Representatives from Democracy Prep High School, including school founder Seth Andrew (second from right), pose with Minister of Education, Science and Technology Lee Ju-ho (third from right) at the ministry’s office in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
Representatives from a high school in New York City’s Harlem visited the Education Ministry on Tuesday as part of their two-week cultural exchange program in Korea.
Democracy Prep High School founder and superintendent Seth Andrew is guiding 35 students from the school from Nov. 9. The purpose of the trip is to show them all different aspects of Korea, and to broaden their understanding of the country, according to the school official.
“I came to Korea many times, but it’s the first I bring my students here. I want to share what I learned from Korea,” he said.
Opened in 2006, Democracy Prep High School is the first school in New York offering regular Korean language courses.
The school also teaches taekwondo, and other aspects of traditional Korean culture as a key part of its curriculum.
The 34-year-old, who used to teach English at a public school in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, said he had a “tremendous impression” from his teaching experience in Korea.
Unlike other American schools, Democracy Prep High School is known for its strict discipline, and students study longer hours than their neighborhood peers, something that the American educator took away from Korea.
Andrew first set up the Democracy Prep Charter School foundation in 2005 to ensure that “every single student would work hard, go to college and change the world.”
Despite its short history, his school has already become famous in New York after more than 90 percent of students passed the state math and English exams required for completing their diploma. And the school received top marks from the city’s education department for its advances made in the 2010-11 academic year.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org