It is practically impossible to interact with Aisha and not feel a smile finding its way onto your face. Warmth and compassion seem to visibly surround the girl with what seems like perpetual positivity. As an eighth-grade student council representative and founder of an awareness and service club, Aisha has become part of the beating heart of ISKL. She describes the school as “my home, my second home.”
Having enrolled in ISKL at the tender age of four, this has become her niche. With teacher aid and particular school programs, she was able to not only thrive in elementary school but also succeed throughout middle school. For this she thanks ISKL’s policy of inclusion, one that has overlooked certain differences and enabled Aisha to pursue an education.
“Education is wonderful. It is just so awesome. I love the creativity and inclusion. In my life, I really have loved education…since I was a baby to now a teenager.”
It is this power of inclusion that Aisha has shared with not only students but professional educators. At a SENIA conference, she shared her journey with hundreds of adults–making them see the importance of empathy and the need to “stick out for each other.” Schools around the globe were made aware of the overwhelming benefits of allowing students with differences to chase their dreams and acquire knowledge as a result of her motivational speaking.
Aisha’s challenges are those of any other middle school navigating through adolescence. Mrs. Hawkes, one of her teachers, notes these include finding friends, finding the hidden rules of middle school and perhaps, even more challenging, finding something to wear for the MS parties!
Aisha has explored her athletic side by becoming a regular part of physical education classes. Her love for sports and inspiration to develop her abilities came in 2015 at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Mrs. Hawkes even said, “I could see her being in the Special Olympics swim team representing Malaysia.”
Aisha’s goals, however, lie in giving back to the community with becoming a teacher of special needs children. Her most remarkable quality is her unfaltering positivity. In her words “Being positive means being very kind and wise. This is very powerful. When you are very positive that leads to happiness. You can inspire everyone.” Mrs. Hawkes describes her time with Aisha as “filled with lots of laughter and learning”
“She is an example to all students at ISKL. The high school will become an even better place when Aisha moves up next year.” No matter where she goes next, whether she works as a teacher or partakes in the Special Olympics, she will continue to deeply touch everyone she encounters. She is the girl with the golden heart.