WHS Class of 2023: Ella Kim and Her Extraordinary Light


Weston High School will graduate the amazing Class of 2023 on Friday, June 2 at 5 pm on the Town Green. This class weathered a pandemic that cut short freshman year, entered the sophomore year in hybrid learning then moved to in-person masked learning, and began their junior year with masks and COVID testing. They gave up study-abroad opportunities, cut short or changed athletic seasons, and had harsh restrictions on theatrical and musical efforts. And yet, here they are–a strong and wonderful class of 155* students, many of whom the Owl knows personally. In this last month before graduation, the Owl will highlight as many as she can. Meet the WHS Class of 2023.


If you have attended or watched on video any of the Weston High School orchestra concerts, an introduction of Ella Kim is completely unnecessary. She is “that one.” The one about whom two readers approached the Owl and said “you must interview her”, the one whose Pops concert solo was breathtaking and misty-eye-inducing. I do not know Ella personally except as the older sister of an Owlet classmate (yes, again!) but I certainly will go out of my way to get to any performances by this incredible young woman.

When the Owl mentioned to Chris Memoli, Weston Public Schools Music Director, that Ella’s Pops performance gave her the chills, Chris immediately chimed in “me too!! I’ve been teaching for 31 years and she’s just level up.”

He continued: “Ella is the most talented–no, I hate that word as it doesn’t convey how hard she works–most accomplished musician to have come through this building in my time here, and I’ve been here in Weston for 25 years. She’s brilliant–but what sets her apart to me is she is also one of the nicest humans I have ever met. She’s warm with the younger students, she’s a leader and genuinely cares about her community. Ella functions on a whole different level — she’s just a phenomenal musician and person.”

“I also have to note that her family is wonderful–her mom also graduated from Weston (go ‘cats), and was also a concert mistress of All-States (like Ella). The family is very involved and are always the first to help out when a request for help or volunteers go out.”


And here is Ella in her own words:

Owl: Are you a long-time Weston resident? Were you always in Weston public schools? Country or Woodland if so…

Ella: I’ve been going to Weston public schools since kindergarten and, after loving it, have continued to ever since! I went to Country School for elementary school. 

Who have been your favorite teachers or your favorite subjects?

I feel so lucky to have had so many amazing teachers throughout my time in Weston. Mr. Memoli and the entire music department have been wonderful: they inspire me to continue playing not only to make music, but to make a lifelong impact on others. My favorite subjects have always been science, and I’ve had a really great time in AP Biology this year with Dr. Ribisi. His enthusiasm for science is super encouraging and contagious, and coming out of the pandemic, it’s been amazing to experience hands-on labs in everything from modeling new species to forensic microbiology. 

Do you know what you’ll be doing after HS graduation? Where are you going to college and do you have a plan of study yet?

I will be attending Harvard College in the fall and (currently!) plan on studying molecular and cellular biology. 

At the Pops concert with Mr. Memoli

When did you start playing violin? Do you play other instruments as well? 

I started playing violin when I was 5. My mom and grandma also play instruments, so I heard them play a lot growing up — I picked up the violin because I wanted to be just like them! I do not play any other instruments but am thinking about trying out for some choral/acapella groups next year. 

What is your favorite piece of music or composer to play?

My favorite composer is definitely Camille Saint-Saens. He composed during music’s Romantic era, so his works are very passionate and dramatic which make them really fun to perform. My favorite piece by him is Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.  [Ed. You can listen to Ella Kim play her favorite music in this Weston Media Center video from the recent Pops concert, starting at 38:48].


How many hours of practice do you have a day/week? 

I currently play in the WHS chamber orchestra as well as in the Boston Youth Symphony, a New England-based youth orchestra. Chamber orchestra rehearses 2-3 times during the school week for about an hour each, and BYS rehearses every Sunday for 6 hours. I also try to practice individually every day after school… so needless to say, a lot of my free time is dedicated to playing music. While practicing is not always easy, once I start it’s easy to lose track of time — it never feels like a chore to do something I love. 

When you’re not playing music and not in school, what do you like to do?

I love spending time with friends and family, playing tennis, trying new dessert recipes, listening to music (especially beabadoobee, Japanese Breakfast, and Taylor Swift), teaching my dog tricks, doing crossword puzzles, and being outdoors. 


Any ideas on long-range plans? 

I’m interested in studying on a pre-med track and possibly going into the medical field, but I want to explore as much as I can in college! I definitely want to keep playing violin regardless of what career I pursue — whether that be in local orchestras, chamber groups, or just as a hobby, I know music will always be a part of my life. 

What would you advise an incoming freshman to Weston High School?

Don’t be afraid to try new things, even those that feel outside your comfort zone! WHS has so many sports, clubs, and activities, and it’s a great way to get involved in the school community as well as make the best memories and friends. Most importantly though, enjoy every moment — time flies. 


This Owl is off to listen again to some Capriccioso music. There is no better way to start a day. Wishing Ella the very best for her next chapter!

Go ‘cats!

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