By Diane Philbrick
Her last name was Song. When Headmaster Philbrick met the new student and new member of his own family, he said “Every song has a melody.” And so Yoojeong acquired her American name. But Melody was to become much more than a pleasant tune; she is the whole score, the harmony, the percussion, the rhythm and definitely the brass. Her song joyously and triumphantly sings!
Melody’s introduction to American life was a whirlwind. At her new school there were students and teachers to meet, a 4000 foot mountain to climb, a White Mountain retreat, classes all in English requiring lots of reading, surely testing her English skills. Her new home was overwhelming: strangers to call Mom and Dad, living on a farm where everyone had chores rather than a city apartment, sleeping in a soft bed rather than on a floor mat, eating strange bland food, having new siblings, a darling younger brother, a scary older sister, and thankfully, a beautiful sister her own age and classmate. And this was just the first week. Week #2 was off to the older brother’s wedding with so many people and new customs to observe. Yet she knew everyone was trying to be gracious.
Because of the Korean emphasis and priority of education, Melody came to Jesse with excellent study ethics and approached the challenging academic expectations with due diligence. The support, encouragement and help she received from staff and fellow students were an initial experience with JRHS sense of community. Her determination guided by wise mentoring is evident in her high GPA, excellent SAT scores and acceptance into the college of her choice. In her own words, “I am so grateful for the excellent teaching at Jesse so that I am prepared for college.”
Athletics were not emphasized in Mellie’s Korean school. After four years at Jesse, she is a force to be reckoned with. As a freshman she joined a newly formed basketball team whose record was dismal. Her senior team is undefeated! “Encouraging each other has made us better and better. Jesse sports have taught me perseverance and hard work. I have learned a ‘don’t ever give up’ attitude. I may be physically small, but I have found a winning spirit.” And Melody has climbed at least 12 of the NH 4000 footers!
Jesse Remington High School encourages Christian leadership and offers many opportunities, large and small. “ I have a personality that is willing to step out in a group, but I question my leadership abilities because my English is not perfect. I try to overcome this by working with younger students and have had many encouraging experiences. Others at school have more faith in me than I have in myself so I sometimes find myself unexpectedly stepping up front.”
Melody comes from a Christian family and had made a commitment to Christ when she was 12 years old. Bible courses at Jesse have challenged her thinking and have significantly deepened her knowledge of God’s word. She uses both English and Korean translations to be sure she understands the text. “The most important change in my spiritual life is that Jesse and the Philbrick family have taught me true love. Korean love had a self centered focus. By elevating oneself, others are torn down. Now I know that Christian love centers on others, helping not hurting. I am learning more and more the love that Christ had for us and love he wants us to have for others.”
As Melody graduates and leaves us, we are confident that she will model the Jesse Remington Mission: her understanding of Christian love exemplifies the sense of community; her diligence has given her wisdom knowledge and understanding; her perseverance and courage will make her a significant leader for Jesus Christ.