Speer High

I attended Speer Girls’ High School in Gwangju, Korea. I think the school was named after a missionary who started the school, and as you might have guessed, it is a Christian school.

How did I end up going to a Christian school since my family belonged to Jehovah’s Witness organization?

Graduating 9th graders who planned to attend a regular college prep high school had to take an entrance exam. All students with qualifying test score and above were randomly assigned to a school in the city. At least, that’s how it worked in the 80s.

My mother prayed that I would not be placed in the Christian school. Any other school except Speer. And guess what? I was assigned to attend Speer. Coincidence?

They had a chaplain on staff, and held a weekly chapel service. I was exposed for the first time to other religion and lovely old hymns. I particularly loved How Great Thou Art. We sang it in Korean, of course. Though I didn’t realize until many years later, God pursuit me even then.

There was one specific event from those days at Speer that I never forgot. Our physics teacher was a hobby hypnotist. One day, he decided to demonstrate his skill and asked for a volunteer. This girl raised her hand. She was a short girl, which meant she sat in the front of the class, which meant I didn’t know her well because I sat toward the back. Our class had 60 girls.

Anyway, the teacher hypnotized her. She had her eyes closed and a dreamy smile on her face.

“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Dancing.” The girl answered.
Some of the kids sniggered, and the teacher motioned at us to keep quiet.
“Who are you dancing with?” he asked her.
“With Jesus.”

Her answer and the peace written on her face puzzled me greatly. Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, I’ve been taught about Jesus. But never have I seen anyone who seemed so close with Him enough to personally interact with Him subconsciously.

On hindsight, I see what I had was a religion, but that girl had a relationship with Jesus. However, at the time, I didn’t understand the difference.

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