Standout student loves public speaking

Meet Josephine Kuo: Former school committee student representative, recent BHS graduate

Posted 6/13/19

Some students would cringe at the idea of standing in front of hundreds of people to give a speech. (Actually, most students might cringe.) But not Josephine Kuo. The recent Barrington High School …

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Standout student loves public speaking

Meet Josephine Kuo: Former school committee student representative, recent BHS graduate

Posted

Some students would cringe at the idea of standing in front of hundreds of people to give a speech. (Actually, most students might cringe.) But not Josephine Kuo. The recent Barrington High School graduate loves public speaking and was more than happy to share her thoughts with the crowd at Sunday's graduation ceremony.

Josephine also recently served as the student representative to the Barrington School Committee and earned rave reviews from the other board members at her final meeting. 

So what's next for Josephine? A trip west this summer — she'll be on a mission trip to Taiwan to teach English. And then in the fall, a trip north — she will attend Tufts University. 

BT: What drew you to serve on the school committee?

JK: Well, to be honest, I didn't really know what the school committee was. I didn't even know this position existed. I kind of just took my shot. It kind of seemed interesting… I found I really didn't know what I was getting into. Especially when I was doing the interview with Chris Sarli, who was the previous student representative. He did mention it was a lot of work, and it was not really clear what I would be doing, especially when I attended my first meeting. I was completely thrown off because it was very formal. Sitting at that table seems very daunting to me. At the first couple of meetings, I was very shy. I didn't really know what I was doing. But from then on, it's been an absolutely amazing experience. 

BT: What's the best part of filling that position on the school committee?

JK: I think the best is just seeing everything in action…I think the best part is seeing the adults interact, whether it's analyzing policy, even something as small as the period placement, or how things are phrased in a policy, or discussing next year's budget. Or how the school has changed the lunch trays from Styrofoam to cardboard. Everything that's going on behind the scenes is so relevant to the students. I just never realized there is a whole world behind everything. It's just an eye-opening experience.

BT: What's the toughest part?

JK: Getting students to actually attend… The business meeting might seem a little boring to some students, and it is very lengthy sometimes. We were looking at a policy and they were discussing the phrasing of a sentence for at least a half an hour. It was involving our strategic plan… I think for students, it's just reaching out to students and getting them to check their email, getting them to listen to Sunrise, getting them to contact me if they have questions. I think that's the toughest part of the job, because it's really frustrating if students don't look at their emails… Some students just don't check their emails. That's why I've been going on Sunrise (the school's TV news-show.)

BT: Do you like being on TV?

JK: I think it's enjoyable. I love public speaking. I don't really mind. I just want to inform the students on what's happening. 

BT: Where are you headed in the fall?

JK: I'm headed to Tufts University. Not too far away. 

BT: Future profession?

JK: I definitely know some of the characteristics (of a profession) I want. But I don't know what exact field, so I'm hoping in college I will discover my passion. 

BT: What was your favorite subject at the high school?

JK: I would actually say, probably sociology. I really loved my teacher — Mr. Monaco. And I had him for American History and I loved it. He's a great teacher and I love being able to connect the dots between different things, to see what factors go into someone's behavior.

BT: What's your least favorite?

JK: I don't know. 

BT: Hobbies, other interests?

JK: I do like music. I play instruments. Piano and violin. I hope to continue. Not on a professional level, but for enjoyment with friends.

BT: If you had an opportunity to serve on a school committee again (as an adult) would you do so?

JK: That's an interesting question. I've never really thought about it. What draws me to certain positions, is to make closer connections to my peers. I wanted to be closer to my class. (that's why she ran for class president.) I feel like it would be interesting. Maybe.

BT: Favorite food?

JK: Noodles. Any noodles. 

BT: Favorite book?

JK: The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. It was about the Vietnam War… I read it in American Literature.

BT: Favorite TV show?

JK: (She doesn't watch much TV.)

BT: Favorite movie?

JK: I would say the most recent Avengers. (She's seen them all.)

BT: The farthest place you've ever traveled to?

JK: Taiwan, maybe. Taiwan or Hong Kong. For the past summers I've been going on a mission trip. This year I'm going back. I'm excited... I actually teach English. 

BT: Favorite place in town?

JK: Sometimes the library playground. Sometimes my friends and I like to go there and talk and chill. 

BT: Biggest fear?

JK: Spiders. Definitely. I cannot do spiders.

BT: Dinner or dessert?

JK: I'd say dinner. 

BT: How are your grades?

JK: I think they're academically satisfactory. (She does quite well.)

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