Catching up with the Class of 2009 online
ISP leaves a lasting impression on students and helps them form a positive and respectful outlook in what they do subsequently. It is integral to the ISP Mission that learners lead healthy, fulfilling and purposeful lives, and act with compassion, integrity, respect and intercultural understanding. These are values that former students take with them throughout their lives.
This is certainly true of two ISP Alumni, who despite having graduated from ISP over a decade ago, hold their alma mater very closely to their hearts. Katerina Panayotopoulos and William Jalloul (Class of 2009, far left and second left in the above) stay in close contact with their old school, both in terms of their mentality and a desire to stay connected with ISP.
According to Katerina, “I think about ISP probably once a day. I really feel that my time at ISP shaped me as a person and influences – both consciously and subconsciously – the personal and professional choices I make”. William echoes Katerina’s words; “What ISP does particularly well is that it creates community. Katerina and I are in a very close circle of friends that we will have for life. I am sure that the environment at ISP helped us all to foster these close connections”. In the various photos on this article, class of 2019 friends Alex Emich, Duncan Wagner, Kaitlin Dodman, Robert Katschner, Stephanie Vega, Gil Kazimirov and Boris Ignatenko all appear, some several times, epitomising the close-knit nature of the group.
Katerina is currently living and working in Amsterdam as Global PR manager at citizenM Hotels. Her decision to move to Amsterdam was, to some extent, shaped by her ISP background. “Having had such a great experience at ISP, I think I seek out opportunities that feel similar to that experience. I had lived in London for a number of years and while London is obviously a massive multicultural city, this wasn’t really reflected in my professional life in the PR industry circle I had found myself in, which there felt somewhat mono-cultural. My current role feels a little more like what I loved about ISP, a more open, empathetic environment”.
William still lives in Prague close to ISP. He runs several start-ups, notably a payment processing organisation InspiPay and SME financing platform Flowpay as well as his own consultancy and venture capital firm. He is also involved in esports and several other industries! He is also directly involved in the governance of the school, being a volunteer member of the ISP Advancement Committee. He said that his way of doing business reflects his upbringing at ISP. “I think that ISP is a little bit of a bubble to grow up in but I don’t mean that negatively. We had, and the school continues to have, a very social way of looking at things. I think Alumni, certainly from my experience, have a very different way of looking at things especially when it comes to empathy, that is why I volunteer and support ISP as it is a great way to give back to the school that helped shape me.”
Given the school’s influence on their lives, it perhaps isn’t surprising that Alumni look for practical ways to support their old school. As well as William’s voluntary role on the ISP Advancement Committee, which amongst other things oversees Alumni Relations, both William and Katerina are part of a growing number of Alumni who support their school through their donations to the ISP Annual Fund. Katerina adds: “William’s involvement in the Advancement Committee probably spurred me into this but I was only too happy to help ISP and the current generation of students. I fit the stereotypical international school kid profile in that I have Greek and Danish parents and grew up in Prague. I still like to visit ISP when I can when I am back in Prague. Since this isn’t possible currently, giving to the Annual Fund is a practical way of giving a small bit back to a place that is very special to me”.
We look forward to hearing from more former ISP students about their deep connections to the school – to tell your story contact the Advancement Office – firstname.lastname@example.org