How to Survive APs (Part 2)

Some of KIS’s AP Math and Science veterans give words of wisdom for surviving the year in one piece.

It’s a school-wide known fact: all math and science APs will murder you and your GPA.

As the wise upperclassmen above us have always said:

“Don’t take AP Chem/Bio/Physics.”

“AP Calc (AB/BC) is gonna be pretty hard so gluck…”

The first few weeks of math and science APs will surely be tough, but hang in there! We got some more tips for you to get through these difficult classes.



Yunji Lee (‘16) – Mr. Robert:

“Do all the homework even if the teacher doesn’t check, make sure you get all the practice test problems, and never be scared to talk to your teacher if you need help. Also, write down all the major equations/formulas on a paper, it makes reviewing for finals/AP exam much easier.”

Serim Jang (‘16) – Mr. Fitzgerald:

Ask the teacher if you don’t get something because if you push it back we keep building on the content we learned so your foundation is super important.



Hyunjae (‘16) – Mr. Whitehead:

  1. Solve as many MCQs as you can! (textbook, princeton review) – AP Calc BC is one of those class where solving problem is the only way to improve your grade. Reading the textbook over and over is inefficient.
  2. Go to AP central and try solving the FRQs. The FRQs in AP central really helps you understand and apply BC concepts. Without AP central FRQs, I would’ve not gotten a 5.
  3. Never stress out for the questions you got wrong! AP calc BC is well known for its crazy curve 🙂

Even if you get like 70% in practice tests, it’s still a 5. Its better to polish the concepts you know rather than trying to understand the concepts you dont know

Austin Kim (‘16) – Mr. Whitehead:

“Well do your best and maybe you will get an A, just maybe. And go to hagwon.”



Junghyun Kim (‘16) – Ms. Chen:

“For AP Stats, you really have to keep up with the reading because the class is mostly consisted of problem solving and practices and if you don’t know something, make sure to ask right away! And don’t forget to review!!!” 

Amy Lee (‘16) – Ms. Chen:

  1. Use lunch time wisely to ask her a lot of questions. She sometimes gives you very good clues to what comes out on tests.
    2. Keep EVERY SINGLE WORKSHEETS she gives you and review them. Usually test questions are very similar to the questions on worksheets.
    3. Get familiar with using your calculator. AP Statistics can become very easy if you use your calculator effectively.
    4. Do not procrastinate because there are a lot of pop quizzes in Ms. Chen’s class. Spend just 10 minutes going over notes every day.



Hyunjae Moon (‘16) – Mr. Hopkin:

“1. Watch bozeman science → it helps organize complex concepts

  1. Read textbooks if needed → although reading the biology textbook is recommended, it’s not required. Sometimes it’s better to watch Bozeman Science and solve prepbook problems.
  2. Solve as many practice tests as you can → solving a lot of questions will definitely help you prepare for the AP exam.”

Leona Maruyama (‘17) – Ms. Gerry:

“I used to go over my notes thoroughly and do every MCQ on the textbook; take advantage of what you already have because teachers sometimes they take questions from textbooks. So seek help from your teacher! Honestly, teachers love when you ask questions (not only inside, but also outside of class). They’ll know you really want to learn and they’ll know you’re genuinely interested, so go in the morning/lunch/FREE BLOCK and TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YO TEACHERS.

Also Bozeman videos on Youtube help a lot. Don’t try to memorize but really try to commit things to memory by understanding them so that way it stays in ur long term memory. So don’t show up on the test day confused; be sure you understand EVERYTHING no memorizing please.”



Clara Yoon (‘16):

1) Use 5 steps instead of barrons

2) Solve a lot of practice questions

3) Solve different kinds of frqs

4) Don’t procrastinate with your notes!


Michelle Park (‘16):

“Don’t procrastinate on note taking because if it piles up, you’ll be up at 3 in the morning regretting your decisions.

Really understand the labs and write proper lab write ups because it will help you put concepts together and remember them.

Take advantage of test corrections and be grateful that you have them.”



So Young Jeon (‘16):

Work on the in-class tasks and other FRQ really thoroughly to prep for tests. Practice explaining it to others because it helps to put it in your memory! It’s really important to know the concepts well. And Mr. Fazio doesn’t give weird grades or questions so it’ll be okay!”

Willy Yun (‘16)

“Everything will one day make sense, so don’t be discouraged if you do badly on one concept.”


Hopefully, these tips helped calm your nerve in the least. By the end of the year, you’ll survive the year in one way or another, lest it be after a horrifically stressful year, or after quite an easy journey. But an undeniable fact is that you will survive, and one day it will all be over. After all

YOU GOT THIS! We all believe in you.


– Jaye Ahn (’16)

Headers by Yunji Lee (’16)

AP Survival (English & Social Studies) Part 1

How to Survive APs (Part 1)

Some of KIS’s AP English and Social Studies veterans give words of wisdom for surviving the year in one piece.

It’s a school-wide known fact: AP Lang, World, and US History will murder you, while AP Lit, Econ, and Psych will be a “breeze”. 

As the upperclassmen above us have always said:

“APUSH murdered me.”

“You literally write 50 essays in AP Lang”

As we enter our fifth week of school, most of us have already taken our first tests and experienced our first taste of heart-wrenching GPA drops as well as exhausting midnight study sessions (and maybe a few all nighters?). Feeling like you’re slipping in class? Worried that you won’t be able to survive this god forsaken year? Fear not – Blueprint’s gotchu. Here’s a compilation of words wisdom from English and Social Studies AP class veterans to guide you on your amazingly painful/enlightening (insert AP class name(s) here) journey.


AP Lang

Sarah Chin (‘16):

“Don’t get discouraged if an essay score is lower than you want, and keep exploring different ways to write to find your style! And don’t forget to read over essays and use what worked in all future essays again. Overall take risks and work hard!”

Serim Jang (‘16) – Mr. van Moppes:

“Make sure to read the sample essays over and over. And over! They will definitely help you find enlightening examples of writing that will bring out your voice once you learn to incorporate them into your own, enhanced writing. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask Mr. v for any advice or help! He’s the best study guide you have to advise you throughout the year.”

Olivia Kim (‘16) – Mr. van Moppes:

“1.) Let it go, 2.) Sample essays sample essays sample essays.”


AP Lit

Peter Kim (‘15) – Mr. Quirin:

“It’s more difficult not to get a good grade in Q’s class.”

Jin Hong Jung (‘15) – Ms. Turnbeaugh:

“Read the assignments and don’t rely on SparkNotes too much.”



Hyun Jae Moon (‘16) – Mr. Hubbs:

“1. Read and take notes → historical facts should already be in your head before coming to class.

  1. Write many essays out of class as well! → FRQs require implementing historical thinking skills. Just knowing the historical facts won’t help you.
  2. Watch the crash course videos after reading the textbook! → Don’t watch the videos before reading, or you will probably not read the book at all, assuming that you know everything.”

Clara Yoon (‘16) – Mr. Farley:

“Keep up with readings and do what’s asked of you, but remember it’s more about the process than the outcome. Also read Amsco 3 times through before the exam.”

Olivia Kim (‘16) – Mr. Farley:

“Just don’t let it go…”



Seiyeon Park (‘17) – Mr. Yanuzeski

“1. Keep up with the reading, really get to know the content, not just for quizzes but for future essays as well

  1. Don’t be afraid to go to Mr Y for help. Even if you feel that you’re doing decent on your essays, always go in and ask how you can improve. Consistently checking in will help you find and fix your weak spots more quickly.
  2. Look up sample essay prompts and practice writing them on your own (with a time limit), and ask Mr Y if he can look over them. This will give you extra practice outside of class and thus some new perspective on the essays.”

Daisy Kim (‘16) – Mr. Plouffe

“It’s best to not fall behind reading because it’s seriously going to hurt you later on. And always try to participate in class discussions because it helps retain the information A LOT.”

Yumi Kim (‘17) – Mr. Yanuzeski

“The textbook is love, the textbook is life – it’s the one thing anyone can rely on throughout the year. And if you don’t know something, the textbook always has your back. Also, is your savior before quizzes and exams. It’s the perfect way to review and it makes sure that you know the material.



Justin Kwon (‘16) – Mr. Reshke:

“Watch ACDC videos, use Barrons, solve a lot of practice tests, and look at previous year AP exams on College Board.”

Christine Kim (‘16) – Mr. Reshke:

We have quizzes at the end of almost every class, either on our homework content or the things we learned in class that day, so it’s very important that you come prepared, get a hundred, and not bring your grades down before the big unit tests. Mr. Reschke’s class is always full of anticipation because he doesn’t lecture much; he also plays active games in which we have to physically walk around, team up, and devise economic strategies to let us better understand the class material. And of course, his Twix and Cliff bars are the best!

Michelle Park (‘16) – Mr. Hubbs:

“Watch his videos, pay attention in class, do test corrections properly, solve lotsa practice problems, don’t stress out! (it’s not that hard to get an A b/c the test corrections boost your grade), or also buy the Crash Course book it helps organize the 10000 graphs in microecon (and legit his videos are the best tho).”


ap psych

Sarah Chin (‘16) – Ms. Summerton:

“Review as often as you can, and use the psych techniques to learn to help you study, like using different encoding techniques such using mnemonic devices, sleeping well, and reviewing daily to make sure the information doesn’t get forgotten. and really try to understand the concepts with examples and applications rather than memorization”

Lina Oh (‘16) – Ms. Summerton:

“Do the reading; listen to her lectures; know the difference between really tedious and confusing names and concepts; come up with examples when studying terms and concepts– they never ask for direct definitions anyway.”


Hopefully, these tips helped calm your nerve in the least. By the end of the year, you’ll survive the year in one way or another, lest it be after a horrifically stressful year, or after quite an easy journey. But an undeniable fact is that you will survive, and one day it will all be over. After all

YOU GOT THIS! We all believe in you.


– Jaye Ahn (’16)

Headers by Yunji Lee (’16)

AP Survival (Math and Science) Part 2

IKON’s Debut Kills the Chart

IKON has finally come alive for real with their new debut song, “My Type.”

Immediately, IKON’s debut warm-up single “My Type” surpassed three million views on Youtube since its release last Tuesday. Considering that this is only a “warm up” single, it is a wonder how much potential they possess as rising K-Pop stars.

A medium tempo hip-hop track overlaid with gentle, smooth vocals, “My Type” evokes just the cute, lovable image of a group of boys blinded by first love. And on top of the upbeat hip-hop vibe with its simple but sweet lyrics, the scenes in the music video from eating hamburgers to dancing subtle comical dances, iKON displays their light and silly sides, effortlessly winning over the hearts of their hungry fans.

IKON wins over their fans in the music video (Chosun news)

As YG’s new seven-member boy band after BigBang and Winner, IKON has already been well known to the public even before their debut. Through competitive survival programs like Win and Mix & Match, each member got to show off their own remarkable musical talent such as composing, singing, rapping, and powerful dancing. Moreover, rapper Bobby’s first place victory in Mnet’s hip-hop program last year had also stirred much interest and attention from the public.

Survival programs “Win” in 2013 and “Mix & Match” in 2014 (Soompi)


Bobby in Show Me the Money (Soompi)

Now after one year of restless waiting since Mix & Match, IKON’s formal debut has generated much sensation to be broadcasted even in the KBS news. IKON’s already enormous fandom is stretching across Asia. “My Type” swept all seven of the local music charts—Melon, Olleh, Bugs, Genie, NAVER Music, Monkey 3, and Soribada, as well as the overseas iTunes chart in Hong Kong, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

iKON featured in the KBS News
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.58.05 AM
IKON sweeps the Melon Chart

The founder of YG entertainment, Yang Hyun suk, also expressed in the Ilgan Sports:  “I was very happy when iKON raised up to number one on the charts. I’m so thankful to all the fans who’ve been showing their support,” also referring  ‘My Type’ as “an appetiser with a sweet and sour taste that stimulates the hunger.”

IKON’s fist debut concert “Showtime” on October 3rd will be held at the Seoul Olympic Gymnastic Hall. The tickets were completely sold out in minutes on the day of the opening sale. IKON will release “Debut Half Album Welcome Back” on October 1st, followed by “Debut Full Album Welcome Back” on November 2nd. With melodies written by B.I, Choice37 and Kush, lyrics written by B.I, Bobby, and Kush, all the songs in the album are self-composed. In addition, at least four more music videos and eighteen new songs are to be expected in the next three months.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.34.32 AM

With an astonishing outcome compared to most rookie idol groups, IKON, like its name, seems to shine with ambition to be the next icon of K-pop.


– Sammie Kim (’18)

Schools Wasting Money on Technology in Classrooms Says OECD

A recent report by the OECD states technology’s inability to improve classrooms and can actually hinder student’s learning

Look familiar? (Albany Law School)

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international organisation, recently released a report on the effects of technology in classrooms. This report stated the inability of technology in classrooms to help students and overuse of technology in class actually hindered student’s learning.

“Despite considerable investments in computers, Internet connections and software for educational use, there is little solid evidence that greater computer use among students leads to better scores in mathematics and reading,” the report said.

In 2014, roughly $1.9 billion was spent on technology in education worldwide and it is expected to exceed $2 billion at the end of this year. This shows significant change from just five years ago, where only about $385 million was spent according to CB Insights, a venture capital firm.

This extreme amount of money spent on laptops, iPads, SmartBoards and much more, naturally leads many to be curious on how effective technology in classrooms really is. OECD tried to answer that question with a two year long study.

It was stated in the OECD’s report “Students, Computers and Learning” that those with excessive computer use during the day had the lowest results regardless of their socio-economic class. Furthermore, since the beginning of the technology buzz, it has been reported that the skill level of rising ninth graders in fundamental subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics has dropped drastically.

“One of the most disappointing findings of the report is that the socio-economic divide between students is not narrowed by technology, perhaps even amplified,” says Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s head of education. Many attribute this to the amount of technology available at home. Those with more exposure to technology were able to perform better in the technology centric classrooms.

It was also repeatedly pointed out that countries with the lowest amount of technology use in classrooms, South Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong, are also today’s leaders of education. It was reported that in South Korea, on average, less than ten minutes were spent on computers or other such Internet connected devices, while Shanghai was just under 10 minutes and Hong Kong close to 12 minutes.

(Education News)

So the question is: Is KIS’s computer policy advantageous for students? Many will quickly answer “Yes!” With responses which highlight the limitless knowledge the internet provides, as well as its versatility (textbook, calculator, notebook, etc.), students will go on and on in the ‘advantages’ of personal laptops. However, many students admit it can often be distracting with unchecked access to videos, social media and games.

“It is true that classrooms with high technology have more distractions. The question is does one value higher information flow over being off task for a higher amount of time. I believe the trade off is worth it,” says, Mr. Hopkins, a science teacher.

Julie Suh, a KIS sophomore, has a different stance. She says she “find[s] it easier to study and retain information when [she] writes with a pen and pencil” rather than on a computer.

Technology in classrooms, however, is not all bad. As the world becomes increasingly technological, it is a vital skill to be able to proficiently use certain technology. Exposure to it at an early age will prove to be advantageous in the workforce. Furthermore, it creates a more engaging environments for students. The incorporation of educational games and videos can make dull lessons more exciting.

OECD states that technology in the classrooms is not the problem, but the use of it should be more regulated. It also reports that blindly spending money on technology in education is useless. Regardless, technology is starting to become an important aspect of education.


– Juyon Lee (’18)

Introducing A Block

Everything you need to know about the new A block, new to the 2015-16 school year.

It’s the beginning of the school year and you’re already worried about the amount of workload you have. With multiple APs, music, and language courses – and not to mention the additional burden of college applications and standardized tests – it’s difficult to keep track of your tight schedule. But still, you find everything easier to cope with than expected. Why? It’s all thanks to the extra breathing room the autonomous block presents.

Emily Kim: Autonomous Block
Matthew Kim and Kyle Shin (’16) enjoying A block

The newly implemented autonomous block, also known as the “A Block,” is a free period that provides both space and time for students to cater to their needs. Seniors have their autonomous block during A and E block, juniors during D and H block, sophomores during C and G block, and freshmen during B and F block.

The length the block is equivalent to that of a regular class: 1 hour and 20 minutes. So every other day, with the exception of Fridays, students essentially have only three classes. This special chunk of time can be spent in whatever way fits the student. They can study for a test or quiz, complete unfinished or get a head start on homework, work on group projects,  hold conferences with available teachers, or even (secretly) catch up on sleep.

Emily Kim: Autonomous Block

Various locations are available for the block. The conference hall is a favorite for many with its comfortable sofas, and the newly constructed learning lounge is another relaxing environment where students can stretch out on bean bags. A quiet alternative is the library, where those who want undisturbed, quiet time can go to focus.

Emily Kim: Autonomous Block
JS Huh (’16) studying hard during A block

The autonomous block is very much in its beginning stages. So far, responses are enthusiastic. With the block’s flexibility, students can explore and search for areas of person enrichment and development. Considering the often busy, hectic schedule we all have, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to have some time of self-reflection and exploration.


– Emily Kim (’16)

The Biggest Cross-Country Team in KIStory

“Run like you stole something!” –Mr. Y

Cross-country is known for its 10 kilometer sessions every practice and countless cases of shin splints throughout the season. During every practice, Captain Jerry Kim (12) witnesses his runners complaining: “I’m so quitting this tomorrow,” until the very last day of season (what an irony!). Despite the daily adversities, KIS currently has the biggest team in KIStory.


So let’s see why some students are crazy enough to join this team:

  1. Free Karaoke Experience

Running (for some, sprinting) 10~13K everyday means not only increasing your cardiovascular abilities, but also expanding your lung capacities. You can even hear it! Everyday after practice, all runners gather at the fitness center and sing out their sore muscles while taking an icy shower. It’s hard to imagine how you won’t grow close after an intimate session of karaoke. Quite an interesting experience to jump into don’t you think?

“Imagine ten high schoolers singing “I Miss You” by Bum Soo Kim. That’s us in the fitness center shower room everyday.” – Jerry Kim (12)

  1. Join the Biggest Fam-Bam

While SFS has 40, YISS has 40 and SIS has 30, KIS has an astounding number of 65 runners this year! More people means more support, right? All cross-country runners share post-practice stretches, “cool-down” jogs, and the overall experience all together. Though many athletes have been injured lately, the whole team still endures one another’s pains together in the fitness center. Also, there’s a rumor that H505 has ice treatments to enjoy during your newly embedded autonomous blocks.

“By running in cross-country, we don’t get to know our limits. We get to know that there is no limit.” – Terry Lee (12)

  1. Going Bananas for Bananas

“If you’re not a fan of water and bananas, join cross-country. The two will be your lifesavers.” – Joy Youn (11)

Every cross-country member knows that they run for bananas. KIS is the only KAIAC team that provides potassium-packed bananas to every single player, after every single practice. The feeling of achievement these bananas bring exceeds the daily pain, encouraging the runners to push their limits a little further.

  1. Crazy Coaches

“Run like you stole something!” – Mr. Yanuszeski

KIS cross-country team is known for its crazy coaches – Mr. Yanuszeski, Mr. Bunting, Mr. Reschke and Ms. Yousey. Most of them ran in high school and in college, and they sprint through the entire training session. On top of their above-and-beyond physical abilities, they are “laid back” and great partners to talk to before and after practice. Talk about having excellent examples!

“Mr. Bunting wears shoes that look like socks and has a water bottle that looks like a bag…” – Yoo Bin Shin (10)

  1. Potential Guam Trip

If you are the lucky top 7 of either gender of cross-country, you get to compete in the Guam race! Running alongside international runners, making new friends, enjoying delicious meals, all while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Guam – who wouldn’t miss that?


– Lina Oh (’16)

African Art Hotter than Gold

The value of contemporary African art is skyrocketing prices and demand from investors worldwide. Art pieces bought back in 2008 have increased up to 10-fold in value today.

“You could buy a piece of good art for 20,000 Naira [about $100 at current conversion rates]. Today it would sell for millions,” Prince Yemisi Shyllon, reported to be Nigeria’s largest private art collector commented.

A leading factor of the increasing demand and value of African art is the exponential growth of African economies and the rising wealth of the middle class. More and more Africans are investing and spending their time and money in appreciating art and their culture. As we’ve all learnt in AP Economics, as the demand increases and the demand curve shifts to the right, the price undoubtedly increases.

These investments made in Africa have also caught the attention of the global market. Contemporary African artists have started fueling international exhibitions as their works continue to rise in fame. And this domino effect of holding auctions has raised much awareness especially in Europe and the US.

According to director of contemporary African Art auctions at Bonhams, Giles Peppiat, there are two principal reasons for this sudden awareness of African art: “Until about 15 years ago there was no email, there was virtually no internet and you can’t do these sales without modern communication. I also think it has to do with the general globalization of the art world. People are now much more used to seeing other cultures’ art at auction.”

These are some of the pieces that have been sold at unbelievable prices:

‘Senufo Female’ Statue
An extremely rare ‘Senufo Female’ Statue curved by Ivory Coast-based artist, Master of Sinasso, sold for a record $12 million in November 2014. It was part of a $41.6 million worth of collection sold by an ambitious African art collector, Myron Kunin, at the Sotheby’s in New York.

‘Muminia Lega’
The Muninia mask, a previously unseen masterpiece, was auctioned off at Sotheby’s France for about $4.4 million, one of the highest price in history for an African mask.

Through these auctions, Africa has its golden opportunity to showcase African art to the world, as the fundamental role of art should not be overshadowed despite the investment appeal.

Africa’s booming contemporary art market is without doubt on its way to creating a legacy, and spectators are looking forward to what more can be presented to the world.

– Hyun Jung Choi (’16)

Team “Hope & Punishment”

Is it volleyball season or captain Harry’s hunting season? Click to find out more about this year’s Varsity Boys Volleyball team!

Any Facebook addict would know the love this year’s varsity boys volleyball team has for each other. From visits to Coach Callahan’s house, to intimate team photos taken by managers Jiyoung Choi (‘16) and Cindy Kim (‘16), this team has shown (maybe a little too much) love for this year’s team on and off the social media platforms.

(Harry Song, '16)
Smiles all around. (Harry Song, ’16)

In light of such an indiscreet affection for one another, Blueprint decided to take a deeper look at this year’s varsity boys volleyball team:

1. How is VBV 2015 different from other seasons?

Harry Song (‘16): This year’s volleyball team is vastly different from the years past since we lost a lot of players who both excelled in and enjoyed volleyball, like David Chin (‘14), Jaemin Shin (‘14), Philip An (‘15), Jeff Kim (‘15), and more. This year, we truly believe in “Hard work beats talent” (kudos for the aphorism, Mr. Evans!). So, we will work harder than we ever did to achieve our dream: undefeated season.

Kevin Han (‘15): The “hogu-ness” is at its peak.

Jason Kwon (‘15): Volleyball itself is a hard sport because we have to come back after a long summer of relaxation and get adjusted right away to an intense season ahead of us. But by the look of our undefeated season so far, I’m sure that we are fully capable of keeping this up and finishing with no “L” in our records.

2. How is the season so far?

Kevin Han (‘15): We are undefeated for the season with 4:0!
Harry Song (‘16): Although we lost to YISS and SFS in the pre-season tournament, our team is improving day by day. We’ll take them down in AISA!

3. Any fun facts?

Kevin Han (‘15): Watch out ladies… Harry Song (‘16) is hunting for freshmen girls for prom…

Harry Song (‘16): We’re the team “Hope & Torture” (희망고문)!

Jason Kwon (‘16): What does “Hope & Torture” mean? We give “hope” to the other team when we make mistakes, but we take it right back and “torture” them with our success. It’s hard to explain, and I’m not even sure who first came up with this name… Also, another fun fact: Harry Song (‘16) is a scary man!

4. Any tips for current and future volleyball players?

Harry Song (‘16): PLEASE talk! PLEASE communicate! PLEASE respect each other!

Jason Kwon (‘16): Have fun when playing, but know when to focus and be serious. If we don’t enjoy the game, there is no point of playing for the team or playing this sport. However, we shouldn’t be having fun simply by fooling around, but by playing as a team to achieve our goals together.

– Lina Oh (’16)

Featured Image: Yunji Chung (’16)

North and South Korea Agree to Family Reunions in October

Decades of separation, but never once did they lose hope.

Thousands of Korean families have been torn apart for more than six decades since the Korean war. Although there have been numerous attempts at holding reunions, cooperation between the two sister countries was difficult.

South Korean Cho Il Woong, 81, shows his family photo in North Korea (Lee Jin-man/AP)

But for the second time in five years, there is one more chance for another heartbreaking, tearful reunion.

After the recent artillery fights across the border due to the land mine explosions that wounded two South Korean soldiers last month, the North and South have negotiated to ease tensions between the neighboring countries. The result is an agreement to hold a reunion for 100 individuals from each country from October 20th to 26th at Mount Kumgang, a resort located on the North’s east coast.  

North Korean delegate, Park Yong-il, and South Korean delegate, Lee Duk-haeng, meets at Panmunjom for talks over family reunion (NY Times)

More than 130,000 South Koreans have registered to the government since 1988 for a hopeful reunion, but only 66,000 are believed to be alive today—more than half are in their 80s and 90s. The majority had already passed away without ever having a chance to hear from their estranged family members across the border.

Unfortunately, the process of being selected to participate in the reunion is based on luck; not all 66,000 can participate in the reunion. On September 15, the South will offer a list of 250 names while the North will offer 200 in order to check whether the people are still alive. Then finally, 500 individuals, randomly chosen by a computer, will be reduced to 200 after going through a series of interviews and medical exams. Then, the final 100 participants will be selected based on the likelihood of finding a surviving family member from the North.

Often being the first or last time the families will ever meet, the encounters are brief and emotional.

North Korean Kim Ho-Sook, right, 83, meets her South Korean brother Kim Ho-Dae in 60 years (CNN News)
North Korean Kim Ho-Sook, right, 83, meets her South Korean brother Kim Ho-Dae in 60 years (CNN News)
In 2014 South Korean Park Yang-gon reunites with his North Korean brother Park Yang-su (News1/Reuters)

In the last reunion on February 2014, a total of 200 North and South Korean families met over a period of six days. Jang Chun, one of the 100 South Koreans who had made his trip all the way to Mount Kumgang, met his brother, Jang Hwa Chun, and younger sister, Jang Keum Soon, who were once only children in the North.

In 2014, Jang Chun reunited with his siblings from North Korea
In 2014, Jang Chun reunited with his siblings from North Korea (CNN News)
Jang Chun's letter containing photos of his family in North Korea through the Redcross (CNN News)
Jang Chun’s letter containing photos of his family in North Korea through the Redcross (CNN News)

As a military conscript during the Korean war, Jang was taken prisoner by the United Nations in South Korea, leaving his family in the North.

Then five years ago, Jang received a letter from the Red Cross, containing a black-and-white photo of his brother at a wedding.

“It was shocking,” Jang said. “I didn’t even know they were alive, although I had hoped they were. After reading the letter, I started crying, I was filled with both joy and sorrow” (CNN News).

“Every time a train passes by, I thought (about you), I missed you, older brother,” Jang Keum Soon, sobbing and hugging, told Jang Chun during the reunion.

Jang Chun’s son also promised his North Korean aunt and uncle whom he met for the first time: “I will drive a train and come here. I am a locomotive engineer so I will drive the train and promise to come back. Until then, please stay healthy and live a long life.”

South Korean members were seen bringing small gifts for their families who’d have to return back to North; the most popular gifts were Choco Pies and painkillers (YTN News).

North Korean families must go back (BBC News)

Although hopes are high, there are still a number of risks. There were times when North Korea would cancel the reunions at the last minute. And currently, there is also the possibility of a long-range missile launch by North Korea under the excuse of celebrating the 70th year anniversary of founding Kim Jung Un’s ruling Worker’s Party in mid-October.

According to the Yonhap News, Cheong Seong-chang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute, said, “If North Korea launches a long-range rocket, the international community could impose sanctions against the North, which will likely lead Pyongyang to revoke the family reunions in retaliation.”

Until then, there is little that can be done except to hope for the families’ fateful reunion.

– Sammie Kim (’18)

Featured Image: CNN

5 Apps to an A

Don’t fall back into old habits with these five useful apps.

The best formula to success is produced when two things of different aspects integrate to create an efficient or effective method of doing something. As I have recently found, this goes the same for us, students. Education, which is probably the most important aspect of students’ lives, goes hand-in-hand with the item used most frequently by students: the computer. By combining two important things that students use and consider, education and laptops, success at school is a given.

1. Microsoft OneNote


Microsoft OneNote is one of the best applications I have ever encountered. Not only is it completely free, but also it is an extremely useful organizer and a “smart” notebook. It is available on all electronic devices, including your computer, smartphone, or any other smart device that uses the internet, making it easy for you to access your notes anywhere, anytime. Its useful features that help to organize the notes that you take on the application, or that help with the creation of your to-do lists, are easy to use, and simple to follow. With the assistance of this extraordinary application, your test grades are guaranteed an A.

2. SelfControl


It is a well-known fact that the concentration span of a high school student is not very long. In fact, BBC News claims that “students only have a 10-minute attention span.” The main cause of this lack of focus tends to come largely from distractions, including social media websites or video games. However, with the help of an application called SelfControl, students will be able to use their time more wisely and improve their time management skills. It literally is an effective application that will help you “self-control.” This application will definitely decrease the amount of time you will have for completing your assignments, starting off your projects, and studying in general.

3. TED

Candice Landau
(Candice Landau)

TED is an extremely popular website revolving around speeches and presentations done by well-respected individuals. Speeches hosted by this organization are not only informative and educational, but also intriguing and entertaining. The gargantuan variety of categories for the speeches will certainly intrigue you into learning more and researching deeper into certain topics. The “ideas worth spreading” aspect of this website is something that I completely agree with, given the creativity and information provided by this website.

One speech that is extremely popular and well-known for its informative and poignant content is Sir Ken Robinson’s “Bring on the Learning Revolution!” Although it is a lengthy video of approximately 17 minutes, time goes by so quickly as you will constantly be hooked to the intriguing content of the speech.

4. Khan Academy

National Association for Child Development
(National Association for Child Development)

Khan Academy is another renowned website known for its helpful tutorial videos and practice problems. These highly informative but easy-to-follow video lessons cover a tremendous amount of subjects, from math to science to computer programming. After watching the video tutorials, you can practice and apply those concepts you’ve learned with the practice problems created for you on the website. This website is also recommended by many educators, for being a helpful tool to catch up with your schoolwork.

5. RainyMood


RainyMood is a website personally recommended to me by a close friend. The website provides tranquil sounds of rain that helps to improve your concentration when studying or doing your homework.

According to Hope Yoon (‘19),

“It sets you into a calm mood for studying.”

With the help of this website, you can put your sole focus and efforts into the assignment that you’re working on. Instead of listening to pop music with lots of lyrics and a rowdy melody that can grab your attention away from your work, use this website to listen to the calming and peaceful sound of rain.

Using these five useful applications and websites recommended by your fellow peers, your sorry GPA will soon turn into one magnificent 4.0! Start using them in the beginning of the year so that when your schedule gets busier and busier throughout the year, you can use them more efficiently and more effectively.

– Ariel Kim (’19)