Her older brothers thrived as they grew up in South Korea, but for Dahee Jung, the future was different.
She left her homeland with her family and moved to Hawaii, where her brothers were born. Jung, a scholar-athlete at Sacred Hearts, feels at home with her parents, with her teammates and classmates, teachers and coaches. The pulse of island life fits her and fits her well.
Jung is also the 2018 ILH precision riflery champion, and with first-team all-star teammate Dorothy Sanidad, they led the Lancers to the league’s team crown.
Jung, whose first name is pronounced Da-hee (not Day-hee), chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Wednesday morning.
“She’s gotten adjusted from life in Korea to life in the states,” Lancers coach Carlton Lum. “Where she’s grown the most comfortable is being part of the team. She’s very humble and she’s done everything I’ve tried to teach her and her confidence has grown.”
Lum recognizes an aptitude to focus, to block everything out in the Lancers.
“You can see them when that happens, and they get hooked. They look so calm, but they’re so focused on the end result,” Lum said. “Dahee and Dorothy are very tenacious when it comes to competition.”
Sacred Hearts Academy Air Riflery
Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Jin Jong Oh
> He’s in air pistol and he’s really good. He’s Korean and I saw him before and I learned a lot.
What have you learned from him?
> Even though it’s different, he can really concentrate. I met him before once. Two years ago? Three years ago? It was a big competition and I lost that match. I didn’t really talk to him. Just a little.
What would you ask him now?
> How to get stronger mentally, how to control the mental part.
Team: KT shooting team
> It’s Jin Jong Oh’s team. He’s really famous.
When did your family move here?
> In 2016. A year and a half ago
Was it a big change?
> When I was really young, I lived in Utah for eight months, two times. So I kind of have the basic English, and both of my parents were English teachers in Korea, so I could study the English. Korean education is kind of hard to survive, going to college, so we moved.
Do you think your family will stay or move back?
> My parents want me to stay here because going to college here is better for me. I couldn’t study in Korea and survive. I did air riflery in middle school the whole three years. But I couldn’t study because of air riflery so it was hard to get into high school. It wasn’t the best high school, but it was still hard.
Food (at home): All Korean food that my mom (Hwa Sun Lee) makes
Which is your favorite?
> Um, kook soo.
Does this mean you can cook some of her stuff too?
> Not as good as her.
Food (eating out): Korean fried chicken
> It’s not in Hawaii. But Vonn’s is my favorite in Hawaii. In Korea, it’s kind of different even though.
Hobby outside of sports: watching YouTube or drama programs.
Movie: Disney movies
> I like Lion King.
TV show: Knowing Bros (Korean TV show)
> It’s really fun and sometimes there’s a guest, people I like.
Like a pop star?
> Yes. BTS. My mom likes it too. Sometimes we watch it together.
(Note: BTS announced on Tuesday that it will have a documentary series on YouTube Red.)
Video game: I don’t play video games.
> I just like to do social media. Twitter, Instagram.
Music artist: K-pop group named Seventeen.
What’s your favorite Seventeen song?
> It’s hard to pick one.
Have you been to their concerts?
> No. I want to.
Are they coming to Hawaii?
> I guess no. Maybe for rest or vacation.
So you would be one of those people chasing after them for an autograph?
> Umm, maybe.
Teacher (elementary through high school): Ms. Carey.
> Actually, I don’t have her class. I’m in International Club and she’s in charge of that. She’s just really kind and sweet.
GPA: Last semester GPA was 3.5.
That’s very solid. Are you content with 3.5?
> I want to have it more higher. In Korea, I had bad grades so I had to make it higher.
> I like algebra.
Place to relax: My bedroom
Motto/scripture: Live life with love, hope, faith, humility, and happiness.
> That’s our family motto.
What your mom (name) says that you can’t forget: “Do whatever you want.”
What your dad (Inho Jung) says that you can’t forget: “Do whatever you enjoy.”
> I have two older brothers. My parents were the same with them, and they liked to study. They got really good grades. They’re on the mainland in college. They were born in Hawaii. I was born in Korea. Most of my relatives are in Korea, but I have an auntie in mainland.
What your coaches say that you can’t forget: “Don’t feel any pressure on it.”
How does your sport affect your daily life during the season and offseason?
> Some people might think that sport will take away our precious time to study. However, it even help me manage my time and focus on studying. It also helps me to associate with my friends in the team and to improve my English as well.
What middle and elementary schools did you attend?
> Jang Jeon Elementary School, Geum Yang Middle School.
What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like year-round?
> I played for my Geum Yang Middle School riflery team. Now I am playing for Sacred Hearts Academy riflery team.
Where have you travelled for sports and school activities?
> I haven’t travelled to foreign countries for sports but I went to other parts of Korea even Jeju Island.
What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
> I like listening to music. Also good at playing the piano and I am also a pianist and organist in my church.
Did you have a hard time with lessons as a little kid?
> My mom didn’t really force me if I didn’t want to, but now I’m kind of grateful.
What was the first song you learned to play?
> I can’t remember. I can play melodies (by ear).
How do you like playing the organ?
> I used to like piano more, but now I couldn’t practice a lot, so now it’s kind of hard for me. Organ, I play every week, so it’s more comfortable now.
What’s your favorite song to play on piano?
> I like to play new age songs. I love that. I want to play really fancy things like Beethoven. Something really fast.
What is your ultimate dream/bucket list? Where would you like to travel, what life would you like to have as an athlete? And away from sports?
> I really want to travel to Japan and Europe. As an athlete, I want to enjoy my sport and don’t want pressure on it.
What is the history and background of your name?
> My name means “lots of joy” so my dad wants me to have lots of joy and happiness in my life.
If you go to college on the mainland, how will your parents cope with the empty nest?
> I think they’re just kind of excited to be by themselves, living in Hawaii, just relax. They like Hawaii.
Is air riflery in the future for you at college?
> I’m trying to find a good college for air riflery, but I’m not sure about it.
What was it like competing for the ILH title in precision?
> I don’t know, I just concentrate and didn’t care about the score.
How do you feel about everything since moving to Hawaii?
> Good. I think I’m doing good.