Unless you are part of Westbury Christian School, you probably don't know Amberly... but you should. A just graduated cheerleader, I called Amberly 'Reese' in honor of actress Reese Witherspoon of Legally Blond-Walk The Line-Sweet Home Alabama fame. (She called me Brad as in Pitt. It might be a stretch.) This evening, there was a FACEBOOK message for me from Hana Bae. The following from May 15, 2006, is about Hana, another student from WCS with a resemblance to a celebrity.
I saw Hana Bae this afternoon. That name won't be familiar to you but we know it at Westbury Christian. Hana graduated from WCS last May and just completed her freshman year of college. Like many alumni, she comes back to visit when she has a break from school. She is a jewel. A terrific artist, one of her drawings resides on my wall in Room 258. During her junior and senior years, I kidded Hana for bearing an uncanny resemblance to Michelle Wie, the teenage golfing prodigy of Korean descent. Hana is not of Korean descent; she is from Korea. She told me somebody else brought up the Michelle Wie comparison recently so I felt vindicated! I asked her about a boy she had a crush on when she was with us and she just blushed. She told me she would visit again before the school year winds to a close. I hope so. There are kids who make teaching a blessing. Hana can't swing a golf club but she made every classroom she ever walked into better.
Several years ago, Hana taught me a lesson that I hope I never forget. She came to us in the middle of eighth grade, a difficult year even if you have been enrolled from the outset. It was a struggle. Soon after her arrival, I told Susan Woodward, our upper school administrator, that Hana would never make it because her English skills were so poor. Two years later, guess who won the award as the best student in my sophomore Bible class? None other than the girl I was sure had zero chance, Hana Bae. My analysis of her ability and heart was scrambled by language deficiencies. I had no idea of her actual talent and I have repented for writing her off academically. There are many Hanas in our world who just need a chance. The difficulties in school expectations do not exist totally in the scholastic, athletic, or artistic areas. They also lie in the behavior arena. How far do you go to help a child who is struggling with attitude and conduct problems? I don't know. To me, that is the hardest decision to make in Christian schools. To balance mercy and forgiveness with discipline and tough love is a tightrope. Without correction, young people regress. How many chances do you give a kid? Would Jesus expel students for disrespect or interfering with the progress of others? Who can say but now you know why I never want to be an administrator! I messed up on Hana...I don't want a repeat performance. Hana Bae made it when I KNEW she would not. I doubt she is in a class by herself.
Applicable quote of the day:
"The first time I grabbed a golf club, I knew I'd do it for the rest of my life."
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