Kyunghi (Kelly) Kim - 2011

Four years ago, I came to the United States by myself away from my family in Korea. When I recall that moment right now, I do not know where my courage came from to study abroad by myself. I still remember the first night in America, crying and missing my family in Korea. During the first months here, struggling with English and loads of school work, I often became frustrated and regretted coming here. I had to work extra hard to understand in foreign language and to put into my head all I had learned. During that time, I was going through the most challenging time of my life. I started to go to church for the first time because I was born and raised in a non-Christian environment. (None of my family members went to church in Korea). Hearing God's word and accepting the gospel, I have come to realize that God has been in control of my life. He was the one who sent me here and guided me to work hard. As I was enlightened of his purpose in my life, I gradually started to acknowledge him in my ways. There were moments throughout my high school years when I was disappointed in myself and wanted to give everything up. However, God has always been at my side and listens to my prayers. I was able to overcome my struggles, trusting that I am his daughter and he is in control of my life.
Dear friends, next year we will enter the next stage of our lives. We will be challenged and tempted in many ways as we leave the comfort zone of our families. Some of us know and have a plan where our our life is heading. Some of us do not exactly know what they will do in their lives. Whether we know our plans or not, I am confident that God our father will lead us to his way and take care of us just as he brought me here and put me where I am right now. Beyond our life in college, God will watch over us wherever we go. Even if we stumble and fall, let's always remember the One who loves us and let's stand up again, trusting that everything is in the hands of God. I'm sure God will work through each one of you, just as he has worked through and changed me. I stand here not because I am the smartest person in our class, but because God has blessed me and led me to work hard in his plan. I want to share my favorite Bible verse: Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever  you go."

Lastly, I want to thank our teachers and faculty members at Evergreen Lutheran who have faithfully taught us in love and care. I want to thank my guardian and her family, who have led me to God and encouraged me in times of trouble. I also want to  thank my parents who have supported me to study here. Finally, I want to thank our class for making great memories in high school years that I will never forget.

Class of 2011 - you are officially done! And go now in PEACE!

Valedictorian speech
Miss Kyunghi Kim
Evergreen Lutheran High School
Class of 2011

Given at graduation on Saturday, June 3, 2011