South Korean students study at Resurrection-St. Paul School

 

By Elizabeth Lowe

elowe@CatholicReview.org

Twitter: @ReviewLowe

ELLICOTT CITY – After touring Resurrection-St. Paul School Jan. 1, 10 South Korean students didn’t immediately ask about their teachers or classmates. 

Instead, they were eager to know when they would recite the Pledge of Allegiance.      

The elementary school students have been attending Resurrection-St. Paul – and doing homework – since Jan. 2, while their respective schools are closed for winter break. Their final day at the Howard County school, before a nearly 14-hour flight home, is Jan. 25.            

“That just shows you how devoted they are to education,” said Susan Molvik, assistant principal at Resurrection-St. Paul. “They’re having an American, Catholic school experience and they’re doing an excellent job with it.”

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The South Korean students traveled to the U.S. with Kwang Lee and his wife, Chun Hee Shin, principals of the Success for All program through Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Back home, the South Korean students attend the Hopkins-affiliated learning institute in Deajeon, after their regular school day at their respective schools.      

Lee and Shin, who live in South Korea, are no strangers to Resurrection-St. Paul. Their daughter, Ji-Hyun Lee, attended the Ellicott City school from 2002 to 2003 and their son, Seung Woo Lee, was a student there from 2004 to 2005.   

Barbi Frederick, a Resurrection-St. Paul second grade teacher, taught Ji-Hyun and Seung Woo Lee, and is teaching two of the South Korean students currently at the school. 

“It’s a wonderful life experience and I think it’s good for our American children to be exposed to children coming from another country,” Frederick said.

The South Korean students speak, read and write English, which “is already incorporated into the Korean education system,” Lee said.

Third-grader Won Seok Song said his favorite class is physical education.

“The teacher is very funny,” said Won Seok, 10. “I like to run.”

Second-grader Geon Hee Kim, 9, enjoys art, math and social studies classes.

“I like art because the teacher teaches well and I like drawing,” she said.

Geon Hee, who tried a cheeseburger and blueberries during her stay, said “America is so wonderful and America has many different kinds of cultures.” 

Karen Murphy, principal of Resurrection-St. Paul, applauds the young students for having the courage to attend school in a foreign country. She described them as “very impressive” and “bright.” 

“They’re models for our students,” Murphy said. “We are preparing these kids for a more global society.”

Murphy, who wants to continue the partnership, said “we’re getting more out of it than we expected. We’re excited about this relationship.” 

Chun Hee Shin said she “appreciates Murphy’s open mind and approach to things.”

Editor’s note: Kwang Lee and Chun Hee Shin spoke to the Catholic Review through their niece, Su Park, who served as a translator. Park, who came from South Korea to the U.S. at age 6, resides in Ellicott City.

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