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Don’t take ‘American’ out of Seoul American High School

Published: November 14, 2017

Regarding the Nov. 9 article “Yongsan Garrison schools to merge next fall”: This name change from Seoul American High School to Seoul Middle High School is a slap in the face for all who taught at Seoul American High School and the thousands of graduates throughout the years. Many will be attending a Seoul American High School reunion in the fall of 2018. This name change is wrong in so many ways.

I taught at Seoul American High School for 30 years starting in August 1963. It was Seoul American High School when my wife and I retired in June of 1997. I taught art, grades 2 through 12 the first two years. At that time Seoul American Elementary School was grades 2 through 8. Seoul American High School was grades 9 through 12. In the early ’70s there became a Seoul American Middle School with 5th-, 6th-, 7th- and 8th-graders.

Seoul American High School was distinguished from Seoul Foreign School and Seoul International School. Now, Seoul Middle High School will sound like a Korean high school somewhere in Seoul. This is not good.

In the fall of 2018 there will be a Seoul American High School reunion at South Post at the Dragon Hill Hotel. I can only imagine how those graduates will feel arriving and finding that Seoul American High School no longer exits as such.

Seoul American High School was a wonderful school with wonderful students. I am still in touch with many of them, some turning 70! I know how they feel about their high school. Many have come to visit us after we retired to Hawaii’s Big Island. Also, one of the several Seoul American High School reunions was held here on the Big Island in the summer of 2000.

My wife, Arline J. Monroe O’Brien, and I met when we arrived as new teachers freshly recruited in the States in the late summer of 1963. We married in the Old South Chapel in June 1968. Our son, Sean Michael, was born at Seoul Military Hospital in March 1975 and graduated from Seoul American High School in June 1993.

The schools on South Post will be around for only a few more years as it is. Please leave the name alone!

Michael F. O’Brien

Waikoloa, Hawaii

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