connect with communities that indulge and excel in science. By doing so, we will inspire each other to discover science even more. My vision is to create an IASAS science competition to extend our knowledge to international students across Southeast Asia!

‘I have reached out to the Science department with my ideas, and we’ve been discussing ways to deepen sciences not just in ISKL but also beyond our community. Some teachers in the Science department and I are considering opportunities for a #ScienceReorganizationISKL. So do keep an eye out for future developments in the science department and share your passion for the sciences!  

‘As for plans after graduation, although I don’t know the specific direction I would be heading to after I finish the IB, I would like to indulge in the field of Biology and Medicine. However, I read an article about the universe inside cells, and I’ve been intrigued to know more about the microscopic world of cells.

‘As much as I love discovering cells, I love playing the flute and making music in my free time. I am so thankful that our IASAS Music team continued with the cultural convention and shared wonderful music despite the pandemic. ISKL hosted the virtual CulCon Music this year, and our team got a chance to play together on campus! (Of course, SOPs were strictly adhered to.) Special thanks to Mr. Dan Miles for making the meaningful experience all possible!

‘I never had a chance to indulge in the Arts before I came to ISKL and it was a comparatively late start compared to my peers, but my coaches and peers supported me to take risks and follow my passion. Now I’m proud to be part of the JV Basketball and IASAS flute team. Although we couldn’t travel to compete against IASAS schools this year, our trip to Hanoi and Singapore last year for JV basketball competitions was so much fun!

‘I am thankful that there are so many people who inspire me every day. Every time I walk into the classroom – whether it be for a science class, the music room, or the gym – I walk in not with worries about having my weakness revealed but with excitement about acquiring new knowledge I’ve never got to imagine before! I have learned a lot from my peers in the clubs I take part in, and in every meeting, I understand how to be a valuable member of society and a better leader wherever I go.”

What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?

“I am not myself without passion. Being all you are means that you have the passion and bravery to live out your dreams. We often set apart dreams from reality, labeling them as something ”unreachable” or as an ”absurd aspiration.” But a dream is not something far away but is something you are passionate about, something that sets your heart on fire. I feel true to myself when I seek my passion and live out my dreams, making them my reality.

‘And what more? The beauty of being all you are doesn’t just end in yourself. By being all you are, you inspire me to be all I am, and together we inspire ourselves to dare to be all we are.”

Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

To find out more inspiring stories of our students, read about cyclists Sarah and Chloe or Hong Ju the forward-thinker here!

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