Sea Choi graduated from Lynnwood High and will attend the University of California San Diego in the fall. Choi was the sole high school student on a 14-person exchange trip in the spring to Damyang, South Korea, Lynnwood’s sister city. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Sea Choi graduated from Lynnwood High and will attend the University of California San Diego in the fall. Choi was the sole high school student on a 14-person exchange trip in the spring to Damyang, South Korea, Lynnwood’s sister city. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

She helped Lynnwood reach out to sister city in South Korea

While at Lynnwood High, Sea Choi traveled with officials to Damyang — and translated.

LYNNWOOD — Sea Choi, 18, graduated in June from Lynnwood High School. She was the only high school student on a 14-person exchange trip this spring to Lynnwood’s sister city, Damyang in South Korea. A delegation from Damyang visited Lynnwood in 2016.

Choi also is working two jobs in retail.

Question: How was your recent trip?

Answer: The city of Lynnwood, we established sister city relations with that city, Damyang in South Korea in 2016 … Mr. (Dave) Golden, who was the principal at that time, he asked me to help create connections with the high school in Korea, because I am fully bilingual and fluent in Korean and I was the ASB vice president during that time … We set up a pen pal system … I actually got to visit the high school and see the students and talk to the (pen pals) and now we’re doing an exchange.

Q: Why were you interested in this project?

A: Because it was tracking back to my roots in South Korea and because I was able to completely understand and communicate with the Koreans and understand the culture as well.

Q: Did you have any favorite courses?

A: My favorite academic class in Lynnwood was AP government and politics, and my favorite non-academic course was leadership.

Q: Where are you planning to continue your education?

A: I’ll be attending the University of California San Diego in the fall … I’m majoring in political science, international relations. My major is pretty well-known at that school … I lived in Lynnwood my entire life. It’d be cool to branch out and be a little more independent … and oh my goodness, the weather. It’s going to be beautiful.

Q: What are some of the lessons and experiences you took from ASB?

A: I learned the value and importance of community. It forces you to become the head figure. People, when they see Lynnwood High School or ASB, they think of me because I am the president and the leader. I learned how important it is for me as a leader to be grounded and firm in what is right and what is wrong, but to always remember the community and the diversity that comes with it.

Q: What are some of the challenges you faced?

A: When people see me, they think I have it all together and everything is figured out completely. That is definitely not the case. I struggled through SATs, college apps, trying to balance my school life with my extracurricular activities … There were often times that I did spread myself out too thin and it took a toll on my health.

Q: Had you visited Korea before?

A: I was born in Korea, and I moved here with my family when I was 3 years old, and I hadn’t been back since.

Q: What were some of the most meaningful memories of the trip?

A: Arriving at that school in Damyang was pretty cool. They had students line up right at the entrance. It was like they were welcoming celebrities almost … I got to visit the Blue House, which is the Korean White House.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

A: Scope out places to take pictures, find places to eat and hang out with my friends. I usually like to go to Seattle and do touristy things … If I want to be on my own, I’ve been really into bullet journaling. I like to journal and I like to read.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: I just finished a book recently, it’s called “Not Forgotten” by Kenneth Bae. He was a U.S. missionary who got captured in North Korea … (The story) is super uplifting and empowering, and it was just an incredible book.

Q: Are you going to be ready for the heat in California?

A: I’m excited actually because I despise being cold. Here, I have so many parkas and all these winter clothes and I can’t take any of them with me to San Diego. That’s my biggest to-do list before I leave to California is to change my wardrobe.

Q: Are there any mentors in your life who have really helped you?

A: My mom and dad (Sungsu and Mijung Choi). My dad has taught me everything I know about being a good leader and he constantly teaches me about life and how important it is to be grounded in my faith … The same with my mom. In high school, my biggest mentor was Mrs. (Amy) Stevenson. She’s a teacher who has not just helped me throughout school, but literally in life.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A masked passenger sits in front of an empty row of seats on an Alaska Airlines flight from Spokane to Sea-Tac Monday evening. (Julie Muhlstein) 20201026
Flying to see family, it was a risk that seemed like a must

After eight months of not seeing my 98-year-old mom, a trip to my Spokane hometown was short and sweet.

Three people were shot at the Boo Han Oriental Market Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, off of Highway 99 in Edmonds. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Charges: Boo Han shooter stalked wife, sent alarming texts

Duy Nguyen is charged with killing his wife’s friend and wounding two others at an Edmonds market.

As seen in body-camera video, an Everett police sergeant places handcuffs on Joseph Michael Hill, 39, while kneeling on his back. Everett's chief says it was reasonable use of force. Hill's attorney disagrees. (Everett Police Department) 20200524
Plea deal reached in case of Black man pinned by Everett cop

Joseph Hill’s arrest led Everett police to amend their policy. All charges except resisting arrest were dropped.

Firefighters were dispatched to a burning home Wednesday night in Monroe. (Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
Fire crews fight blaze at Monroe-area house throughout night

No injuries were reported. Access to water was a challenge as firefighters fought the flames.

Lilah 2 TEASER
Langley man builds automatic candy dispenser for Halloween

People are still finding ways to partake in the holiday’s celebrations in a safe manner.

Monroe Police Department
Police search for Monroe bank robbery suspect, hope for tips

A search with a police dog and drone could not track down the suspect Monday afternoon.

Darrington man sentenced in death of 2 horses he starved

He submitted an Alford plea, not admitting guilt but acknowledging a jury would likely convict him.

Bail set at $1 million in homicide outside Tulalip casino

The Spanaway man is accused of assaulting his girlfriend, who had a medical condition.

Jana Smith places her sister Jody Loomis' boot back into an evidence bag while testify on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Trial in Mill Creek murder tests memories of 48 years ago

Jody Loomis’ sister testified this week in the trial of a man accused of killing the 20-year-old in 1972.

Most Read