Located within only a few blocks of each other near where the 101, 170, and 134 freeways meet in the San Fernando Valley are Colfax Elementary, Walter Reed Middle School, and North Hollywood High School (NHHS). These schools have drawn many Korean families to the area, where they were scarce in the past.
As the Korean community grows, residents witness more and more people eating kim-bap and getting hooked on Korean barbecue. When visiting electronic stores, the Samsung Galaxy and other Korean-made electronics are placed in a row and the economic successes of South Korea can be felt. This increased diversity is having an impact on the schools in the area.
In an interview with JSR, NHHS’ new principal Ricardo Rosales said, “My first impression about NHHS is that it’s very diverse.”
When asked about Koreans, he answered, “I love the culture. In particular, I would say my favorite food in Los Angeles is Korean BBQ.”
Rosales continued, “I love working with Koreans, having them as friends, and working with them as a coordinators, teachers, and administrators. It’s beautiful with any people, when you retain your culture… That’s what makes LA special, [that] we have so many different people.”
Korean students and their parents are very education-oriented, and through education this diverse school community is brought together.
According to NHHS Math Club president Harriet Steele, for instance, “[I think it’s great that] having a large Korean community on campus adds to our cultural diversity, which makes our school even better. I think it speaks well for our school that people of all backgrounds interact and hopefully all feel accepted.”
“I’ve seen [the growth of] Korean populations, not just at our school but at other institutes,” said MIT-bound NHHS senior Jamie Chang, “[and] I am proud of our culture spreading throughout the world.”
Yet Chang also emphasized that she is glad to be surrounded by people of different backgrounds beyond just Koreans.
“While it’s nice to have more people who are from the same background as I am,” she said, “diversity is honestly more important to me.”