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Hear From A Student

Min Seo K.
Class of 2023

My experience at Kennedy Catholic was enriching and academically fulfilling. The class that particularly prepared me for admission to Berkeley was Biotechnology, which ignited my interest in the subject through various lab experiments and guided me toward my major in microbial biology. Additionally, one of my favorite memories from attending Kennedy Catholic was the Cultural Assembly, where I had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and enjoy entertaining performances.

Sibo Z.
Class of 2023

My name is Sibo! I am from China but I was born in Dubai, UAE. My parents believed that America offered the best education in the world, where dreams and opportunities are endless. I first became interested in studying at Kennedy Catholic High School because I had a friend that attended.  I was even more convinced to join Kennedy Catholic after learning about its reputation and programs. As one of the best Catholic schools in Washington, the school provided many AP classes, college courses with the University of Washington and Seattle University, and amazing athletic programs. 

I met lifelong friends that have become a vital part of my life both at school and away from school. As part of my academic journey, I met some of the best teachers, Mr. Stephen Barbarossa, Mr. Ben Josie, and Ms. Caroline Cacabelos. They played a major role in my academic success as well as in shaping my dream of becoming an engineer. 

Kennedy Catholic is such a special place because the community is so accepting and loving. Everyone encourages one another to do better and thrive for the best, giving everyone the best chance to succeed. 

The teachers are the most important because they are the ones that we learn from and look up to. They are always there whenever you need help or when you need someone to talk to. Lastly, the counselors would often check up on us to make sure we are doing all right mentally, showing that the school really cares about its students and staff. 

Though I was good at grammar and speaking, my writing skills were average.  I was able to hone my skills through AP and college English classes during my junior and senior years, so I have already experienced the intensity and difficulty that I will face later in college. During my senior year, Kennedy Catholic offered great college counselors that were able to guide me through the application process, which definitely made it more convenient to write college essays and apply to colleges.  My major is computer science and engineering, so AP Computer Science A, AP Calculus AB helped me prepare.

I tried my best to make friends that could help me adjust as well as ask the teachers for guidance. I joined Baseball, Asian Student Union, Esports Club and the World Language Honor Society. I sense that I have assimilated to American culture.  One of my most memorable experiences at Kennedy Catholic High School is when the teachers performed a rock concert, led by Mr. Ben Josie, during the pep assembly. That was probably one the best performances I have ever seen at school. 

I will also remember the late nights of studying with my friends before a test. The 2am bedtime made it rough to wake up in the morning. I would often help my friends with math, science, and history homework. I would guide them through the problem to see if they could come up with the answers and if they couldn’t, I would give them hints of the keywords and key equations to use to solve the problem. My advice to other students who are considering studying in the U.S. is to make American friends, develop good relationships with your teachers, ask whenever you are confused or lost, and work hard.  

My major accomplishment was achieving a 4.0 while taking 3 AP classes and 3 Seattle University courses, making lifelong friends, getting accepted directly into the University of Washington Engineering Department.  I have matured and learned with the guidance of my peers and teachers.

Of course, I would recommend Kennedy Catholic to anybody who seeks a good challenge, a great and loving community, as well as very a well-rounded high school experience.

Leo J.
Class of 2024

My name is Leo Paulo J. and my home country is the Philippines. I have been studying here since fall of last year.

I chose study abroad at Kennedy Catholic High School because of its diversity and connection to tech brands like Microsoft. Kennedy Catholic also has a very high graduation rate for their students, and the staff and faculty support their students like family. Attending here is a great opportunity to improve on my education.    

I was attracted to this school since I am very interested in technology. Kennedy Catholic is the next-door neighbor of many large tech brands’ world headquarters. I find this school a special place because of how nice the students and the teachers are. They are very caring, and they will help you in any way possible. 

I like that I can choose my elective courses. I can focus on what I want and be able to understand more about the things I like.  I miss my family and the food in the Philippines. I also miss all the beaches and my holiday house where I have many fond memories. 

As a person who speaks English as my first language, I feel like my skills have remained the same, aside from the accent of course. But compared to my other international friends, I have observed that their English fluency and pronunciation are improving. My social skills have been improving too since I was in online classes for about two years.

I am currently the leader of the Dance Club. My club has been so fun since I am able to connect with people and they also get to have fun while dancing. The International students have an Experience America activity every month and these activities are so fun and worth attending. 

I personally do not struggle with making friends since I speak English quite well and I can connect with them quite easily. My friends are also very supportive.  I had so much fun during the homecoming dance. It was the first time experiencing an event or party that large. 

I joined the Habitat for Humanity Service trip to complete my Junior ISLE hours which are a graduation requirement.  Aside from that, I served the community and was able to experience helping to build a home.  I liked being able to work with my friends to help serve those who aren’t as fortunate. I also liked the road trip traveling out to Yakima. I liked seeing the mountains of Washington.

I didn’t expect the house that we worked on to be almost complete and I initially thought that we would be working on a house that was still in its early stages. This did make out job a lot easier as we could work inside in case of cold or wet weather. 

After we completed work for the day, we would play fun games with other students on the trip. There was also a day when we took down a wooden structure which meant we destroyed a few things and I found that specific day to be my favorite.

There are many things we take for granted these days. Comfort is one of them and we often forget that there are people who aren’t as fortunate.  Joining these service trips, though, will give those who are less fortunate a home to stay in and live comfortably like you. 

Hitomi T.
Class of 2023

Admiring school life outside of Japan, I decided to study abroad in Gold Coast, Australia when I reached 9th grade. After about a year in Gold Coast, my desire to move to the United States increased. I was seeking a high-quality education, so I transferred to Kennedy Catholic High School in the second semester of my freshman year.  The school had a respectable reputation both in academics and athletics. 

Transferring in the second semester was hard though.  I had a difficult time reaching out to others and making friends. I lacked confidence in my English and on top of that, after a year and a half of online schooling due to the Covid pandemic, my high school life until the first half of junior year was not ideal. 

Meanwhile, my athletics sustained me.  I began playing tennis at age 8 with my mother’s influence.  I participated in the girls’ tennis team here at Kennedy Catholic since my freshman year, and I became a captain of the team during my senior year.  

Although I consider myself introverted, throughout my experience on the tennis team, my personality became more extroverted, and enabled me to spend the rest of my school year with a spirit full of excitement.

Kennedy’s Office of International Education provides sophisticated support, as well as a variety of events and challenges students to achieve academically which truly reflects the values of this school. This support combined with events provide students with an opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills. I have tutored other international students who are struggling with their English and school assignments for two years; additionally, I played the role as a leader of Team Japan at the Cultural Festival. Throughout these experiences, I realized how challenging it is to lead my peers, as well as the importance of generosity.   

I have no words but a huge appreciation for my mother, who always supports my dreams and goals no matter what. For post-graduation, I will be going back to Japan and spending the next four years at Sophia University, located in Tokyo. I am looking forward to spending my time with my family, which I was not able to in the past four years, along with studying at college, so that I can contribute to creating a better society.

Min Jae K.
Class of 2023

My Name is Min Jae Kim and I am a student from Seoul, South Korea. I had a lot of concerns before coming to the United States, but Kennedy Catholic High School’s diversity appealed to me. In America, I believe it is quite simple to make friends. I used to be introverted, but I’ve developed an outgoing attitude and have surrounded myself with many wonderful friends. What I like most is that you can join a variety of clubs. You can even create a new club if you want.  I joined the Environmental Club, Forefront Club, and the Tennis Team. 

International students might worry that it would be very inconvenient to attend school without a car, but I live in a dormitory and there are large stores and a variety of shops near the school which is very convenient. Sometimes I miss Korea, but I don't have to miss Korean food as there are many Korean restaurants just a short walk from school that I enjoy. I do miss my family and my dog so much. It’s been exactly three years since I came to the US. 

When I first arrived, I could not answer the questions asked by the airport immigration officer.  To strengthen my communication abilities, I started in an ESL study group. I also received after-school tutoring and have tried to make as many friends as possible. My English abilities improved over time. As a result, I currently have a SAT score of 1580 and a TOEFL score of 113.

When you become a senior, you are asked to decide which university you want to attend. I’ve dreamt of gettingaccepted to Cornell University since childhood. People criticized me for my English skills, believing it would be impossible. I ignored them and pursued my own path, finally getting into Cornell University with an early acceptance. 

The road I've walked so far has been rough. However, the IE Office was always by my side.  There was a time when I was mentally tired and I wanted to give up. At that time, the IE Office staff comforted me by reminding me of what a great student I was. Those words at that time seem to have been the turning point that helped me to endure. Mysuccess is not only from my efforts but also the result of the support I received.

When deciding on my major, I considered my interests and strengths. After taking AP Environmental Science, I was focused on the environment and my favorite teacher, Mr. Kemp, gave me a lot of advice.

The Korean education system was a bit of a burden to me. No matter how hard I worked, there were many times when I was disregarded.  When I first came to America, however, I was very surprised. The harder I worked, the more I got recognized. I love this kind of culture where I show my passion for studying to my teachers and I get more respect from them.

I would definitely encourage other students considering Kennedy Catholic to attend. The many IE activities, school clubs and sports, lovely friends and instructors helped shape me into the person I am now. I will never forget this school and will be glad to have graduated from here for the rest of my life.


Long H.
Class of 2024

My name is Long, and I am in 11th grade. I have been studying here for three months, and I am loving the experience so far. By speaking English every day, my skills are rapidly improving. My family and I first visited the United States on vacation. We saw New York, Los Angeles, and also colleges. I visited Parsons School of Design, Columbia, UPenn, UW, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. I took a course at UCLA during the last 3 weeks of my American tour. To be honest, those were the best three weeks of my summer. I learned how to be on my own and live without parental care.  

I had no intentions of learning abroad for the rest of my high school experience, but my mother wanted me to study in the U.S. To her, education is the key to everything, and she wanted to bless me with a better education. I heard about Kennedy Catholic High School through one of my childhood friends. They suggested Kennedy Catholic right away.   

When my mom asked me where I wanted to go, I answered Seattle as it was my top priority. Apart from the amazing academic courses provided, the IE Office stood out for me. They really helped me a lot during the first month here. I love the experience of living in the dorm, with a variety of students from different countries around the world. Also, the school soccer field is right next to our living complex, so I can enjoy my favorite hobby whenever I want to.  

I adore the teachers here at Kennedy Catholic, especially Mr. McClusky, who is my AP US History teacher and Mr. Roth, my Honors English teacher. Both teachers made these classes so easy to follow and changed my views on how a history and language class could look and feel. I am a math person, but I found that I am enjoying the humanities even more than taking Math. 

I’m involved in GRID, a club based around graphic design, which is one of my interests. I want to join the school soccer team, so I’ll try out in spring! I enjoy monthly activities arranged by the IE office. Also, if you are a dorm student, you get another bonus activity once a month. We’ve gone to go carts, bowling and trampoline. Super fun! 

The Homecoming Dance has been one of my favorite memories so far. It was my first homecoming ever, and it is, I think, exclusive as an event in the United States. I went to Homecoming with my friends, we all dressed up as “men in black,” but I went wearing a pink blazer. I had a date too, which was an unforgettable experience. 

It is natural for new international students to experience changes in temperature, weather, and culture. It is called, “culture shock,” so don’t be terrified about things that you will see here. Good luck! One piece of advice I would give to Vietnamese students who have the intention to study abroad in this country of diversity is to make sure you gain trust from your parents. Allowing you to get an education in a country across the Pacific Ocean will require your parents to trust you a lot. 

Going to study in the United States means that you can be on your own, you can be independent. Yes, you will have help, and your community will be there for you, but sometimes, there will be things that no one can do except for you. It's a great experience.

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