While most recently graduated Parker seniors are starting their first fall semester in college, David Kim ’18, is at the beginning of an entirely unique journey—training to become an Olympic champion.
David’s quest began at the ripe age of 3 at his father’s local taekwondo studio. Much to his father’s dismay, the sport wasn’t love at first sight: “I hated it!” He laughs now. “I would show up to the studio everyday and cry.”
As time went on and he entered his early teenage years, it became clear that David didn’t just develop a passion for taekwondo, but a real talent for the sport. His father decided to start having David train under a family friend, who was a renowned taekwondo fighter and champion. “When you’re training under someone with such a successful career, you can’t help but be inspired. For the first time, I starting thinking…’maybe I could do that.’”
But choosing to pursue taekwondo on a more competitive level meant David also had to navigate being a serious student-athlete. Fortunately, he found that his Parker classmates and teachers were important parts of his support system. “…My teachers have always been understanding and supportive. They’ve taught me how to communicate better, so they know what’s going on in my competitive life and can help me adjust academically…Parker teachers don’t just care about your grades, they really care about how you’re doing as a person. They want to make sure you’re OK.”
Now that David has graduated, he’s transitioning to training full-time with the goal of making it onto the U.S. National team. The pressure will be intense, he acknowledges, but so will the personal growth that comes alongside that. “Becoming an Olympian is going to be extremely difficult, I know that. But honestly, I truly believe that my best will take me there. I feel that power. I know if I continue to trust myself and I work my hardest, my best could just be the best in the world.”
…Parker teachers don’t just care about your grades, they really care about how you’re doing as a person. They want to make sure you’re OK.