Last year’s Harvard Book Award winner, Diya N. (‘21), received a significant cash prize of RM2,000 as part of the recognition for being named the top student in Grade 11.
This prestigious award is presented by The Harvard Alumni Association to the outstanding student (highest GPA) in the next-to-graduating class who “displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields.” Candidates for the Harvard Prize Book must attend ISKL for both semesters of Grade 11, achieve in the top of the class academically as defined by the grades for both semesters of the Grade 11 year, and possess exceptional leadership qualities and significant contributions to the school and community.
“When I received the award, I was definitely very happy, but I also felt extremely lucky to be surrounded by truly amazing and supportive people, particularly my parents, teachers, and friends, who have been there for me through everything,” shared Diya.
This week, Diya donated her cash prize to Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), to be used specifically for the Children’s Cancer Ward (10B). This is the ward ISKL’s Kids 4 Kids community partnership has worked with each Saturday for over a decade. Diya sent a message to the ward—“Although we are unable to visit the ward right now, we are happy to be able to contribute in any way we can!”
Diya shared her thoughts behind the donation and helping Kids 4 Kids. “Shortly after the MCO started, I learned that the children and healthcare workers at the KL General Hospital’s Children’s Cancer Ward were exceptionally vulnerable to COVID-19. As the President of the Kids 4 Kids partnership, I was thinking of ways to help.
I decided to use the RM2,000 I won from the Harvard Prize Book Award to help fill the hospital’s need by supporting the purchase of personal protective equipment for the hard-working, selfless medical professionals and families at the cancer ward.
The Kids 4 Kids community partnership works with the HKL (Hospital Kuala Lumpur) Cancer Ward 10B and a local orphanage called “Anbu Illam”. I have been volunteering at the cancer ward since I was in fifth grade. Over the last seven years, I have been able to interact with so many children and listen to their stories (often by talking to their family members). Although it is sad to see the children suffering so much, being able to put a smile on their faces, even if it is just for a moment, is truly a fulfilling experience.
Through interactions with the children, organizing an orphanage fundraiser, and donating the proceeds from the Book Award, we have tried to make an impact, however small, on the lives of those less privileged.”
Diya also shared how ISKL is continuing to support its community partnerships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As an Executive Member of both the Kids 4 Kids and Malaysian Karen Organization partnerships, I can definitely say that we have been working hard to find creative solutions and adapt to a virtual environment. Many of our partner communities have been struggling during the pandemic. We are unable to meet the children at the cancer ward, orphanage or the Myanmar Karen refugees in-person. However, we still wanted to use whatever resources we had to help them during these difficult times, even if it meant putting in extra time and work to get it done. For example, Kids 4 Kids organized a ‘candy gram’ fundraiser in October to raise money to purchase hand sanitizers, masks, and sanitary towels for the Anbu Illam Orphanage, as they indicated that it was a need for them. Additionally, the Malaysian Karen Organization partnership has been planning a book drive for the MKO school’s library. It is our goal to continue to find ways to help the community.”
ISKL Panthers always lend a helping paw, even during a pandemic. Thank you, Diya, for donating to those in need—it will surely go a long way!