3 Garden International School Students Prove It's Never Too Young To Pursue Their Passions
Since then, he has achieved an A* for GCSE Mathematics and has competed in a number of Olympiads across the region. The young mathematician had also completed two undergraduate open course modules in Computational Thinking and Programming at MIT. “I like fractions the most,” he says. “But all of it is really fun—the problem-solving aspect is what I enjoy the most, and there’s always a solution to everything! And because coding is based off of maths in some way, I find the possibilities to create are endless!”
“If you don’t mind me turning the tables,” says the 18-year-old during our interview, “how many deaf Malaysians do you think have enrolled in college?” She gives a small, understanding smile at the pregnant pause that ensued. “It’s fine! I didn’t know much about the local deaf community myself until I experienced sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear, which permanently damaged my inner ear structure and left me feeling as though my world was muted on one side."
Serena continues, “Numbers-wise, there are only 35,000 registered deaf Malaysians in the OKU (known as ‘Orang Kurang Upaya’ or the disabled) community in 2018, and only 20 deaf Malaysians enrolled in local colleges. And that’s a drastically small number—an issue that’s unfortunately unnoticed by most of us.”
Inspired by her own experience with hearing loss and having realised the challenges posed by the inflexibility of the local sign language system (Manually Coded Malay or Kod Tangan Bahasa Malaysia), Serena created an empowerment project called Sign For Malaysia, which aimed to raise awareness of the deaf community as well as the issues they face.The young Garden International alumnus, who will be heading to Stanford University, took to engaging her fellow peers in this particular dialogue as well, creating a video of the national anthem of Malaysia translated into native sign language (Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia) that broadcasted during school assemblies.
When asked about his proudest achievement, the 13-year-old pointed towards a beautifully crafted glass trophy, which showcased him finishing second at the US Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina last August. “It was definitely both nerve-wracking and so, so cool,” Eidan confesses, “because the thing is, you’ve got a thousand people watching you play—but when they cheer for you as you’re on stage? It’s definitely one of my favourite achievements.”
After picking up his first ever golf set at the age of 4, the young golfer has earned himself an impressive collection of trophies from local competitions; a feat he insists was attributed to a supportive environment—at home as well as school. Eidan says: “While it’s true that it’s just you when you play, if I didn’t have my parents, my coach, my supporters and my friends at school, then I wouldn’t be getting these trophies.“One time, my friends and I represented our school in a tournament and the team chemistry was just amazing! That feeling of reassurance when you have your team behind your back is honestly something that I find the best thing about this sport.”
See also: 7 Tips For Understanding Academic Results At Garden International School
At Garden International School, there are plenty of opportunities for students to explore and develop new skills within an engaging and inspiring learning environment. Find out how GIS students are #packedforlife by visiting here. Be inspired, and follow GISMalaysia on Facebook or Instagram.
- Photography Khairul Imran/Tatler Malaysia
- Location The Chow Kit