Exactly three years ago, on a cold January morning, I remember being nervous about transferring to my new school, Korea International School (KIS). I had moved from school to school a lot since I was young, both in the US and Korea, and it was always difficult to adjust to new environments. I came to KIS in the second semester of my freshman year. Trying my best to ignore all the nerves, I told myself that I would try my best to make the most out of my high school experience. I was fortunate enough to meet some great friends, mentors, and teachers at my new school. All thanks to them, I was able to adapt and fit into the new environment.
As my sophomore year was coming to a close, I got an email from my college counselor, telling me that she thought I would be a great fit as a “Phoenix Ambassador,” and that I should apply to become one. This was a group of student leaders who helped out with all things admissions related. My initial reaction was surprise, because only 18 months ago, I had been a new student with new things being thrown at me. I had to get used to getting my way around school buildings, new rules, schedules, basically everything. Maybe I had gotten used to these things, before I even knew it. I interpreted my counselor’s recommendation as an encouraging message that I was ready enough to become a mentor, and that I should step up and take initiative for the school.
So, since the beginning of my junior year, I have been a part of a 10-person group Phoenix Ambassadors. We serve as the “face of our school,” and promote public relations and communications. Working with the counseling and admissions departments, we welcome guests, lead school tours for prospective parents and students, and attend to the needs of visiting college representatives.
For me personally, the most meaningful job as an ambassador has to be helping out new students and parents because I was once a hapless transfer student myself. When I first got to school, the school year was already in full swing, so all of my peers were used to class schedules and online websites that the school used. Every time I didn’t know where to go for class or how a website worked, I had to reach out for help, which was not easy. Thanks to my experiences, I knew exactly what newcomers needed.
During school tours and admission events, I recognized and attended to the needs of the new students and parents. It was the most fulfilling thing to hear a simple “thank you,” and to see the relieved faces of parents. Although it felt bittersweet to realize that I would graduate soon, I was thankful and happy to have grown from a new kid to someone who could help people who are in similar situations as I once was.
|[An open area for early childhood students to play in.
A unique area that we typically show off during school tours.
Photo courtesy of Jaehong Min.]
|[KIS’ High School Stem Suite. Another unique area of our school.
Photo courtesy of Jaehong Min.]
I am continuing to work as a school ambassador in my senior year. Looking back on this experience, I learned a lot of things. I learned how to cooperate with peers and adults, and how to present myself in a positive and professional manner. The only reason I was able to fit in as a new student was mentors who were willing to help me. It has been greatly fulfilling to be able to play the same role to younger students. Working as an ambassador was a way for me to be a leader, and to give back to the community that I have received so much from. My high school journey finally ends this May; I hope that I have made a meaningful and lasting impact on my school and community.
Korea International School
Jaehong Min firstname.lastname@example.org
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