About mid-December of last year, one of our senior students at Alliance Academy International (AAI) was stopped by local police in Quito. It is uncertain why they decided to pick on this particular Korean student on that day. However, we know that they decided to take Kay Jang down to the police station. That was when she was told the news that the visa that she and her parents were using had been invalid for several years. We were told that they had originally obtained visas to live in Ecuador about five years ago.
It is a mystery as to why it took the government this long to figure out that the visas had been processed incorrectly, unless you take into account the amount of corruption and legal loopholes present in this country.
Kay and her parents were forced to leave the country “immediately.” They left the country during Christmas vacation. Her father returned to South Korea, but Kay and her mother were allowed to return to Ecuador under a temporary visa to take care of their home and all the belongings that they had been forced to leave so abruptly. During that time, Kay was allowed to continue to attend the Alliance Academy International and finish her first semester of her senior year. In the meanwhile, different people at AAI were working feverishly to get the visa situation worked out so that Kay would be able to finish her senior year and graduate with her class.
However, it became apparent that it would not be possible for her to stay in Ecuador past mid-February. In light of that situation, Stephen and other administrators and the school worked out a way for Kay to graduate early with a general education diploma. She would also be able to obtain her college prep diploma by completing two more classes through correspondence with her teachers and receive that diploma at the end of the school year.
Kay and her mother purchased plane tickets back to South Korea for Tuesday, February 16, and the school scheduled a special graduation for her on Wednesday, February 10. The afternoon classes were shortened to allow for a special graduation ceremony for all of high school (9th through 12th grade) to attend.
Kay gave a special senior address that was a testimony to God’s grace in her life. She expressed her struggle to understand why God would let this happen to her, but she wanted her fellow classmates to know that she saw God working through the situation and she knew was teaching her through the process. There were many tears as she finished speaking and as each senior came to the front of the stage to hand her a rose and give her a hug.
Kay expressed her faith in God’s timing, realizing it was not her timing. Then, God worked a miracle. Two days after this special day of closure, Kay and her mother met with someone who had connections with immigration. One small meeting was all it took for Kay and her mother to get special “student” visas that would allow Kay to stay in Ecuador until this coming summer.
Now they are faced with a dilemma. They have already purchased tickets to return to South Korea and Kay has officially graduated from AAI. Do they really have a reason to stay any longer? For Kay, it would be a bit awkward and embarrassing to return to school after so much has been done to help her graduate early.
Kay has left the “stage” of her high school life, but now she can return to it and say “Wait, there is still one more act!” It will be interesting to find out if she decides to do that or not.