Message from the President & Head of School


In schools, Spring Break is often a time to relax, replenish, and prepare for the demanding final weeks of school. For me, however, Spring Break presents an opportunity to visit families and alumni around the world. Spring Break 2019 found Chief Development Officer Palencia Turner, Alumni & Parent Relations Manager Darren Schilling, and myself traveling to Seoul, to three provinces in China (Shenyang, Shanghai, and Shenzhen), and to Hong Kong. The warm hospitality and generosity extended by our families and alumni kept us energized throughout our fifteen-day tour.

This was our third year visiting alumni and families in Seoul. We are grateful to Youree Gin (’06) for always hosting us and arranging receptions and special events to introduce Idyllwild Arts to others. This year, Youree organized the 2nd Annual Idyllwild Arts Event in Korea. The performance and art exhibit took place at the Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art and was hosted by ChongHoon Lee and Sunjoo Park, alumni parents of SoMin Lee ’13 and founders of this magnificent gallery. On display in the gallery was an Idyllwild Arts exhibit that had traveled from Idyllwild to Shenzhen, China, before being shipped to Seoul. We are deeply grateful to the many alumni and current and incoming parents who helped with the event by preparing a banquet and creating a very special performance and exhibit. The evening ended with an alumni performance of “In Idyllwild” and a delightful poem titled “The Perfect Carmel” by incoming sophomore Claire Kim.

After a delightful time in Korea, we traveled to Shenyang, China, where I participated in a very famous talk show hosted by current parent He “Stephanie” Zhu (Biatong Aflan Diao ’22). On the panel, educators, consultants, and parents joined me to promote international study in the United States. I was proud to share the successes of our wonderfully talented students and to speak about the special community of Idyllwild Arts. Also while in Shenyang, we entered into an arrangement with The Gold of the Azure, an after-school arts program that will host a competition in the fall. The winners of the competition will attend the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program next year. He “Stephanie” Zhu, husband Guangquan Daniel Diao, and family friend Linda Cheng were incredibly generous hosts, arranging for visits to international schools, translating, and introducing Idyllwild Arts to prospective families and talented students.

Warmer weather greeted us as we made our way to Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. We were delighted to have Shiyu “Hanson” Liu (’20) who was there to translate for us and help us navigate Shanghai. Hanson’s parents, Liu Bo and Shen “Cindy” Qun, along with Min Tang and Wei Luo (parents of Xilong “Tim” Zhang ’19) helped us learn more about Shanghai, its customs, its cuisine, and its people.

Before journeying home, we were delighted to meet Ashley Leung (’19) and her mother Jenny Sze just in time to help celebrate Ashley’s eighteenth birthday. It was a perfect way to complete our whirlwind trip abroad.