Beyond the Grade

ISB Students Recall Assignments Which Meant More to Them Than a 7

December 5, 2019

The ambitious nature of many students attending the International School Bangkok (ISB), at times limits students from pursuing passions, due to the rigid structure of academic rubrics, and the various requirements which students must full-fill in order to apply to prestigious colleges. However, as students continue exploring avenues which allow them to experience personal growth; they come to recognize the numerous advantages and inevitable success which follows when they pursue activities and projects which personally interest them, incentivized by true passion rather than a quantifiable number on an academic rubric. 

Amani Kaiya (11)

“Personally speaking, the Imperialism Project which I undertook in my sophomore year was a project that, although assigned as a summative, became a creative task to feed my curiosity. Throughout the course of the project, my motivation to research and accomplish said task shifted from that of a grading standpoint, to that of genuine interest and curiosity – especially since I was researching the British colonization of Kenya (my home country). The project, although intimidating and daunting when assigned, became the highlight of my World Studies 10 course. Learning more about my cultural heritage has allowed me to better appreciate my African heritage, while contributing to the development of my personal identity. This project for me was definitely about more than just the grade.”

Brian Yoon (12)

This extracurricular activity in no way has any merit in terms of grade, but has impacted me in numerous ways on a personal level.”

— Brian Yoon

“One of the most significant experiences I have had throughout High School is being apart of the Model United Nations (MUN) club. This extracurricular activity in no way has any merit in terms of grade, but has impacted me in numerous ways on a personal level. Some people might just think that the club is about improving public speaking, but this really undermines the essence of the club. What made MUN so special to me was the debates we had every week, allowing me to interact with all my friends. One of the reasons MUN had such a profound impact on me was the fact that when I first moved to ISB, I didn’t know much English, nor much about the “international conventions” and events happening around the world. Having the opportunity of engaging with my supportive peers and my caring advisors, allowed me to better adapt to the ISB community


when I moved here in ninth grade from a Korean public school. The supportive environment which MUN club built and fostered for me during my younger years, allowed me to feel included. The skills I take away from the club are of course, becoming a better public speaker and writer; but also being a part of such a supportive community made me realize that a leader can change the dynamic of an organization, which is something I learnt from MUN and have been taking with me to other clubs that I join. The establishment of such a supportive community truly has profound impacts on an individual.”

Milla Harter (11)

“In my freshman year, the only project I really felt passionate about was a video I had to make for Panther Nation. I did it on the Intensive Needs classroom which was new at the time. I think both the purpose and message of the program as well as the opportunity to be creative really made me want to execute something I was proud of. It was definitely an introduction to making videos, allowing me to learn more about video production, while also producing content that I was proud; which showcased this special program at ISB.”

Sajid Farook (12)

“For the past few months, every Tuesday, I have debate club from 2:30-5:10pm (almost three hours of debating after school). Considering that i’m in my senior year, this is a lot of time that I have sacrificed for an activity that in no way affects my grade. To be honest, I don’t even do it for the college application, but because I genuinely enjoy it. Debate is almost like a de-stresser, a time to de-stress and do something that I really enjoy. I think this time that I spend outside of my academic life is extremely valuable, rather than just sitting at home and studying. Even though this activity involves a large time commitment, these types of extracurricular commitments are exactly what bring balance to my life and i’m so glad that I have found something that I really enjoy and love to do to supplement the work that I do in school. This balance that I have found between spending my time partaking in extracurricular activities such as debate, and allocating time to work on my academic coursework is what makes me successful in both activities. This time management which I have learnt through my engagement in debate club is something that will be extremely beneficial for college life, as well as life in general after that.”

Fizza Mobin (12)

“During my junior year of high school, I was lucky enough to be able to write a TEDx talk as a part of my English course. We were given the opportunity to choose a topic that we were particularly passionate about and  and write a speech about something that we wanted to share with the rest of our community. Personally, something that stood out to me, was the representation of mental health in the media, and with personal experiences in that field, I was compelled to write about it to spread awareness of the reality of mental health disorders and what they truly mean. I wanted to reduce the negative stigma around mental health and show that we should teach our children about mental health and the significance of it, because that allows for them to grow up in a world where they feel loved and accepted as opposed to alienated. This experience is really important to me, because it showed me that if I put my mind to something, I am able to spread a message that is important to me and let people know what I have to say. I’m very grateful for being able to learn from everyone else around me and contribute to something special that we have here at ISB.”

Daniel Namatinia (11)

“During my freshman year, I had a project where I had to analyse a song and the lyrics to the song. For this project I chose to use songs written and sung by Chance the Rapper. Although not a very classical or sophisticated musician, this man was an artist who I was genuinely enjoyed listening to and who I had a special interest in. While working on this project, not only did I build on my knowledge about musical conventions, but I also got to learn more information about Chance the Rapper which was previously unknown to me. I did not do this project for the grade, but rather because I was interested in the topic of diving deeper into the music produced by an artist who I admired. By taking on this project, not only did I satisfy my urge for learning more about one of my favorite artists, but I also learnt the importance of pursuing and engaging in topics and projects which truly engage me.”

Zwe Latte (12)

“The things that I have done in High School that have had the most profound impact on me, have been  travelling on multiple IASAS trips for both MUN or Cultural Convention (CC) Forensics and Debate. More importantly than just debating, and learning how to talk fancy in front of people; I think the most profound things I have taken away from these trips are how to be a good, caring person, both politically as well as in a social situation. These trips have allowed me to learn  how to interact with different kinds of people from different backgrounds, people who I would not have met, had I chosen to stay at home and not participate in these activities and travel for these trips. Looking back at High School, I think the things I am going to take away are definitely the relationships that I have developed on these multiple IASAS trips, not only between my peers at ISB but also amongst peers from the other IASAS schools. The ability to form friendships in such a short amount of time, with people who I know nothing about, who come from such varying cultural backgrounds than myself, will definitely prove beneficial for establishing a life for myself post graduation.”

Nae Nae Montawan (12)

“One of the most memorable high school project for me was the Extended Essay. I did my EE on evaluating the effectiveness of universal healthcare in rural areas in Thailand, which is part of the Health and Development aspect of the World Studies subject group. Inspired by my involvement in community service and eagerness to mitigate social issues, I studied how Thailand’s universal health care helped satisfy the wants and needs of the rural population. I really enjoyed the experience of undertaking research, which definitely prepared me well for college. Coming across one of the papers published by a health-economics professor of Chulalongkorn University when researching my topic, I decided to contact her for an interview and discuss with her about my interest in economics. I was given a valuable opportunity to intern as her research assistant over the summer and gain real work experience related to my interests. Overall, the EE not only made me a better researcher, but it also enables me to apply my knowledge to the real-world and ignited my passion to continue studying economics and public policy in university.”

Kate McArthur (12)

I love that when I step on the field or the track I can temporarily forget about everyday stressors and just focus on and enjoy what I’m doing”

— Kate McArthur

Playing sports has been an outlet for me for as long as I can remember. My love for football started when I was in elementary school and played on my first team with my Dad as my coach. Throughout high school, sports have continued to be a way I connect with my Dad  but also have helped me become more confident and to take on leadership roles.


Sports at ISB have provided me with balance during an extremely hectic, anxiety-filled, IB high school experience. I love that when I step on the field or the track I can temporarily forget about everyday stressors and just focus on and enjoy what I’m doing (not to mention feel the release of all those good old endorphins). At ISB we’re extremely fortunate to have the sporting opportunities, facilities and especially lucky to have the coaches that we have. My football team at ISB has been an extremely important support group for me and going to

practice has felt like going to hang out with a group of best friends who I know have my back. I am so grateful to our coaches for putting in the time to not just coach us but also support us and care so much about us. I know that sports and the memories I’ve made through them will continue to have a special place in my heart and to be an important part of my life.”

Sara Khan (11)

Personally, during English class in my sophomore year, we were asked to write a feature article about an individual who we admired or had in some way had a profound impact on the lives of others; I immediately knew that for me this person was my grandfather. As I began the process of interviewing him, and researching more about the time he served on the Indian Air Force, I came to realize that this article meant much more to me than the grade, but rather honoring my grandfather and his achievements. Upon completion of the article, the pride and approval received from my grandfather was satisfying in and of itself; regardless of the numerical grade.

Pursuing passions and engaging in entities which truly interest individuals, not only profoundly impacts and shapes them, but also allows them to garner skills which may prove beneficial for future interest they may choose to partake in at college. At times, the rigid structure of the academic curriculum is not tailored to the learning interest of all students, however when given the flexibility, students should always chose to pursue and engage in topics/activities which genuinely interest them. The criteria for engaging in entities must not be based on the influential status it may hold on an application or rubric, but rather the personal net benefit gained; whether this be in the form of personal growth and development or for the sake of pursuing one’s passion. 

Leave a Comment

PantherNation • Copyright 2020 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in