Meet the Candidates: Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee (’22) is running for the position of Community Outreach Liaison.

Blueprint is committed to restoring the issues and vision to the center stage of this election. We’ve reached out to all declared Student Council candidates to hear about their ideas for the next school year. All responses received will be published prior to the start of voting. This post is neither an endorsement nor disapproval of any particular candidate.

1. Why are you running to be the Community Outreach Liaison?

Great question! Let me begin by explaining a little about why I’m running for an officer position in the first place. As some of you may already know, I’ve been a part of Student Council here at KIS for the last five years in a row. In the Middle School Student Council, I served my first year as a grade representative and my last as part of the executive team.

Each year I sought out greater responsibility, and each year my peers trusted me with more. Through this process, I learned how much I love being in a position to serve on my peers’ behalf and lead through dedicated acts of community outreach.

After middle school, I went back to square one as a grade representative for the High School Student Council. Over the past two years that I’ve held this position, using my past experience as a foundation, I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground and trying to make small but meaningful differences where I can. This has included reaching out to peers who need my help, contributing to events such as spirit weeks, pep rallies, patio on fire, and supporting the current officers. With my strength in communication, I believe that Community Outreach Liaison is the perfect position for me—I will elaborate on this point in my response to the third question.

Now, I am once again calling on my peers and their trust in me as I seek a position of greater responsibility, so that I may do more to make our school a more communal place.

2. If elected, what do you see to be your role in the Student Council?

First, within the Student Council, I will give be able to use my position to give voice to the concerns and thoughts of our community. Whether it be in town-hall meetings or extracurricular activities, as an officer, I would make sure our community as a student body always has a seat at the table. Since I will be a junior next year, I will be ideally positioned to serve as a bridge between the underclassmen and the seniors in order to create a closer and more tightly-knit community here at KIS. I see this responsibility as being embedded in the title of the job itself.

Furthermore, as Community Outreach Liaison, I will be taking on more of a leading position as part of the officer team. I will give direction and guidance to the members of Student Council who are relying on me for them and work in coordination with other officers. As stated in the position descriptions, a large part of my responsibility will be to establish a community within Student Council. Given my experiences in HS StuCo over the past two years, I already know many of the current members and potential future members of StuCo, and I hope to use these friendships and relationships as a great starting point to forging better alliances, which will only help the Student Council accomplish more on everyone’s behalf.

3. What makes you the best candidate for this position?

What makes me the best candidate for Community Outreach Liaison are my expertise and experience. Since I have already talked about my five-year experience, I will concentrate more on my expertise when answering this question.

As far as expertise goes, I’ve identified “communication” as the keystone to carrying out the role of Community Outreach Liaison successfully. The job itself entails “coordinating efforts with lower school divisions, attending PTO meetings, establishing Student Council community and volunteer efforts, and working with Service Learning Coordinator.” All of these responsibilities require an effective communicator, and I am confident enough in my own communication skills to say that they make me the best candidate for this position.

My experiences in MUN and debate have given me ample opportunities to practice the art of articulating my opinion and listening to others’ carefully and formulating cogent, thoughtful responses. Those skills will be applicable to platforms of formal communication such as PTO meetings. Also, with regard to conversational communication skills, a big part of my Student Council journey has been about being a more approachable, communicative member of our community. To me, this is just part of the contract of holding any leadership position at all, and with all the practice I’ve had, I am confident in my ability to use my experience and expertise to successfully carry out the role of the Community Outreach Liaison.

4. In which area do you think our school and the student body face the greatest challenge?

Over my past twelve years at KIS, one thing I’ve noticed is that students prefer to stay with the same group of friends year after year and are afraid or unwilling to change something that they’re already accustomed to. This can be attributed to our upbringings in the somewhat conservative environment that is Korea, as one’s surroundings inevitably affect one’s character and personality significantly. This unconsciously embedded nature within Korean students makes it difficult for new students to feel like they truly belong in this community. Since this trend boils down to a cultural aspect, I acknowledge the difficulty of overcoming this issue, which is why it persists even though KIS continuously emphasizes inclusion as an integral value.

As a solution, I would like to introduce the shadow program, which was a program I was part of as MS Student Council. Under this program, a new student follows around a Student Council representative for the whole first day of school. Representatives are trusted to take on the responsibility of helping new students forge friendships and connections with peers, as well as providing them guidance whenever needed. I have strong faith that successful execution of this program can truly help new students upon their arrival.

5. What’s a secret talent that you have?

I can move my ears without touching them. Maybe that’s what makes me such a great listener!

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