Jana Kim and her family moved to the United States from South Korea in the middle of last school year. As a fourth grader at Lake Louise Elementary School, she faced the tough challenge of adapting to a new country, a new school and a language she wasn’t fully comfortable speaking.
None of those obstacles deterred her from jumping in, learning and making new friends. Jana quickly connected with her classmates as best she could, taking advantage of group projects as a way to connect with others.
“Even though she had a language barrier, it never stopped her from participating in class and trying her best,” said Lake Louise teacher Ryan Smolic. “She worked really well with her peers, actively participating in group discussion.”
Jana also uses art as a gateway to engage with others and the community around her. She enjoys expressing herself on the canvas with watercolors and colored pencils.
Last year, the district partnered with the Lakewood Police Department for a unique art contest that invited students to submit artwork depicting police officers and kids spending time together. Jana was one of four winners of the Cops and Kids art contest and her winning piece is now featured on a LPD motorcycle.
Her art piece, which features police officers and kids playing and getting along perfectly sums up the way she approaches the world around her.
Collaboration is one of the Four Pillars of Student Success and provides a strong foundation to help young people develop into active learners and strong citizens. Jana’s willingness to engage with her classmates and connect with the community around her through her art shows why she stands out as a strong collaborator.
Jana learned about connecting with others from her family. From nearly the moment she enrolled at Lake Louise, her family became actively involved with the school. They attended school events and were happy to make goodie bags for Jana’s classmates for various holidays.
“You can tell her family really values connecting with others,” Smolic said. “They are very supportive of Jana and very quickly made themselves a valued part of the Lake Louise community.”