In the yearbook that you find accidentally while cleaning your room, you will have likely noticed a lot of faces you haven’t seen for a long time. Though all of the people you see will not be close school buddies, you may wonder what those former school mates are doing right now. Looking at their photos, you might reminisce about the good times such as practicing together for field day events, dancing together at the school festival, or crying together the day before the college entrance examination. Those were the days of good friends studying and playing together. Those school days still remain bright in our memories, for at that time, we were the one.
Observation Report of High School Students (2016)
"They were terrific students, school mates who nurtured my beautiful memories. However, I failed to see their significance at that time because I focused all my emotion on things I hated about school life."
– Jeong Jieun
Observation Report of High School Students
The book presents stories from the personal blog account entitled ‘Late-Night Classroom’ by Ms. Jeong, a public high school Korean language teacher. The book begins by detailing stories about students Ms. Jeong met. 19 students, from the perfect class president of her first homeroom ever to students who made her reflect on life, are the main characters in the book. Ms. Jeong writes about not only her growth as a teacher through exchanges with students but also the reality that some students refuse to change despite teacher’s intervention and effort. In the second half of the book, Ms. Jeong writes about her personal thoughts and stories about school. The stories include roles she played as a teacher, her favorite writers, and her personal opinion about school. Unlike books similar to this one, Ms. Jeong does not write from the perspective of a student or a third person. She presents fresh stories by incorporating students, the school, and her perspective as a teacher.
There is no one single storyline in the book. It consists of episodes each centered on a particular group of students and theme. Some people may not like the complexity of the organization of the book, but its organizational pattern makes readers recall their friends and memories from school. In addition, her honest tone resonates with teachers and students. Anyone with experience in a Korean school will be captivated by the teacher’s thoughts about students and school life. This book does not provide all answers to our childhood questions, but it does shed light on teachers’ thoughts about students and what school means to teachers. In particular, it is written by a teacher who rationally criticizes the relationship between teachers and students and the system at most public schools. Therefore, although it is extremely personal, readers can still envision their school days of the past and learn about problems in the school system. After reading the book, how about reconnecting with school friends you haven’t seen for a long time?
"Until death, or even death, Sunny lasts forever."
Nami, who becomes a wife and mother, comes across a hospital room with the name "Ha Chunhwa" on the door while visiting her mother in the hospital. She enters the room and as expected, the woman in the hospital room suffering from cancer is Nami's school friend, Ha Chunhwa. Nami begins a search for Chunhwa’s school friends, the dying wish of Chunhwa. While trying to find her past friends, she recalls her school days. Nami, was new to the school, having transferred from Beolgyo, Jeollanam-do to Seoul. She was the object of ridicule by the school bully because of her dialect right from the first day of school. At that time, no one came to her rescue, but then Chunhwa and her friends stepped in to help Nami. This started a tight friendship among the seven girls, who called themselves ‘Sunny’, and they pledged to remain together forever. They were bright girls, and just happy to spend time with one another until Sunny fell apart due to an incident that happened during the school’s festival. Twenty-five years later, the girls gather to fulfill the dying wish of Chunhwa, but some friends changed drastically from high school. What happened to them?
The movie, set in the 1980s, opens everyone’s eyes to the beauty of school life at that time, and this is the main reason why ‘Sunny’ is still loved today. However, there are two more movie aspects that increase completeness and audience empathy. The first one is the music. The 80's music throughout the film makes people feel nostalgic, and the movie’s original sound track “Sunny” by Bonny M. also captures the emotion of the movie. The other aspect is the film’s casting. The characters transcend the past and present, so two different actors play the same character. The images and feelings of the actors who play these roles are very consistent, which complements the movie well. The film reminds audiences of their school days or of their mother who may be a homemaker, forgoing their dreams like Sunny in the movie. The movie leaves audiences with the message: It is only time that has passed. This SMT reporter hopes that all mothers shine in their own name not limited in the name of a mother or a wife as Sunny have memories that are radiant.