Kaylee Kim – 2021 Flag House Scholar

Congratulations to our 2021 Flag House Scholar, Kaylee Kim! Due to the cancellation of the Flag Day Celebration during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaylee fulfilled her obligation to read her essay in the recording below. Please join us in congratulating Kaylee! The Flag House Scholar Award and Essay Contest Scholarship is generously sponsored by the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Maryland and Maryland State Society United States Daughters of 1812.

A bit about our winner:

Kaylee Kim is a senior at Mt. Hebron High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Tri- M, and Spanish Honor Society. She is also secretary of the National English Honor Society, and webmaster for the National Computer Science Honor Society and the Key Club. She participates in many clubs and activities, including Varsity Track and Field and Marching Unit. Kaylee enjoys giving back to her community, volunteering as a teacher aide, as a religious education aide and member of the Contemporary Ensemble for her church, and with programs like WEngineer, Codeucate, and TeCanal, that work to provide students STEM education. In her free time, Kaylee enjoys art and animation, music, and coding. She will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall, planning on majoring in Computer Science.

2021 Question:

“Living Through a Historic Moment”
Private letters, diaries, and personal artifacts are used by historians to learn about individuals’ experiences during a historically significant event. Have you been journaling, curating a collection of masks that match your aesthetic, creating online content, or otherwise documenting your life during the COVID-19 pandemic? Create your own primary source written artifact, like a journal entry, letter, or blog post detailing your experience of the pandemic. Include cited facts from news clips, newspapers, or scientific articles that could be used as a primary source for future historians. If you would like to include these as supplements to your essay, please upload them as a PDF file in the appropriate field below. We have provided an example of a primary source in the Flag House’s museum collection and resources for analyzing primary documents that you can access while crafting your response.

Kaylee’s Essay :

To my Quarantine,

My first mistake was wanting you. You were there to help me catch up on schoolwork, do you remember? A nice two-week break, where I could study for upcoming finals. But with barely a taste of freedom, how could that have been enough? So, you stretched yourself into the summer, math tests all but forgotten. I did new things instead. Embroidery, guitar playing, finally reading those untouched books. I decorated my room. I loved you.

But the break extended again and bled into the now. On late nights, I think you may love me more than I love you. I don’t embroider anymore. My guitar lays on my bedroom floor. At least the walls aren’t bare. Samantha texts me that once quarantine is over, we should go on a picnic. Last month it was a hike. The month before that, it was to the river. My hair has grown out. Experts say, “…certain precautions like masks might be our future until at least 2022.” (Joseph), and I hope experts are often wrong. For now, I stare at my reflection, back into eyes that have burned dry from online school and zoom classes.

I think I’ll miss you when you’re gone though, I almost already do. I’ll be forever lamenting lost time, as if only I had loved you harder, I could have spent it better. Yet, I fear my fondness has run dry, darling. “Reports: Georgia official who said spa shooting suspect had a ‘bad day’ appeared to promote racist COVID-19 shirt” (Delony). Sometimes I hate you. “In 2019, there were 49 documented cases of hate crimes with anti-Asian bias in those 16 cities, while in 2020 there were 122 such cases.” (Puckett). Sometimes you scare me. It seems you may never truly leave. You’ll linger as hatred, clinging like tar and bad memories, and I know I will be careful of others long after you are gone.

I miss Samantha. I think she’ll be surprised at how long my hairs gotten.

With Distance,

The Timekeeper