David Kim ’05: Helping Students Reach Their Full Potential

Photo courtesy of Gittings Photography

David Kim fully believes in the “teach a man to fish” proverb because SMUS is where he learned how to fish – metaphorically speaking.

The 2005 grad says he would not be where he is or who he is today if not for his transformative education at the school.

“How do we teach someone to fish and not just eat? I think the way to do that is to set young people up with opportunities,” he says.

Soon after beginning at SMUS in Grade 8, David says he noticed a shift in himself as a student.

David Kim, second from left, with fellow students during a 2005 photo shoot in the Crothall Centre.

“I wasn’t always the best student but I quickly came to realize that I was a pretty smart kid, I just never really applied myself all that well. SMUS helped me apply myself better as a student. And there were so many courses you could take, combined with the sports and everything else, that I was able to find my own way.”

Playing rugby had a large impact on his life, especially in terms of character development. He credits his coaches Jim de Goede in Middle School, along with Ian Hyde-Lay, Peter Tongue and Bruce Kuklinski at the Senior School for being the positive role models he needed.

“Rugby was a great outlet for me growing up and it really had an impact on how I grew up as a person and in developing my character,” he says. “The lessons that I learned from rugby, like ‘don’t take shortcuts,’ really stuck with me. A lot of what I learned on the rugby pitch was perfectly applicable later on in my life.”

Life After SMUS

After graduation, David attended the University of Toronto, studying life sciences before changing his focus to political science. One thing was clear from his first year though: SMUS had set him up to succeed in the university environment.

“Being able to go to a school like St. Michaels University School set me up for success in university. I saw a lot of undergrads struggle academically, and struggle with being independent and in a diverse environment but I felt like SMUS really prepared me.”

David joined the artillery unit of the Canadian Forces during his third year of university and continued his training in the years after graduation.

When David left the military in 2011, still not positive what he wanted to do, he began studying for the LSAT. He says seeing the impact the 2008 global financial crisis had on his friends and classmates deterred him from pursuing an MBA. “I saw so many good, talented people lose jobs and I wanted some security. I figured that being a member of a licensed profession would help with that.”

David took the LSAT and got into law school at York University’s Osgoode Hall.

“I went in focused on getting the best grades that I could get and applying myself to the fullest. I think the combination of my time at SMUS, my undergrad and having the military gave me the self-discipline and maturity to do well in law school,” he says.

David was called to the bar in 2014. He spent two years working in Toronto before moving to New York in 2017. He is now a Senior Associate with Latham & Watkins with the mergers and acquisitions, and private equity practice groups.

‘Teach a man to fish’

David, now 33, is one of hundreds of students who have benefited from financial assistance. He says that support was crucial in helping his family afford a SMUS education and put him on this path to success.

“Having that scholarship was essential to allowing me to finish my Senior School career at SMUS,” he says. “I think having access to the quality of education, academic and otherwise, that I received at SMUS played an enormous role in my success at law school, in the military and in my undergrad. Financial aid truly gave me the right foundation to go on to succeed at university and in the rest of my academic and professional careers.”

David says he’s now proud to be able to give back to the school and help support the next generation of students.

“Students who go to SMUS are all smart young people and I think one great way to benefit a society is to say, ‘How do we help even more smart young people take full advantage of their full potential even if they may not have the financial means to do so?'” he says. “A lot of success has to do with what opportunities you get at a young age and the education I received at SMUS had an impact on my life and who I am today.”

Every Student, Every Opportunity

Every day, students are encouraged to explore a vast range of opportunities available to them in academics, arts, athletics, outdoor education, leadership and service. We are a community that supports our students in every aspect of their SMUS journey.

During the month of May, all donations to financial aid and endowment funds (up to $100,000) will be matched by a generous donor. Please support Matching May to help students like David realize their potential today and for years to come.

Donate to the Annual Appeal online or contact Shara Campsall, Director of Major Gifts and Annual Fund, at [email protected] or 250-370-6197.

(David Kim photo courtesy of Gittings Photography)

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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