Qanta Shah came to WISS in August 2011 after teaching for many years in South Korea. During her time here she taught Language Acquisition in both the MYP and DP, coordinated SSST (School-supported self-taught languages in the DP), and English Language and Literature in the MYP.
When asked to describe Qanta, most of her colleagues use the word passion. Her passion for writing and storytelling drove her to establish and supervise the PaperClip, WISS’s only student publication. This contribution will be a lasting legacy here at WISS. Qanta was known for her conviction and would always hold students to the highest standards because she believed in their potential to succeed. Known as a hard-working and dedicated professional, she instilled the value of respect in students – respect towards teachers, towards their school, and towards their school facilities. She was firm, yet kind – she cared deeply about students’ well-being and worked tirelessly so that they would attain success.
As a friend, Qanta was caring and sweet. She took time to speak to people, listen and support those around her. She was known for her colorful use of language and lively conversations. One friend shared that Qanta “always inquired after my kids’ well-being and would usually joke around with my oldest son while we were waiting in line at the Cafeteria for our morning coffees. Qanta had a way with words – there was never a dull conversation with her. She knew how to tell entertaining stories and always had insights to share.”
Qanta was also genuine and known for her authentic storytelling. One friend described her as “the consummate wordsmith. She always loved her stories and photos to covey the raw, unadulterated truth of things. Conversely, she liked to call me The Embellisher, as every time I retold a story it became more elaborate and further removed from the truth of things. We would joke about how my stories were entertainment while hers were exposés.”
But, probably the most important role Qanta had at WISS and in life was that of mother. She was a devoted mother who wanted the best for Lulu. They were constant companions and did so many things together. Another close friend recounts that one of her favorite memories was when they “had a pizza party on top of our adjoining apartment buildings to watch the sun set while the children all played”. Everyone at WISS watched Qanta nuture a strong, mature, talented young woman.
We asked two close friends and colleagues which IB learner profile Qanta best exemplified and why.
“Caring: she truly cared about her students, colleagues and community. She pushed her students because she knew what they were capable of. She was deemed as tough, but deep down she knew what her students were capable of and she pushed for that.”
“Inquirer!!! She was the first to ask questions during meetings and seek guidance and clarification when in doubt. She was a perfectionist and always strived to do things properly.”
Everyone at WISS is deeply saddened by this loss. In the words of one of her closest friends, “It’s a poorer world without you.” But, Qanta’s memory will live on through the many lives she’s touched with her passion and caring.