Sections fill up for new Korean class

Principal’s longtime goal to bring class to Branham

Jiyoon Choi, News Editor

The fourth time’s the charm as Branham says “annyeong” to a new Korean class. From “Squid Game” to BTS and K-dramas,

Korean culture is enjoying a wave of popularity in this country, and Principal Cheryl Lawton said it’s about time the class is officially on the schedule.

This is the fourth year that she’s tried to launch the class, but due to a lack of signups it did not take off. She said that a new foreign language would need around 60 to 70 signups to sustain the class for a four-year curriculum.

Lawton has a personal connection to Korean culture. The week before she came on as principal, Lawton went for a week trip in Korea. She visited Korean schools, learned the Korean alphabet and culture. The trip helped cement her wish to add a Korean class.

The class is a chance for students to connect with the language other than the Latin-based classes offered.

“(Korean is) a much easier language, in my opinion, to learn for a lot of people than some of the Latin languages, and a little bit easier than Mandarin so this might be a better option for some students,” she said.

The new Korean language class not only brings variety in the language department, but also cultural representation. Sarah Jin, who taught math and computer science and was also the Korean Club adviser welcomed the increased attention on campus (she resigned mid-year)

“It’s a great way to spread Korean culture and really promote the Korean language for other non-Korean speakers,”Jin said.“We’re becoming more and more represented, and I think more Korean communities will appreciate that. I would love to see more Asian languages represented and all these other Asian cultures being represented at school.”

Jin said the cultural representation and awareness that the language holds are impactful too, especially after the racially motivated crimes during the pandemic. The San Francisco police chief recently reported that anti-Asian hate crimes increased 567% from 2020 to 2021.

“During COVID-19, we had a lot of negativity around Asian community like Asian hate crimes,” Jin said. “So, I’m glad that BTS is booming and ‘Squid Game’ has succeeded. I hope that we can spread more positivity through our great content. I’m very happy about it.”

Junior Minkyung Choi, the president of Korean Club, also points out the international connection of people through different cultures and languages being represented at Branham.

“It provides various ways more cultures and people are connected,” Choi said. “I think it’s the step for Branham to move forward.”

Branham recently has been trying to add more diversity in courses like new electives such as Ethnic Literature and Business. Lawton thinks that it is important to expand the knowledge of culture through languages, too.

“It’s always valuable to know more about other people and ourselves,” she said. “You get a little taste of it in World History, Ethnic Studies and other courses, but why not do it through a language class?”