KIS Faculty Relationship Idiosyncrasy

A (definitely) unique list of humorous quirks that make KIS faculty members’ relationships interesting and different.

Let’s face it; how many high school sweethearts do you know actually ended up together? It’s difficult for two individuals to sustain a relationship, especially if it’s long distance (which the probability of two students in a relationship ending up in the same college or even the same region after high school is incredibly low). However, obviously, I’m not here to be pessimistic about how there is no such thing as happily ever after’s. After all, you never know if the person you’re with is the one who you’re meant to be with – your soulmate, if you will.

Relationships are confusing, annoying, but also rewarding at the same time. Moreover, it’s just nice to have someone who will always be on your side, right by you. There may be no single way to make whatever it is you have with your significant other last forever, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get to know some faculty relationship idiosyncrasies! Buckle up, because you’re about to step into the world of teachers they don’t usually tend to share with students – what they’re like outside of school with their significant other.

Mr. & Mrs. McKelvie

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PC: Sebin Kum (’17)

“Mrs. McKelvie is the head chef for all dinners while Mr. McKelvie is her assistant in the kitchen. However, Mr. McKelvie does all the baking (cookies, banana bread, pizza dough).

Mrs. McKelvie is the driver for all tandem scooter rides. While Mr. McKelvie is the navigator.”

– Mrs. McKelvie

 

Mr. & Mrs. Bunting

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PC: Mr. Bunting

“I make fun of Mr. Bunting for being waaaaay too specific with numbers. For example, we’ll be driving and he’ll say, ‘That truck is 6 car lengths ahead of us,’ or ‘My appointment is in 8 days’ instead of being general like most people would and saying ‘about 5 car lengths’ or ‘in a week’. When you ask the time he’ll say, ‘It’s 11:43’ instead of rounding up to 11:45. Must be the math nerd in him.

Mr. Bunting has a habit of not finishing drinks. He’ll leave coffee, water, soda, etc half-drunk sitting around our apartment, so I started singing, ‘Brian Bunting, beverage neglectorrrrrr’ at him like an old cop show theme song. I made it into a vibration pattern on my iPhone and now it’s his ringtone for when he calls.”

– Mrs. Bunting

“Here are two odd things that Mrs. Bunting and I both owned before meeting one another, and found out early in our relationship we both had in common.

Sock Puppet Portraits – There is a guy named Marty Allen who sells portraits of sock puppets in Union Square in New York City. He is a weird guy, but his products are really cute and make for good apartment decorations.

Vibram Five Fingers – You know those weird toe shoes that I run cross country in everyday?  Yeah, we both owned multiple pairs of those too.  I could never have married someone who doesn’t love a great pair of toe shoes.”

– Mr. Bunting

 

Mr. van Moppes & Ms. Chang

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

“ 1. Toothpaste battle:

Ms.Chang cannot stand toothpaste being squeezed from the MIDDLE! It must be squeezed from the bottom so the tube is nicely squeezed, and to maximize the usage of the toothpaste! Mr. V LOVES to squeeze any part of the toothpaste BUT THE bottom. So, easy solution! We have ‘his and hers’ toothpaste.

  1. Packing and Unpacking:

Ms. Chang thinks through every situation for both her and Mr. V while packing for her trips. She packs for hours maybe days. Mr. V is ready to travel for two months in hmm… 10 minutes or less. After the trip…

Mr. V knows better than hanging around the house while Ms. Chang is unpacking after traveling. She HAS to unpack and organize EVERYTHING as soon as she is home, no matter what time she arrives home! The rule is to NEVER leave a packed luggage unpacked upon arrival.

  1. Coasters:

The rule in the CHANG-VAN household is to ALWAYS place your cup on a coaster!!! Mr. V always MISSES. The coaster will be RIGHT there, next to his cup!!! His cup is always placed just a few inches away. It seems Mr. V avoids coasters.

  1. Running:

We love to do everything together!!! Like we really really enjoy spending time together. No one else we would rather be with. We both run to stay in shape. But we cannot run together. Don’t know why, but just can’t.”

– Ms. Chang

 

Mr. Larson & Ms. Clarke

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

We love having game nights with friends, but no matter what team or what game… Ms. Clarke’s extremely competitive side comes out and she always ends up mad at Mr. Larson or blaming him for something in the game.”

– Ms. Clarke

 

Mr. Bryant & Ms. Kelley

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

“Here are some of the things that we believe are quirky in our relationship:

– That I am a morning person and Ms. Kelley likes to sleep in because she is a night owl.  

–  Ms. Kelley is very adventurous with trying new foods, and I’m very picky.

– I like to watch a good movie, and she prefers to read a good book.”

– Mr. Bryant

 

There you have it! A (definitely) unique list of humorous quirks that make KIS faculty members’ relationships interesting and different. It is not to say that you and your significant other must have something exclusive happening amongst one another. Rather, it is to remind you that things are not always how they seem – your “ordinary” within your relationship can be defined as an idiosyncrasy to others. Plus, it’s fun to stalk teachers. Just kidding. Maybe.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image by Hannah Kim (’19)

SJL Controversy: At a Crossroads Between Love and Hate

The latest controversy of KIS: Social Justice League. What are the various student viewpoints, and what should we really be focusing on? How much of it is justified? Follow Blueprint on a much-needed debate.

 

Cover Image: A poster hung in KIS, originally reading “Gender is a spectrum, not a binary”, has been ripped to read “Gender is a binary”. 

When Sara Kim (‘18) opened her locker thoughtlessly on an average Thursday afternoon, a piece of paper floated out. It read “feminazi bitch”. The words were typed up, and she found an identical note the following day. They were referring to her activism with her club, Social Justice League (SJL), which had been campaigning for women’s and LGBTQ rights in the school throughout the previous week. Some of their posters were found with the word “nazi” written on them, or deliberate cuts and snips. A few students made their dissent public through Snapchat, and Sara even received threats to take the posters down. A peculiar, negative current filled the KIS hallways as the controversy continued to gather student attention. And all this during the KIS “Random Acts of Kindness” week.

The issue concerned me, as someone with no involvement in putting up the posters. Not because the pro-feminism and LGBTQ movements had met disagreement, or because some people found the activism to be “lame”- these things were to be expected. It was rather because a few students had chosen to actively display their opposition in aggressive methods. I’m not sure if I was surprised, but I do know that not too long ago, I had been watching news stories of racial hate crimes in the U.S., with vandalized cars and ridicule of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The detached, seemingly far-away issues formed a haunting reflection with what was happening in the very hallways that I roam daily. I wondered what could drive an active choice to hate.

It had to be more than just an eye roll, more than just a whisper of dissent. It had to be vandalism, threats, and personal attacks. It had to have been caused by something more than “this is lame”- it had to either have stemmed from a problem involving personal relations with SJL members or a legitimate disbelief in women’s or LGBTQ rights. It could have been both.

It’s okay to disagree. Perspectives matter. Especially in a comparatively conservative society, LGBTQ rights (more so than feminism) can be a controversial subject. But finding the notion of queer sexualities to be difficult to accept is different from actively pitting themselves against the inclusion movement- then it ceases to be a perspective, and becomes hate. Hate is not a perspective.

As much as I hold my personal beliefs that the fight for LGBTQ rights is not a debatable fight like democrat versus republican, and rather a fight of acceptance against discrimination, I understand that different upbringings lead to a different level of comfort regarding the issue. As I gathered the opinions of different KIS students (all anonymous for the purposes of this article), I realized that many viewed the plastered visuals of SJL’s posters as attempting to shove the issue into uneasy faces, or that it is belittling for those who do not follow SJL’s agenda to be called “ignorant”. I think the line is difficult to draw, but it is definitely there: it is ignorant to make no attempts at sympathizing and to blatantly disregard the existence of the queer community, and it is hateful to slur- it is neither ignorant nor hateful to attempt but fail to sympathize with the queer community and yet accept that some people are passionate about this cause and will take action.

Multiple KIS students also raised more constructive criticism about the club’s activism. The first was that the posters are largely ineffective. Some people thought that the decorations only served to irritate people of a neutral position on the issue, or that they failed to change the minds of those who had opposing viewpoints. Some voices raised concern about how not all the club members were given equal recognition for the work, or that the members did not have much voice in contributing to the decisions of the club. The biggest thing I noticed was that not everyone understood the posters to begin with- some slogans, such as “I am bi, you’re the one that’s confused” or “gender is a spectrum, not a binary” only stirred confusion among people who did not actively follow the queer movement and so did not understand what the slogans were supposed to mean. Some people thought that no group in KIS opposed feminism or gay rights in the first place, and therefore that SJL did not serve much of a purpose.

In the past, I may have agreed with the last point to some extent- until the controversy around SJL proved that it was clearly untrue. I also consider the issues regarding club management to be outside the scope of this article. But the other points all seem to point to a common theme: education. If ignorance is the obstacle, education is the logical vehicle for resolve. I agree that the posters did not have the power to change hard-held opinions, but they can get simple messages across, such as the fact that feminism is defined by the movement for gender equality, which makes being a feminist mutually exclusive from being a feminazi (who believes in the dominance of women). The decorations also provide a general atmosphere of positivity and acceptance, which is undeniably a benefit for the school as a community. The confusion that the posters created illustrates the problem caused when education is partially overlooked.

Another one of my personal concerns is that the term “social justice” is becoming strongly equated with feminism and LGBTQ rights, which are definitely a part of social justice but only encompass the best publicized portions of it. Social justice is the fight for human rights and equality as a whole, which also manifests itself in issues such as migrant worker rights and racism in Korea, the lack of opportunities for the handicapped population, or even socioeconomic statuses. After all, attending KIS is the biggest way in which we are all commonly privileged.

Feedback or criticism, such as those gathered from the KIS population, helps a club improve itself. But hate does nothing but create negativity, and means such as indirect threats or vandalism reveal the lack of courage to communicate or the lack of legitimate reasoning behind the argument, and thus the resort to immature means. The more divisive an issue is, the more interaction the two sides of the debate need to have, the more open the discussion needs to be- and, most importantly, the more polite the expressions need to become. 

Just last year, the campus of Seoul National University was shaken by an incident in which a banner put up by the school’s queer community was found ripped through the middle with a blade. But rather than respond with negativity, the group placed a box of band-aids next to the ripped banner and asked the school to help “heal” the banner and the wound that was inflicted to the queer community. The banner had read “we welcome all new students, both queer and heterosexual”. No matter what SJL is mistaken to be proposing, their ultimate stance is for equality and acceptance of all groups, which is a noble cause to strive for, and the backlash to their activism illustrates the necessity for their existence. Like all other clubs, their course has not been perfect. Like all other clubs, they will continue experimenting and adjusting in response to the controversy. And like all groups that begin voicing an opinion in a hostile crowd, they have faced unjustified derogation.

But let us find hope in the moments like the day after the band-aids were placed next to the ripped banner, when it was found patched with 564 bandages by the school community. These are the silent supporters, the whisperers of faith. The inertia of ignorance may raise opaque clouds around minds, and the blade of contempt may cut through the soft, velvet hearts of the victims, but love can win. After all, is it not the moment that we feel the cold shoulder of our fellow human beings that we feel the heaviest despair? And is love, removed from issues and controversies, not the way in which we all fight that? It is my greatest wish that humanity, in and outside of KIS, continues to associate its conflict and strife less with division and more with a common struggle for beauty.

-Jisoo Hope Yoon (’19)

A Memorable Experience At Aikangwon

The juniors reflect upon their experience at the Aikangwon Social Welfare Foundation and the new discoveries about the disabled individuals from their second Experiential Education trip.

As the buzzing atmosphere among students exchanging welcome-back greetings slowly died down after the first few weeks of school, the juniors embarked on an adventure to Aikangwon Social Welfare Foundation at Geoje Island for their second Experiential Education trip. Composed of a wide array of pastime projects specially coordinated by the faculty members, the three day journey was centered on volunteer service for the mentally and physically disabled at the Aikangwon headquarter. While taking a much needed break and reducing stress related to school work, the Class of 2018 were able to spend quality time and share many unforgettable memories with the handicapped individuals.

The juniors were presented with a variety of arduous physical activities ranging from hiking to kayaking in the ocean, not to mention taking an uncountable number of selfies as well. After the exhausting set of events, students were soon greeted by warm embraces from the fellow residents at Aikangwon. Although some people took a longer time to get adjusted to the new environment, it only took a matter of minutes to completely blend in with the atmosphere and enjoy the residents’ company. Proceeding through various different team-building exercises such as dancing to music, struggling through an egg race, and even a phenomenal marimba performance, the students gradually broke down their walls and fully interacted with the Aikangwon locals. Another bonding activity accompanied by a special piggy-­bank making period was given as well, tightening their bond even further. Bodies completely drained but hearts full, the entire faculty staff and rest of the students ended the day with a series of mini games as an advisory, short sessions to commemorate the entire experience at Geoje Island as classmates. It was overall a perfect time to reflect upon what have been done and felt on the EE trip – a chance to build more intimate relationships with each other.

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The teachers and students enjoying the crisp air as they hike up the mountain (PC: Joey Park (’18))

Several students volunteered, voicing their opinions about the entire trip as a whole and expressing their honest views. While diverse reactions to the trip were apparent, the overall feedback by students, despite some downsides, was highly satisfactory and positive, especially towards the Aikangwon experience.

1) Was it your first chance to interact with the disabled? If so, how valuable was the experience? What lessons did you learn from it?

My trip to Aikangwon was the first time I interacted with the disabled. At first, it was uncomfortable not being able to communicate with the disabled. I tried to talk to a middle aged man with disabilities, but he did not respond no matter how many times I tried talking to him. But I soon learned from this experience that verbal communication is not the only way to form and strengthen bonds with others. By simply smiling to them, I could create a sense of connection with them, which was a deep and meaningful joy.

– Daewon Hong (‘18)

This was not my first time interacting with people with disabilities, but it certainly was the first time I interacted with them so closely and individually. As typical as this may sound, it was honestly an eye-opening experience that broke down prejudice. Now I feel really connected with persons with disabilities. They are really enthusiastic about everything. In the first place, they are not so different from us.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)

Yes, this was my first time interacting with people with disabilities on this trip. It was an absolutely wonderful experience because even though I have done community service before, it was nothing of this sort. Never in my life did I spend time with people with disabilities such as Down Syndrome or Autism. As stated, we realized how lucky we were. Every single person, who went on the EE trip, won the birth lottery. We are seldom reminded of it. We are all human beings, no matter the physical characteristics we were born with. We should not forget that.

– Sean Choi (‘18)

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Matthew Kim (’18) smiling next to one of the Aikangwon locals (PC: Joey Park (’18))

2) In the world today, there is no denying that individuals with mental or physical handicaps tend to be discriminated or even shunned by society at large. What do you feel about this? How should this problem be alleviated?

I believe that discrimination against persons with mental or physical disabilities is morally wrong. Although those with mental or physical disabilities may seem intimidating at first, they are no different from us. They have the same emotions! They laugh, they smile, and they cry. Treating them with contempt is not acceptable.

– Daewon Hong (‘18)

I am worried that such barriers never cease to exist within our society, but I think it is inevitable. The best we can do is educating ourselves to truly understand the different actions of others, of their emotions and intentions.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)
I honestly think that it is impossible to solve this problem. I believe that prejudice is genetically programmed into the human nature. With misjudgment comes people’s tendency toward speaking their mind and taking action without deep consideration of others. Of course, we also have a sense of guilt. I am no exception. I felt uncomfortable when I did wrong to other people.
– Sean Choi (‘18)

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A group of friends posing for a photo on the shore before kayaking (PC: Ashley Kim (’18))

3) What was your favorite activity of the trip? Did you face any difficulties or uncomfortable situations that you wish would be solved for the juniors next year?

My favorite activity during the trip was going to the beach. It was fun simply relaxing on the beach. However, I would like to point out that our hostel should have offered quality food. I wish the rising juniors would enjoy cleaner and better one for their next trip.

– Daewon Hong (‘18)

My favorite activity during the trip was kayaking! Our activity group decided to cross the ocean and visit a little island. It turned out to be quite scary and physically difficult on the way. But I realized that teamwork between friends is one of the most important factors in overcoming challenges.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)

My favorite activity was the talent shows we performed on the first day and the last day of our trip. This showed how talented we all were. All of us were capable of demonstrating athletic skills, musical skills, and dancing skills. I would like to leave one message: “No one is disabled. Instead, everyone is differently abled.”

– Sean Choi (‘18)

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Claire Yoon (’18) and her partner share a tearful embrace when it is time to say goodbye (PC: Joey Park (’18))

For the first time in a long while, both the juniors and the faculty were able to temporarily release their stress and forget the social burden attained by the start of a new semester. As they detached themselves from their daily routines, the fresh air and time out in the wild served as a respite to the minds of the students. Although the opportunity to come in contact with the disabled was a completely new experience for many members, it certainly proved a pivotal point that irrevocably changed their lives by new lessons obtained through reaching out and collaborating in different ways. As it is important to demolish the initial emotional barrier between disabled and non-disabled persons, one also should remember that the ultimate aim of mutual understanding should be considered the most important objective in relationships. One thing all students can definitely take away from the experience is that this trip will be a memoir one will never forget.

– Ashley Kim (’18)