BIS Phuket student on top of the world
PHUKET: Isabelle Becker’s father had some advice for his daughter: nobody remembers the person who finishes second.
Friday 11 November 2011, 04:57PM
She obviously took it to heart, as it was announced recently that the Year 12 student at British International School Phuket (BIS) had been named ‘Top of the World’ for IGSCE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) Art and Design.
The budding young artist, who turned 17 this week, comes from a multicultural background – she is half German, half Filipino, grew up in Hong Kong and has now lived in Phuket for a little over two years.
She says she’s not sure if that’s influenced her work, but looking at some of her detailed portraits, it certainly couldn’t have hurt. And despite her self-confessed interest in business, she says she has always had a talent and a passion for art.
“When someone says something, I paint a picture in my head. I picture things. It’s how it’s always been.”
But she says she never expected to be named ‘top in the world’, and the news came as quite a shock. “They took me out of class. I thought I was in trouble.”
The award itself was not based on one work, but rather a whole body of coursework as well as the product of a grueling eight hour practical examination.
Isabelle said it was the support of the BIS teaching staff that made her result possible.
“My art teacher really pushed me and I always wanted to impress her because of the time she invested in me. I already knew before going into the exam that I wouldn’t finish it, but the planning beforehand and the confidence instilled in me by my teacher was priceless.”
That teacher is Claire Lester, who has taught at BIS for 10 years. And she’s obviously doing something right – it’s the second time in two years one of her students has taken out the Top of the World prize.
“This is a very big deal, not only for Isabelle, but for the whole school,” she said.
So is Isabelle considering a career as an artist? “I’m not sure yet. This award has made me think about because I really want to do it. My main goal is obviously to be successful.”
Isabelle was not the only BIS student to perform well in the iGSCE though. Popthum ‘Kidd’ Lawtongkum received one of 38 Cambridge International Examinations ‘Top in Thailand’ awards for IGSCE Environmental Management.
That despite it not even being his favourite subject (for the record, it’s Biology).
So what was the secret to Kidd’s success? “I tended to answer in a positive way, as in we still have hope.”
He makes it sound so easy, but then Kidd is obviously a pretty bright kid – he ranked in the top percentile in four of his subjects.
He also offered some words of wisdom for Phuket.
“In terms of Phuket, I think the biggest problem is pollution.
“We’re already facing resource shortages. [The world’s population] reaching seven billion people [last week] was a big step. We will have to be more efficient with our resources.”
But a future in environmental management for Kidd at this stage seems unlikely. He lives in a hospital, his grandparents are doctors, and his father is a doctor.
He plans to study medicine in the UK.