Not everyone is born with artistic talent, let alone a passion to pursue and develop it. For Seojung, or Lucy as her friends know her, a graduating senior in Rockford, Illinois, pursuing artistic endeavors has been a cornerstone of her life.

Lucy, who is from South Korea, is described by her Local Coordinator as being “very happy, fun-loving, giving, and always willing to help.” She shares of her perception of Lucy while on the program:

“Lucy has focused on graduating early and will be graduating in December. She works very hard. Her family just loves her!”

As for art, Lucy’s interest dates back to when she was a young girl. She recalls, “My mom made me and my older brother to do art. She wanted us to be artistic and creative. Now, I appreciate it.”

Lucy has shared her many artistic talents with her family, school and community in Rockford. She designed a poster for a theater performance of Romeo and Juliet at her school. She created a painting of masks, representing how people hide their true feelings and act in a way that is not reflective of how they truly feel.

“The biggest mask has a mouth that is showing that the person is sad. This person is hiding their happiness. It is more detailed than the smaller masks in the background. These are faded and show all different kinds of faces. I put music notes there because I love music.”

Music, as it turns out, is another passion of Lucy’s. She has played piano since she was five years-old. Last year, she received the Outstanding Accompanist medal for her performance with the school choir team at Six Flags in Chicago. She was the only person awarded a medal!

Lucy also participated in an art contest for the Rockford Police Department, raising awareness of domestic violence. She describes her painting as simple yet powerful.

“I like painting that has impact. You can see how I felt about it. You can see the sorrow in it, not just by the title. I love that you can put the emotion in the painting without telling people how you feel. You don’t need to explain it; you just see it and understand,” she says.

Lucy has fit right in with her host family, who enjoy her very much. Rosemary, Lucy’s host mother, shared how they came to the decision to host her:

“Last year, our daughter, Caitlin, begged us to take Lucy. Caitlin went to college this year, and if we didn’t have Lucy, we would have gone through the empty nest syndrome. Also, the experience of them living together helped Caitlin learn how to share and prepared her before going to college. They fight like sisters!”

She continues, “Caitlin prepared her (Lucy) for us. She told her that she would need to learn about sarcasm if she was going to get by in our house (laughs).”

Lucy has embraced sarcasm and likes to refer to her host father, Ron, as “Triple Ron” (formerly referred to as “Double Ron”) because of his size. Rosemary says, “Lucy enjoys playing the card game, Skipbo, with Rosemary’s 94-year-old mother-in-law.  They use much sarcasm and block each other constantly (laughs).”

Rosemary shares that they have really enjoyed taking Lucy to family gatherings and that she fits in very well.

“Lucy has been a great addition to our family,”she says.

One of Lucy’s favorite shared memories with her host family was when they visited an apple orchard in Winnebago, IL with Caitlin.

As for future plans, Lucy’s passion for art runs deep and therefore, she hopes to continue to pursue art design in the future. Her host family has been able to show her several colleges here in America so that she can make an informed decision.

Rosemary recalls, “Last year, she talked about going to Europe or America for college. Now, she is only considering America.”

Lucy has applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to major in fashion design. She has also applied to several different schools to major in business. Ultimately, she would like to work in any industry while applying her talent of creative art.

We look forward to following Lucy’s journey and wish her the best of success!

Written by Flo Ruiz; Edited by Ann Steffen

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