What’s up, Sophomore? Issue No. 1

The “What’s Up?”series are back to introduce you to the new students of Class of ’19.

Students of the class of ‘19 are now in 10th grade, leaving the naivety of 9th grade behind and facing new challenges. With many joys and pitfalls awaiting them, the new sophomores are still struggling to believe they will never see freshman year again—and that junior year is creeping up.

Of course, just like any other year, they were met with an influx of new students. But the process of these new students becoming well-assimilated into the tight network of familiar faces can be a long and tough journey. For this first issue of the year, What’s Up, Sophomores? has interviewed four new students to introduce them to our readers and get an insight into what their first month or so at KIS has been like.

Woohee Kwak:

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Photograph: Clare Na Hyun Kwon (’18)

This sweet girl has a bubbly spirit you’d spot from all the way across the room! Woohee moved from San Francisco, California, and joined the KIS class of 2019 at the start of this year. She is a member of Freshlight and KIS Med, and is glad to have found a place at these clubs. Read her full interview for more about how she is finding her transition to be:

How has your transition to KIS been?

I think the transition was okay. I got lost on the first day. Everyone seems nice. I don’t know that many people yet.

What has been the most challenging task for you so far?

Since the campus is huge, it was hard for me to memorize where all the classrooms are.

What is your goal for this year?

Goals for this year are that I want to make more friends.

What has been a memorable moment so far?

When we went on the EE Trip, I got to know more people in my advisory by going through the maze with them.

What are you most looking forwards the rest of the school year?

I’m looking toward to change clubs for spring because I want to experience other club activities.

Rate your KIS experience from 1-10 (one being the worst, 1 being the best)

7.5

Describe your KIS experience in one word

Tired.

Laura Jang:

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Photograph: Clare Na Hyun Kwon (’18)

Laura may be on the quiet side, but has a personality definitely worth getting to know. She lived in San Diego for about 3 and a half years, and then went on to attend a Korean public school for about 4 years. Such was her journey; and now she is a student at KIS! She is in Spirit Club and AWOO dolls, and appreciates the enjoyable and welcoming atmosphere that she has felt there. Read on about her new life at KIS:

How has the transition to KIS been?

To be honest, it wasn’t that easy for me to transfer from a Korean public school to an American curriculum based international school. It took me awhile for me to get used to the new education/grading system. Making new friends was also a little tough for me at first. Yes, I’m shy, so it might take awhile to get to know each other and but being shy doesn’t mean I don’t like getting along with people and be alone. I’m always open and would love to make new friends!!

What has been the most challenging task for you so far?

Getting used to the different school system and making new friends.

What is your goal for this year?

Try my best at all times.  Be nice, positive, and happy. Have fun!

What are you most looking forward to?
I just got in the backstage for the fall play, “The Matchmaker” and I’m really excited to work with new friends.

Rate your KIS experience from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best)
9

Sara Yoo:

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Photograph: Clare Na Hyun Kwon (’18)

Walk down the hallways and you will see this bright student with a warm smile. Sara moved from Alberta, Canada and joined KIS in the last minute, as she was one of the few students that got the spots. She is now a part of Freshlight, Key club, and AWOO dolls which she relish. Read on to find out how Sara’s KIS experience is going so far!

What activities/clubs have you joined this year? Are you enjoying them?

I joined Freshlight, Keyclub, and AWOO dolls, and I am enjoying all of them so far.

What has been the most challenging task for you so far?

Most challenging task was to get used to the new environment, and to memorize the school map ( i got lost a several times haha)

What is your goal for this year?

My goal is to finish this year off with good grades and good friends.

What has been a memorable moment so far?

Most memorable moment was the EE trip, not only I got to meet lots of new people, but also got to experience various activities which were quite interesting

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to all the events the school will be holding!

Rate your KIS experience from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best)

I’ll rate 8

Describe your KIS experience in one word

One word… discovery??

Yejean Kim:

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Photograph: Clare Na Hyun Kwon (’18)

A cheerful and jubilant student, Yejean is from Hanyoung Foreign Language High School. She has joined eclectic range of clubs, including Poker and Probability, Debate club, and Math Competition, which she finds true value in. This ecstatic student radiates joy to others and brightens up others even when there is an overload of assessments; she will for sure make you smile.

How has the transition to KIS been?
It is wonderful!! Actually, I was kinda worried about not being able to make any friends here, but kids here are all friendly and I had no troubles at all to adjust myself to KIS life!!!

What has been the most challenging task for you so far?
The most challenging task for me is to keep up all the schoolwork. In my previous school, we didn’t have quizzes or homework every day, but here, there are quizzes and homework every day!!! It’s hard.

What is your goal for this year?
My goal… is to figure out strategies for getting good grades. And also to enjoy my life.

What has been a memorable moment so far?
Every moment is memorable for me.

What are you most looking forwards the rest of the school year?

I am looking forward to every events. They look fun. I like the fact that KIS has a lot of events.

Rate your KIS experience from 1-10 (one being the worst, 1- being the best)
9.5

Describe your KIS experience in one word
Fun

Adapting to a new school, or even a new country for some, can be challenging. However, as shown in the interviews, it seems that the students are adjusting to KIS well even after just over a month at school. As these new students gradually become even more integrated into KIS, they will no longer be called “new”: they will simply be students, a part of the family.

All the best of luck to the new students as they continue on their sophomore year with other former students!

*Will Class of ‘19 sophomore year become suffermore year? Find out about it only on the following “What’s up, Sophomore?” articles!

—Sarah Se-Jung Oh &  Jisoo Hope Yoon (’19)

* Banner: Crescentia Jung (’19)

What’s Up, Freshmen? – Issue 2

On October 14, KIS 9th grade was filled with laughter, jubilance, and anxiousness. While the upperclassmen were taking the PSAT, the freshmen class had the opportunity to embark on what the teachers call ‘the best trip ever in high school’—Everland. This Experiential Education trip was organised by three 9th grade teachers: Ms. Clarke, Mr. Ryther, and Ms. Cuellar. These three teachers, along with several others, dedicated their time to organize not only a time for advisories to bond, but also a day in which students could utilize the core teachings of KIS to everyday challenges.

What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland

This trip was not simply an excitement for the teachers—it was also a source of elation for the students. Through interviewing several freshies, we learned of their anticipation for the trip as well. Susan Cho (‘19) told us that she “expects the EE Trip to have numerous bonding activities, and that she was pretty excited for the trip.” Likewise, Youngsang Ryu (‘19) expressed his ecstasy for the trip, telling us that he was “really enthusiastic about the upcoming scavenger hunt in Everland and that he couldn’t wait until the next morning to go on the trip.” Ryan Koo (‘19) seemed especially enthusiastic about the trip: “I think the trip will be really fun! I’m really excited to attend this trip and take a break from school. I hope that everyone will have tons of fun tomorrow.”

What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland

The trip started with advisories designing flags. Over the two weeks before the trip, 9th grade advisories worked on designing a creative flag that could represent their advisory, which would be ranked in order of best quality. The advisories that created the best flags would have an advantage of starting the race earlier than other advisories. Taking a look at the various flags was exciting, especially because the creativity and effort involved in all of them could be easily observed. AhJin Cho (‘19) told us about the process behind creating her advisory’s flag: “We made a phoenix out of our flag by pasting the pieces together. With the leftover pieces we made feathers, wrote our names on it, and glued to the phoenix.”

What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland

In the beginning of the scavenger hunt, each advisory was given a packet with multiple challenges such as taking photos at specific locations, giving a hug to a random person, riding the T-Express, solving mathematical puzzles, eating a butter-dried octopus in less than five minutes, and many more. These obstacles tested advisories on their teamwork abilities and also their performance of multiple areas of subjects, including math, english and science; however, some were more difficult for others—like riding the T-Express or entering the Horror Maze. Although many were hesitant of riding it, members of all the advisories cooperated, encouraged, and advocated each other to be risk-takers. Several students challenged themselves to face their fears of riding the gigantic roller coaster or of voluntarily stepping into a horridly, dark maze filled with ghosts and jump scares. Susan Cho informed us that she had to “overcome [her] fears” by going into the Horror Maze.

What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland

The Everland trip has proven not only to be the exciting trip that it was expected to be, but also to be one that truly taught students didactic lessons about teamwork. Jenny Woo (‘19) claimed of learning that “communicating and cooperating with your teammates are very important.” AhJin learned “to understand and follow other peoples’ choices that [she] didn’t agree with at first.” With such valuable lessons learned, the freshmen definitely will be able to cooperate and collaborate better together in the future; and, incorporate such lessons to school group projects and presentations to produce the best results.

What's up, Freshmen? Issue 2—Everland

– Ariel Hyunseo Kim (’19) and Sarah Oh (’19)

What’s Up, Freshmen? – Issue 1

Introducing “What’s Up, Freshmen?” a new series that takes a look into the lives of this year’s newest addition to the high school population, the freshmen.

What’s life like at KIS High School? We’ve heard too many times from experienced sophomores, juniors, and seniors: high school – most of the time – sucks. Not only is there a tremendous workload, but there’s a dizzying amount of work to be accomplished, from college applications to standardized tests like SATs, TOEFL, etc. However, we must see if this gargantuan workload has yet to reign upon our new high schoolers—the freshies!

In order to gain a better understanding of how the new freshmen are doing early in the year, the KIS Blueprint Team will interview five different freshmen every couple months to gain insight on the topsy-turvy life of their first year of high school. By the end of year, we’ll revisit these same freshmen to see just how much they’ve changed, and just how much high school has affected them.  

This week’s six freshies for What’s Up, Freshmen?: Amy and Beth Purdon, Skylar Kim, Muchang Bahng, Chris Park, and Duke Moon.

Keep reading to learn whether or not the high school’s reign of doom has come upon them—yet.

Skylar Kim:

Skylar Kim

Skylar is a loyal KIS student, having been attending the school for around 9 years, starting from kindergarten. She is not only well-known for her frank, humorous, and down-to-earth personality, but also her incredible ice hockey skills.

Let’s take a look at her interview!

How long have you been at KIS?

9 years, from kindergarten, woah, kind of an outlier

What differences do you think are most conspicuous from KIS middle school to now?

I feel like we get a lot more freedom, especially with like free block, obviously, and I feel like we have to take on a lot more responsibility.

What activities/clubs have you joined so far? Are you enjoying them?

I joined GIN, ISTA, which is like International School Theater Association, Speech Team. So, I’m really enjoying my clubs, ISTA gets to go on a trip during the spring break? I’m not sure. I’m really looking forward to being part of the speech team because I feel like it’s really out of my comfort zone. I’m also part of the play now; it’s really fun working with other amazing people. It’s really fun. Ms. Cuellar’s awesome, and it’s fun working with great, amazing people. Come watch the show!

What has been the most challenging/rigorous task for you?

Stairs.

What is your next goal regarding school?

GPA of 4.0, man. I’m trying to do different things, and get out of my comfort zone, and be friends with everyone.

What is your favorite thing that has happened so far in high school?

Sleep deprivation

Rate your current high school experience up until now from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best).

1! No, I’m kidding.

So far, 8.5? 9? 9, stairs! No, I feel like it’s a pretty good score. Since it’s only been a month I know it’s gonna be ten times more amazing than it is now. I like hanging out with my friends in the Family Room with Ms. Cuellar, and we definitely need more furniture.

Duke Moon:

Duke Moon
(Duke Moon)

Also another loyal student, Duke has been at KIS for around 7 years now. He is well-known for taking on several leadership roles throughout his school career, being both the elementary and middle school president. Duke is one to especially know how middle school has turned out to be in comparison to high school.

Let’s check out his extremely simple interview!

How long have you been at KIS?

7 years.

What differences do you think are most conspicuous from KIS middle school to now?

8 block schedule.

What activities/clubs have you joined so far? Are you enjoying them?

JV volleyball is fun, student council is fun.

What has been the most challenging/rigorous task for you?

schedule.

What is your next goal regarding school?

soccer varsity.

What is your favorite thing that has happened so far in high school?

JV Volleyball.

Rate your current high school experience up until now from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best).

9 cuz I sprained my arm.

Muchang Bahng:

Muchang Bahng
(Muchang Bahng)

Muchang may seem like the most ordinary student who goes to KIS if you don’t know him; however, once you get to know him, he turns out to be someone with a heart of gold. Read his interview to get to know him better!

How long have you been at KIS?

1 year

What differences do you think are most conspicuous from your old school / KIS middle school to now?

A lot more freedom

What activities/clubs have you joined so far? Are you enjoying them?

SAT Prep, which I just think is just a free block where I can study for stuff; Lacrosse where I can be part of a sports-like club where I can just condition myself; and Magic Tricks just for the fun of it, maybe if you’re bored or if you want to impress your friends

What has been the most challenging/rigorous task for you?

Keeping up with the homework

What is your next goal regarding school?

Try to make some clubs, maybe, prepare myself for college

What is your favorite thing that has happened so far in high school?

Being a part of the JV Volleyball team

Rate your current high school experience up until now from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best).

7 because there’s a lot of improvements from middle school, but also there’s like a lot more challenges and a lot more stress coming up on me

Chris Park:

Chris Park
(Chris Park)

Who is Chris Park? It seems there is still so much more to know about him. All we know about him is that he is a talented cello player, and also an extremely intelligent student. Read the interview to learn more!

How long have you been at KIS?

This is my first year

What differences do you think are most conspicuous from your old school / KIS middle school to now?

It is almost the same—but there are more Asians

What activities/clubs have you joined so far? Are you enjoying them?

MUN, Math Competition, Debate, Trio(orchestra group); enjoying most of them, especially Trio.

What has been the most challenging/rigorous task for you?

Stairs!!

What is your next goal regarding school?

Not so sure at the moment but I want to do well at MUN conferences.

What is your favorite thing that has happened so far in high school?

Orchestra and Trio. (I’m from Chicago and I met 2 other cellists from Chicago who had the same cello teachers as I did. We formed a trio and it’s been fun already, or I hope it’ll be more fun.)

Rate your current high school experience up until now from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best).

8! But often times, I want to see my friends from Glenview, IL.

Amy and Beth Purdon:

Beth Purdon
(Beth Purdon)
Amy Purdon
(Amy Purdon)

You have probably seen these glamorous, stunning Californian twins walking around the hallways or cafeteria and wonder—who are those twins? How do we distinguish the two?! Well, these two identical sisters tell us how their first year at KIS is going.

How long have you been at KIS?

Beginning of this year

What differences do you think are most conspicuous from your old school / KIS middle school to now?

MORE STAIRS

What activities/clubs have you joined so far? Are you enjoying them?

We have Cross Country and three clubs each–it’s great!

What has been the most challenging/rigorous task for you?

Running in cross-country

What is your next goal regarding school?

Getting third place in cross country, getting all A’s in class, and learning math

What is your favorite thing that has happened so far in high school?

Autonomous block since we don’t have to go to class

Rate your current high school experience up until now from 1-10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best).

8.8: because 8 is our favorite number!

Although these freshies—along with others—have only experienced just over two months of high school, the interviewee’s responses let us to know how much has happened for freshmen. However, the strenuous and enlightening times are yet to come! Best of luck to all freshmen!

Keep up with Blueprint for the next ‘What’s Up, Freshmen?’ the next coming months!

– Ariel Hyunseo Kim & Sarah Oh (‘19)