Dear Me, 9 months ago

To: Junior Lina, August 2014
From: Senior Lina, June 2015

Dear me, 9 months ago,

 

I dimly remember making an Instagram post with the number of days until junior year is over, and – believe it or not – today is only 8 days away from D-Day. Since that day, 42 weeks ago, much has changed. As much as my brain is telling me to type, “Much has changed, all for the better,” my fingers hesitate because they know the statement to be false. So, “mostly” will have to do for now: much has changed, mostly for the better.

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Like I said, things have definitely changed, but I don’t exactly know what. My mornings have slowly yet surely started later and later throughout the year. Certain cherished people have left and certain unexpected people came. I’ve gained a few more skills to put under my belt and I’ve learned to deal with a couple more unfamiliar situations. But, really, me-nine-months-ago, I fail to pinpoint what exactly has shifted so greatly.

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Good ol’ AP Lang…

And that’s the thing, me-nine-months-ago, things change. Things change a little too quickly, a little too constantly for my liking. That BFFF of yours (one extra ‘forever’ because s/he’s extra important) is moving out of the country for abrupt reasons. That one opportunity you’ve pondered about for weeks, it’s gone now, you never took it. But things have changed for the better too – quickly and constantly. That one time you did look past your fears, you’ve conquered them. That one friend you’ve made in your quick trip to Indonesia set important, long-term goals in your life – visions, as people call them.

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Things change a little too quickly, a little too constantly for my liking. But while most would say, “Don’t be afraid of changes,” or “Make the best out of the changes,” I want to say, “Be grounded”. Be grounded in who you are; be grounded in the goals you have set; be grounded in what you know to be true, and don’t be shaken by the standards that others hastily put upon your life. Be grounded amid the ephemerality around you. You don’t have to travel down the same road as everyone else.

 

Maybe this is what changed, this realization right here… who knows.

 

You’re on the right track. Frankly, there never existed the one correct track to start with anyway. So keep doing what you’re doing, keep doing what you love to do – with the little passion you have. Keep putting effort into things even though the results seem too far away. And, finally, keep faking it ‘till you’re making it – after all, you came this far with that motto.

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As you are legal in a little over a year, please try to expand your mental, interpersonal, psychological, and academic capabilities. And please put effort into acting like an adult.

 

See you soon!

in Him,

Lina.

Last Words from Departing Teachers

Some of KIS’s best teachers say farewell.

The end of the year signals a series of farewells. Farewell to our friends, farewell to the seniors, and also, farewell to some dear teachers. Our KIS teachers care so much for their students, and it is heartbreaking to part with some of our teachers who have been such a huge aspect of our school life. Here’s what some of them had to say.

 

Mr. Fitzgerald (AP Calculus AB & Pre Calculus)

sarah-departing-teachers-lifestyle_18458021251_oWhere are you going now?

“Brasilia, Brazil.”

What is your favorite memory?

I’ve always enjoyed graduation because you get to see all the students that are leaving and you get to see a lot of students that come back.

What will you miss the most?

Soccer field.

Last words?

Enjoy life.

 

Ms. Gerry (AP Biology & Environment Science)

sarah-departing-teachers-lifestyle_17835562113_oWhere are you going now?

I am going to Brasilia, Brazil. The school is called School of the Nations. It’s a bilingual school, and I’ll be teaching secondary science. I’m moving to be with my other half.

What is your favorite memory?

I have sooo many good memories and it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, I would pick the times I spent with my advisory. My other one would be my first day at KIS, being nervous and not knowing the students yet. It’s an exciting, nerve-wracking kind of day. But it ended up being like I remember thinking at the end of the day that I ‘m gonna be happy here.

What will you miss the most?

My students. All my students. Each one you build a relationship with, they become a part of your experience and life. And it’s not like we can visit each other because I’m moving so far away, so I’ll miss them.

Last words?

Take time to appreciate the little things, and take a deep breath, and realize that everything is going to be all right.

 

 

Mrs. Summerton (AP Psychology)

sarah-departing-teachers-lifestyle_18268421128_oWhere are you going now?

“I’m going to Singapore. I will be at Singapore American School.”

What is your favorite memory?

“My favorite memories are of all the students that I have gotten to work with who have been amazing and wonderful. But for me personally, since I’ve been at KIS, I’ve been engaged, married, had a baby, and had another baby.”

What will you miss the most?

“I will miss the students the most. Everyday I get to spend time with the sweetest, kindest, and hardest working people that I’ve met.”

Last words?

“Be true to yourself, and be kind to yourself.”

 

 

Mr. Williams (Physics)

sarah-departing-teachers-lifestyle_18451974322_oWhere are you going now?

I’m going to start a company in Seoul. We’re going to make programmable circuit boards for school projects.

What is your favorite memory?

Bundang is a very beautiful place to live!

What will you miss the most?

I’ll miss the hardworking students.


Last words?

A good science and math background will help you in any field that you want to study.

 

Other teachers leaving this year include Mr. Drake, Ms. Novak, Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead, Ms. Abukazam, Mr. Jacobusse, and Mr. Bullock.

Teachers, thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication for your students! You were all amazing teachers with a passion for your students and for the subject you taught. We all wish the best in your futures. We’ll miss you and we love you!

Love,

KIS students

 

– Sarah Chin (’16)

Awareness Education on Social Network Usage to Sixth Graders

A group of freshman from the SPREAD club take on internet privacy and cyberbullying awareness for middle schoolers.

If you are a student in Korea International School, most likely, you will be seen carrying a Macbook. Especially in high school, there is no doubt about the benefits of using Macbooks as a means of education. Yet, as much as technology in classrooms yield hefty benefits, there are just as many harmful side effects that occur due to the supplement.

And one major, ongoing problem is the issue of Internet privacy and cyberbullying derived from social networking. Imagine the consequences when SNS users are oblivious underage teenagers, such as sixth graders in KIS. Out of the 48 sixth grade students surveyed, 36 own a Facebook account. And all 36 KIS sixth grade students have admitted to lying about their age on Facebook.

Underage teenagers face three major risks on SNS, which are content, contact, and commercial risks. Content risks involve reliability information, such as wrong information or gossip posted on site walls. Contact risks that derive from communication (instant messaging) involve hate­ messages, or indirect bullying like joining hate groups. Commercial risks include the misuse of personal data, where the user’s behaviour is tracked to help target various advertisements. Teens are especially vulnerable as they “have a harder time controlling their impulses and have higher thrill seeking and disinhibition scores than adults” (An intervention study in Social Network Education).

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Since last year, our club, SPREAD (a social sciences research club), decided to approach this issue of SNS privacy and cyberbullying in relation to younger KIS  students in the Middle School. A group of four freshmen students acted as “student teachers” to educate middle schoolers on Internet awareness.

 

Motivated by sci-fi movies, ​The Truman Show and Minority Report, that shocked us with the explicit privacy  consequences we face in our daily life, we wondered, is there any way we can help, perhaps sixth graders, from facing online risks in social media? And so began our experiment called “Awareness Education on Social Media Usage for KIS 6th Graders.”

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We directed the awareness education upon KIS sixth graders – where rising middle school students here at KIS first receive their Macbooks, the most vulnerable state to begin social networking. Our research question was, “Will education on social media online safety and usage, improve social media awareness for Sixth Grade students?”

To initiate the experiment, we arranged schedules with two Sixth Grade advisory classes of Ms. Meaghen Odell’s and Ms. Melinda Clark’s. We taught four lessons on SNS Education to each of the two advisories, along with tests and surveys prior to and after our experiment. The SNS Awareness lessons were organized in the order of, 1) Becoming aware of the overall privacy dangers of SNS, 2) Specific privacy criteria risks, 3) Specific types of SNS with its privacy concerns, and 4) Behavior in SNS.

For ten days, we taught both Ms. Odell and Ms. Clark’s advisories on social media during lunchtime. The club provided four keynotes to guide each lesson, and tried our best to create an interactive environment. We showed various videos, encouraged students to answer questions, and quizzed students at the end, with chocolate as reward.

 

And for the results: The results were determined through a survey comparing advisories that received awareness education versus advisories that did not. For advisories that received education, 8 out of 15 students in Ms. Odell’s advisory changed their privacy settings (i.e. blocking strangers, changing profiles to private, etc) and one student deactivated their Facebook after the education. Next, a short-answer question was asked upon naming solutions that can prevent SNS violations. In every of the 15 students’ response “Don’t post inappropriate posts/photos that you’ll regret” was included. Other solutions included “Never giving out personal information, logging out of shared computers, not accepting strangers’ friend requests, and more.” Thirteen out of 15 students wrote that the awareness education was helpful.

But for advisories that did not receive any education (Mr. Jeff Jacobsen, Mr. Lloyd  Clark), the results were surprising. Twelve out of 17 students wrote “I don’t know” or left the answer blank, on the question of solutions to prevent SNS violations. Five out of 17 students answered that “It’s okay to post anything in the Internet because you can delete it.” Two students answered “Yes” to the question “Your friend is having a party this weekend, so you should post their name, face picture, and home address so that everyone can come.” One student admitted to having experience “hacking another student’s account for fun.” Eight students admitted to having an experience of “an embarrassing photo of oneself getting posted online unwillingly or writing inappropriate language in posts.”

Overall, the Social Media Awareness Education proved successful at least upon sharing basic ideas of SNS consequences, and solutions to prevent them. Below are reactions by the Sixth Grade Advisory teachers, Ms. Odell and Ms. Clark.

 

Ms Odell

“The HS students who visited my 6th graders served as excellent role models. The younger students tend to be very unaware of the long-term implications of their activity on social networking sites. The SNS education program opened them to new information and perspectives about their on-line presence. Thank you to the student-teachers!”

Ms. Clark

“The confidence, knowledge and friendly professionalism exuded by these girls based on SNS Awareness education, was stellar. The 6th grade students appreciated the knowledge and friendliness of these older students. This has resulted in appreciating the importance of their individual security and their overarching capacity to be empowered and sensitive to social networking, as responsible participators. Thank you!”

– Sammie Kim (’18)

10 Things To Do During Pre-College Summer

High School has ended and graduation is over – now what? Here are 10 things to do during the summer for all the bored future college freshmen out there.

Header Summer is a time of sugar, spice, and everything nice. It’s a time you finally get to be dreamy, wear that swimming suit you’ve been dying to try on, and eat your favorite ice-cream flavor that’s back in style. It’s a time—a very memorable one, indeed—when you’re allowed to be crazy and carefree without the loads of schoolwork dragging you back to reality. It’s when summer life becomes your reality. But for those with the college countdown ready to go, this summer is a bit different, special. Before packing bags and hitting the waves, all seniors AKA pre-college students should give the below to-do-list a try.

 

1 Before you embark on your crazy summer expeditions, whip out your high-school yearbook and shuffle through all the heart-warming messages your friends scribbled. Relive all the favorite memories that resurface, relish all the “thank you’s” and rare compliments that your friends were too shy to say in person, and get closure on your high school life. Once you accept the fact that you’re no longer a high-schooler, you’re set and ready to go.

 

2 Summer is a time of starting anew. Restock on your old wardrobe; you’re probably going to go shopping anyway. Throw away—or even better, give away—your freshmen year clothing that are gathering dusty bunnies in the corner of your room, and say goodbye to all your preppy clothing! Besides your closet, your room also will also need a makeover. Get rid of all the unopened AP prepbooks, piles of SAT vocabulary, and months-old school worksheets—you’re done with that life!

 

3 Especially for those attending college abroad, your all-time favorite places will no longer be of walking distance. Go as often as possible to your respective restaurants or cafes, order your beloved entrees, and take long, slow bites. Commit them to memory for you to think of when you’re later munching on the bland dining hall food.

 

4 The time of dreaming and listing is over; go take a dive at your bucket list. Always wanted to dye your hair pink? Go for it! Wanted to combine your favorite foods into one, gigantic bundle of a mess? Why not? After all, you’re only young once. When else are you going to use your youth as an excuse?

 

5 Whether you fly across the ocean or stay in the country, go wherever your heart desires. Going on road trips with your friends is an option, or you can even simply go camping right outside your house. Just make sure to make out the most of what little time you have.

 

6 Whenever, wherever, and whatever you do, make sure to take a camera along with you. Pictures can help you remember minuscule details and even cheer you up when you feel homesick. Why not even upload them on social media? After all, your memories may fade but you’ll still have the pictures to keep for life.

 

7 Sure, summer is fun but spending it with someone else will make it even better. Before you head off to college for another round of academically packed schedules, find a lovely girl/boy, strike up a conversation, and have a short summer fling! It’s sweet and fun—in an innocent way, of course.

 

8 Say goodbye to your mother’s food and hello to the dining hall. If not, learn how to cook dishes of your own. No, not toasting bread, boiling ramen, or scrambling eggs, but real food like fettuccine alfredo, casseroles, and stir-fries. Soon enough, with practice, practice, and practice you may be able to whip up a gourmet meal.

 

9 After all your wild journeys, take time to settle down with a good book. You finally have time to read for pleasure, not for school, so attack the pile of books that you’ve neglected for a while. Fantasy? Romance? Classic? Whichever you choose, it will calm you down and provide you with some alone-time and an opportunity for introspection.

 

10 Last, but certainly not least, make time for your lovelies. Soon, you’ll be an ocean away from your family and the next time you see them may be during Christmas. Make sure to create new memories and take advantage of your mother’s home cooked meals—you’ll miss them. Don’t neglect your friends either. Be a teen, stock up on snacks, and prepare a massive sleepover that you’ll never forget.  

 

In the end, just enjoy every second. You only experience this carefree summer once, so cherish it—you definitely deserve to.

 

– Emily Kim (’16)

Headers by Yunji Lee

Graduation ’15 Part IV: Gratitude for the Graduates

Just two words: thank you.

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All beautiful things must come to an end, and this beautiful class of 2015 and their beautiful – questionable word choice – time here at KIS has also come to a dissolution.

 

oh-lina---graduation_17714566284_oBeginning with the music department’s annual – yet still stunning – ensemble, to Mr. van Moppes’ modest, genuine speech, to Joonyon Park’s striking solo. From Cindy Lim’s beautiful high-note melodies, to Jaehyun Park’s joyous serenade to the class of 2015, all the way to Ara Cho’s usual moment of selfie; this graduation was filled with all things cheerful, unique, K15story-worthy, just like the class of 2015.

 

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Seniors, your class in its own entity has made a difference here at KIS. Your unparalleled leadership – whether you recognize it or not – has closed the wide chasm between upperclassmen and underclassmen, moving KIS away from the rigidness of a typical Korean society, and brought comfort and inclusiveness, and “joy” into our lives (as Jaehyun Park so eloquently sang), all of which the underclassmen will hopefully have enough responsibility to carry onto the next generation of KIS. This class has produced, by far, the largest number of competent leaders, and though the current juniors are burdened by the thought of following after your foot steps and filling up the ineffably large shoes you’ve left behind, these two overused words cannot be truer: thank you.

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Thank you for showing us how to have fun and enjoy each others’ company amidst the most stressful times. Thank you for leading by example, not by words. Thank you for being our friend, not our sunbaes.

But most of all, thank you for being you – the humble, creative, self-driven, and funny, you.

– Lina Oh (’16)

Graduation 2015:

Part 1: High School Bucket List

Part 2: “If Only I…”

Part 3: Final Remarks

Graduation ’15 Part III: Final Remarks

“You are young only once so don’t fear the adventure. At the end, you’ll find out that the things you feared were actually nothing special.” Chaewon Lee

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We tend to moan in agony when asked about our days in high school, saying that it was a hectic time filled with academic burdens – the all too familiar banal hardships. Yet we all know that it would be a lie that cherishable moments didn’t constitute our time at KIS at all. The graduates of Class of 2015 bring the good times into perspective as they reflect on their younger years and light-hearted moments of bliss that have been commonly overlooked.

 

Chaewon Lee

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It’s been almost 8 years since I came to attend Korea International School from the States. As I was transitioning from a timid middle school student to a high school student, there were uncountable parts that I worried about. But as I was meeting old and new companions from this school, I found out that nothing was new. You are young only once so don’t fear the adventure. At the end, you’ll find out that the things you feared were actually nothing special. Also, do not forget to cherish the moment. Do not waste time thinking about your future all the time. You should be feeling grateful of what you are doing at present life. I’ll miss every little bits of KIS: from awkward skybridge encounters to elevators at the back side of the G building. But mostly, my friends who always stayed beside me whenever I had difficult times in either human relationships or academics.  Although I have to admit that only few will stay in touch with me after the graduation, I want to thank the Class of 2015 for bearing with me. I personally want to recognize Soohyun Kim (’15) and Dain Lee (’15) for the best memories. Even if each of us had different philosophies, we, at last, finished on the same line. In the end, friends are true presents in your high school life. I want to thank and congratulate the Class of 2015!becky-nostalgic-class-of-2016-lifestyle--4_18145204949_o


John Park

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I’m going to miss the people more so than anything else. Over the nine years that I’ve been a part of this community, I’ve made countless memories and valuable friendships, some of which I’ve been maintaining for all nine years. Although a new beginning awaits in college, thinking about how I’ll be leaving my second home and my friends gives me this wretched sensation. Perhaps, this is what you call bittersweet. I’ll truly miss the spontaneous visits to the zoo, long bike rides to Incheon, the Busan trip, overseas MUN conferences, EOW book club meetings, and, not to mention, SLC gaming at 10:30 PM. Without doubt, the memories and bonds I’ve made throughout my stay at KIS will always remain as a significant part of my life. I still remember in 4th grade, Joseph and I made bets on who would read the most books in a month. In 5th grade, sadch and I were soccer fanatics who would practice after school everyday even with intimidating high schoolers. In 7th grade sonch, jeongs, and I would meet up, say we’re working on Chinese projects, and end up just messing around. In 9th grade, I recall being with my XC teammates on the trunk of the van, soaked wet from running in the rain during the Guam race. Now looking back, wow… it’s been quite a long journey. For these past three years, I was always in the crowd congratulating the previous seniors on their graduation. It sure does feel weird now that it’s my turn to step onto the stage and shake Mr. Drakes’ hand. I’ll miss you, KIS.

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 Jessica Um

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This past year has marked my 9th and final year at Korea International School. The most valuable part of high school that I will be taking away as I transition into college will be the countless relationships I’ve built up with different students and teachers. The tight community at KIS has allowed me to learn and grow so much from the people I have had the privilege of being surrounded by, and I will be forever grateful to call myself a proud Phoenix. I hope you will too cherish and make the most out of the moments you have left in KIS. Good luck and most importantly, always have fun! 


Eric Kwon

becky-nostalgic-class-of-15-lifestyle---9_18143775820_oThey’re too many memories to say which one was the best. So in short, I’m going to miss all my upperclassmen and underclassmen during my basketball seasons, my cafe sessions in Bundang, my road trip squad and my bi-yearly trips to Seoul.

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Philip Bae

becky-nostalgic-class-of-15-lifestyle---10_18143679518_oYou know how when you go off to college, you don’t receive much opportunity to join sports since it’s too competitive? That’s why I’m going to miss bonding with my teammates.

 

 

 

 


 Daniel Suh

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As a person who is relatively younger compared to students in my grade, I often felt I like I was more comfortable with the underclassmen. We had so many things in common that we were able to predict how each other felt and expect how others would act. This relationship I had with the underclassmen significantly helped me throughout the school year and gave me unforgettable memories that I will miss forever.

 

 

 


Certainly, it’s hard to admit that high school’s over and college looms only months ahead, but what more can be done than to be thankful of the memories?

To the graduates: Blueprint wishes the best of luck on your upcoming journey, expresses gratitude for sharing your innocent recollections, and congratulates you on enduring high school with grace. To the underclassmen: hold dear the days that you take for granted, since time will buzz by without you being conscious of its agility.

With the school year coming to an end and academics coming to a slight cease, it is reckoned that we take a break to look back and appreciate what we had, or what we still have. Who knows? These moments may never come again.

– Becky Yang (’16)

 

Graduation 2015:

Part 1: High School Bucket List

Part 2: “If Only I…”

Part 4: Gratitude for the Graduates