• terrible liar
• snorts when she laughs
• uses sticky notes for everything
• rarely uses pencils
• light sleeper and morning person
Born and raised in Michigan, Kimiko grew up a reasonably happy child. Her mother died in child birth so it was up to her Dad to take care of the girl. He worked as a doctor and chose the graveyard shifts at the hospital, so he could be home in the afternoons and evenings with Kimiko. He tried to handle most of the adult chores so the girl didn’t have to and could instead enjoy being a kid. Kimiko was the center of her dad’s world, and as such, Kimiko became a little Daddy’s girl. Though many of her wants weren’t extravagant and her father would often bargain with her and traded chores for spending cash or new toys and clothes, Kimiko was spoiled, no doubt.
In her childhood, there was no doubt that Kimiko had it pretty good. While she was remarkably average in everything she did from academics, track, music, popularity and so on, Kimiko was happy and that’s everything her father wanted for her. But without warning, the lovely rosy gloss of childhood was wiped away from Kimiko when her father was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He fought his way to live a year since the diagnosis, but it was an arduous year filled with chemo, countless tests and pain. During that year, the girl put everything aside to make sure she was spending as much time with her Dad as possible and caring for him.
In Kimiko’s sophomore year of high school, her father passed. Her grandmother who lived in California at the time, decided she would come and live with Kimiko and care for her until she went off to college. Though her Grandmother did the best she could to take care of her, the girl’s world had basically fallen apart. She quickly fell behind in everything she was average at and lost many of her friends by pushing them away when they tried to offer help. When she did go, she started to get bullied and teased for being orphaned and for her poor performances in just about everything.
It wasn’t until senior year however, that things started to take a turn for the better. Her math teacher took note of the girl’s attitude towards school and decided to reach out to her. At first, Kimiko was hesitant to open up. She didn’t see any point in letting anyone into her life or sharing a problem that nobody could fix. But with enough persistence, and time spent in mandatory tutoring sessions because of her crappy grades, Kimiko started to open her mouth and her heart. At first it was just a little crack, but soon enough the floodgates were opened. The teacher was patient and kind with the girl. She would reassure her when she felt insecure and helped her get her grades up by tutoring her after school. By late February, Kimiko finally started to feel as if she was starting to get a handle on the whole school thing once more.
But of course, by February of senior year of high school, everyone is applying or already applied to colleges, which Kimiko admittedly hadn’t even begun thinking about. Her teacher put it into her head, telling her to fill out the common app and go to college, but she didn’t really help her out with what to do in terms of major and college. Because she was so unsure, Kimiko would often brush off the topic whenever her teacher brought it up, and move on. Sure, she would go, but where? For what?
At first the girl thought she could go for medicine. Her father helped her learn and instill a love of physiology on her from an early age. If Kimiko became a doctor, maybe she could be like her father, the one person she loved and looked up to most. Maybe she would even make him proud that she carried on that legacy. Kimiko excitedly brought the idea to her teacher who encouraged her to do a job shadow and see what the life of a doctor was like. She fainted in the first hour. A patient came in, bleeding and clearly in pain which caused Kimiko to go white as a ghost and drop to the floor.
Down the toilet bowl that aspiration went, and it did nothing but tear the girl apart. She agonized about it over dinner with her Grandmother one night, who suggested that perhaps the girl try to pursue education. Kimiko would never forget what her grandmother told her, “Being a doctor may not be for you, and your GPA isn’t going to look great for a pre-med track anyways, but I think I know why you want to become one… You want to help people, right Kimi? I’ve seen the way your math teacher has helped you and I think you could turn around and do just the same. You shouldn’t worry about following in your dad’s footsteps or having a lucrative career for that matter, your dad would want you to be happy and successful no matter what you choose to do.”
A few weeks later after considering her grandmother’s words, she finally brought up the idea to her teacher who was nothing short of delighted. But the deadlines for applications were fast approaching so the two scrambled to fill out applications, write and revise essays and personal statements, write letters of recommendation and get the apps submitted before the quickly approaching deadlines. At first, the girl was denied because of her below average test scores and GPA. But a few colleges ended up accepting the girl, inspired by her personal statements and the incredible letters of rec sent in along with those two numbers.
Ultimately, the girl decided to go to University of California, Los Angeles because of their exceptional education program and so she would still be near her Grandmother since she would move back home to California after Kimiko graduated high school. In college, she struggled a lot. She found it extremely difficult to balance life, a part time job to pay for tuition, making and keeping up with the few friends she ended up making and volunteering to get contact hours for her program. But with all the support form her grandmother and the teacher she kept in contact with, she was able to make it through to earn a BS in science education with a specialty in physiology.
Shortly after graduating, Kimiko was hired are Ridgeview High as the anatomy and health teacher. The girl quickly earned the reputation as one of the strictest teachers at the school, but not without being successful. Many of her students scored the highly on standardized tests. Although she may not overtly show it, she cares deeply for her students and would do anything to see them successful, but she also wants them to show her that they want to achieve greatness just as well. Every day Kimiko teaches with the hope that she is making her father, grandmother and high school math teacher proud.