This week, we met up with Seungyoon H., a senior student from the class of 2022.
Seungyoon’s experience living in different countries and cultures such as South Korea, Romania, India, and New Zealand has shaped how he views society and the inequalities present in society. This, in turn, sparked him to coordinate a food donation drive to give back to the communities in need in Malaysia as part of his Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).
Here is his story.
Giving back to the community
“During the summer break after my Junior year, I read articles about how COVID had impacted many communities in Malaysia and how people were raising white flags from their homes. I was wondering what I could do because I felt terrible and wanted to help in some way. Through Ms. Chika Kumashiro-Wilms, the CAS Coordinator/High School Service and Sustainability Coordinator, I contacted The Giving Bank, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides food to the poor and needy, telling them I wanted to support their work.
‘The process of contacting the organization to gather food donations took me about one and a half to two weeks. This shows how easy it is to act and lend a hand! There was a food checklist to show what could be donated, but it was a non-exclusive list – people could donate dried goods and canned food that could last some time.
‘I decided to gather food donations in my area and use emails and posters to spread the word. In a week or so, I was able to collect a lot of food items. When I saw Mr. Arnaud Marolleau, the head of The Giving Bank, pick up the items, I was delighted and satisfied to see that all the donations could fill his whole car, and grateful to give back and support the people in need, especially during these times.
‘From this experience, I learned that it is not hard to step up and take action. Before this, I thought that getting involved in the community was time-consuming and required a lot of sacrifices. However, this experience proved to me otherwise. It gave me confidence that I can help more and provide support to those who need it.
‘Besides this, I am currently running the Young Investors’ Society (YIS) for Middle School students for my CAS project. I was in YIS during High School, and when I arrived in January, people were already starting CAS projects, so I had to be quick to keep up. Fortunately, the High School YIS supervisor, Mr. Mark Van Cott, was very supportive. We came up with the idea of running YIS for the Middle Schoolers so that by the time they reach High School, they are prepared and could do well in the club.
‘My best advice for those who will be starting their CAS projects in the future is to listen to the CAS supervisors because they are very organized and knowledgeable. If you need help, always reach out because they will gladly help you. It’s better to ask for help than to stay confused.
“For my co-curricular, other than YIS, I am in the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) clubs, as well as the IASAS golf team. I am very interested in economics, so I tried to find clubs in line with my interest. I contacted the leaders, and they were very supportive from the beginning, which drew me into the club. There are challenges in communicating and conducting club activities online, but it is also easier to contact everyone.
‘Outside of school, I like playing golf and swimming. I’ve been playing golf for nine years, ever since I was in Romania. My dad would take me to the driving range from time to time, but I started proper lessons six to seven years ago. What keeps me playing golf is that there’s always room for improvement, which pushes me to be better. Generally, it is also a fun game on the course, especially with friends.
ISKL Memories and the Future
‘One memorable moment of my time here is at the very beginning when I first joined ISKL. Due to quarantine and restrictions, I started online school in New Zealand. The peer helpers were very supportive. One of the students even sent a video recording of them introducing themselves. That was very welcoming for a new student, and I am grateful for that!
‘Because I have moved a lot, I’ve witnessed each country’s economic situation. Every time I move to a new place, I would experience the culture there and see the inequality amongst the countries I’ve lived in and the inequality within the country itself. It didn’t feel right to me looking at each country’s situation, so I want to give back in the future.
‘After I graduate, I would like to study economics and applied math as a double major. With economics and applied math, the scope of what I can do is so wide. Still, I hope to be able to narrow my interest in universities. I also want to be able to contribute and those around me to the best of my ability. I’m very concerned with the increasing wealth gap in society. Whatever I do, I want to help out communities that need it.”
What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?
“I like to think of people according to their potential. Most times, they don’t realize their maximum potential because of drawbacks and setbacks. In essence, ‘Be All you Are’ encourages people to give it their all and try to maximize their potential to give back and support their community – because everyone has a lot to offer.”
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.