At the End of the Hall

Remembering the life of Christine Kim.

It had been a rainy day, but it hadn’t been depressing. The gentle humming of the car engine, the explosive sounds coming from an anime on a laptop, and the sound of friends laughing filled the air. Less than 10 seconds later, many lives were changed forever, and one life was extinguished.

Throughout the Rider/Old High Rivalry Week, decorations hung at the end of the science hall to honor the life of Christine Kim, who passed away in a car accident on June 2, 2017. It was a sudden, tragic beginning to the summer. The decorations were the brainchild of junior Aaron Wheat.

“Honestly, at first I was extremely hurt,” he said when reflecting on his initial reaction to the news of Christine’s passing. “It was a really hard thing for me to grasp. I hear a lot of people who talk about losing a friend in high school, and I always thought, ‘It’s not going to happen to me.’ When it did happen, I was very dumbfounded, and I didn’t know how to act or react.”

A devoted violinist, lover of puns, and talented artist, Christine was a beloved friend who gave everything and asked for nothing except for the companionship of true friends and terrible memes to laugh at. She cherished and was cherished in return. However, it was sometimes difficult to know the true emotions running through her; even for some of her oldest friends, such as junior Kayla Le.

“It was kind of hard and rare to understand her because she really kept in her feelings,” she said. “But she was very kind and silly; she was very passionate about her art and music. She was the person who would go through hardship with you.”

If Christine was school-famous for anything, it was her art. She adored drawing, exclusively horses.  She had also completed three chapters of a comic book in which she starred as an assassin in Victorian England, along with a zany group of comrades based on her closest friends. She may have been quiet and reserved on the outside, but Christine breathed life into everything she did and everything she created.

“Really the only thing that got me through the past few months was looking back at the drawings she left, the gifs she made, and the puns she laughed at,” said junior Erin Wisch. “Every text and every silly thing she gave me is what I’ve valued, and I honestly think it’s the best way to remember her. Sharing who she was with everyone that did and didn’t know her.”

It’s through the masterpieces she left behind, and within the lives she touched that Christine’s spirit lives on. The friends and family who loved her will carry the memory of her in their hearts forever. One of the survivors of the accident, junior Molly Biera, reminisced fondly on her special friend:

“She was the person who connected people together whether she realized it or not,” she said. “We’d all have sleepovers, go to the mall, and take bike rides by Lake Wichita. I didn’t think that one day, all of who she was would leave us so soon. That a slippery road, and a twisted game of musical chairs would take her away and I was right by her side the whole time. There’s something a bit comforting in knowing that she didn’t suffer and that the moments we shared in that car as friends were happy ones. I just wish they could’ve been longer. She was the funny, talented Pun Queen who loved horses, Nutella, and sweet tea. We can never replace her nor would we want to. She affected so many lives for the better. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for Christine Kim. I miss her.”