John Lee



By Nathan Lee

Photos by Cierra Holder

Red faced, veins bulging from his neck, and his thyroid about to burst, Coach Tate, for the fourth time that practice, warbled the poor boy’s name. “John Lee! I want you to sprint out to your soccer ball!” The Timberline senior would oblige, sprinting out to his ball, wearing a face of neither fear nor anxiety, but one of utter serenity.

“The funniest thing is that John’s face would never change, it was always one of ‘Ok I’m doing it. Cool,’ ” said Conner Pritchett, who played soccer with Lee this year at Timberline High School. “And at the end of the season when I asked him how soccer was, John just said that ‘It was good.’ He’s a chill guy.”

But Lee hasn’t always been so reserved. He’s learned to keep his cool after many years of moving all over the world with his family. Born the son of a Chief Warrant Officer, Lee has had to move periodically to and from places such as Texas, Germany and Korea.

Though his life seems so disrupted, neither the Army nor the moves have brought him any major grief. His most recent move from Korea to Washington in fact has prompted his greatest self transformation.

“It was overwhelming to finish the last two years of high school with people who are already in their friends, their squads,” Lee said, fidgeting slightly, but pressing on.

“But back in Korea, I did feel like I was trapped in a cycle. I’d already known [my friends] for a year so it’s kind of hard to back out and make your own choices. I didn’t really care about my grades so I did pretty poorly, mostly because my friends were influencing me to hang out all the time.”

Lee said he didn’t want to lose his friends by breaking out of the cycle. “I wanted to keep myself happy and have the whole idea that I had friends, I do stuff … I was just in the moment, didn’t think about my future.”

He said moving has helped him focus on school.

“It’s a good experience to just not get caught up in the whole social idea that you have to be popular.”

And so John Lee is content to run in tranquility, always focused on his path before him.