In 1981, a four-year old boy was abandoned at an orphanage in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province with his younger brother. After a few years, he entered an elementary school. “Does anyone here is from an orphanage?,” his teacher asked. As he heard the same question over and over again at the start of every semester, the boy realized his situation. But he did not want to be looked down upon. He worked hard to earn recognition. He wanted to be a beacon of hope for the kids at his orphanage. Impressed by his efforts, there were many people who gave him a helping hand.
The boy became a PE teacher in 2002. He developed a new sports game similar to baseball to make PE class interesting to students, and for that achievement, he was awarded a prize in 2017 from the Ministry of Education. Last year, he became the president of the Korea Orphans Love Association and wrote a book titled, “I’m a happy orphan.” He still makes a regular visit to his orphanage to provide counseling to the kids there.
“I give them tips on how to open a bank account or get a place to live after leaving the orphanage as well as providing mental health counseling and discussing study plans.
This man is Lee Seong-nam, a teacher at Eomo Middle School in Gimcheon. He was conferred the Order of Civil Service Merit, Okjo Medal on Friday at the 40th Teacher’s Day Ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Education. A total of 3,133 outstanding teachers received prizes and medals, including the Order of Civil Service Merit for 17 people, including Lee and the Medal of Civil Service Honor for 16 people. The ceremony was held at Kanggyong High School in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, where the Teacher’s Day was originated. The Teacher’s Day first began when Roh Chang-sik, the head of the Junior Red Cross (JRC) of the school, visited bedridden teachers to support them and teachers after retirement to express their gratitude. “It was very difficult times but teachers showed their love by paying tuition for students who did not have money and making porridge for students who were sick,” said Roh at the ceremony. “A word from teachers was a dream and hope for students. It is frustrating to hear news about infringement of teachers’ rights these days.”
Ye-Na Choi email@example.com