Welcome to Our Family!
By Gail Wright Lee (Mrs. H.K. Lee,
After School Program Administrator)
When you join us at H.K. Lee Tae Kwon Do, you are joining
a student body that is a wonderful community, a close family
of positive, caring people that enjoy helping each other grow.
Grandmaster Lee and I also feel very much that you are part
of our own family. You will probably soon notice that everyone
in both of our immediate families has worked at the school
at one time or another. This page is designed to help us get
to know each other better right away.
I do know Tae Kwon Do!
This is one of the first things I often get asked, hence the
picture at left. I love TKD very much. I practiced and taught
many years until a severe roller-blading accident left me
with a back injury that makes certain kicks very painful.
These days I study Tai Chi, swim and walk with my dogs to
stay in shape, but I still hope to get back to TKD class.
There’s nothing else like it!
Who is this lady I'm trusting with
and where did she come from?
I was born in Morgantown, West Virginia and grew up in Rochester,
NY. My first loves were books and music. As a result, I was
an inspired student throughout HS and college, and a National
I always hope to communicate my enthusiasm about reading,
school and learning to our After-School Martial Arts Program
kids. All children are naturally curious so teaching and learning
should stimulate, not stifle, this!
My first career goal was to be a classical musician. Therefore,
much of my youthful energy was spent in practicing clarinet,
singing, piano and, later, classical guitar. After HS, I worked
in public relations at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
while continuing my music studies at the Eastman and Hochstein
schools of music. This was also a great time of spiritual
growth in my life, when I first truly committed my life to
Christ. To this day, He remains the source of my strength
and the reason for my life.
During this time, I also discovered Tae Kwon Do. Joe Burress,
the pastor of my church in NY and a 2nd degree black belt,
taught a TKD class at the Y and convinced me to try it with
the promise it would improve my breath control for singing
solos. Not only did my breath control improve, but for the
first time in my life I learned to integrate my mind and body.
I discovered there was a hidden athlete inside of me! I became
more fit and confident than I could have imagined. More than
this, I found authentic Tae Kwon Do to be a true classical
art form. I loved the power and beauty of the kicks, and the
balletic grace of the forms. I was hooked!
In 1978, my parents and sisters moved here to Northern Virginia.
I decided to join them since I was in a transitional phase.
I was finally realizing that music was better as a passion
than as a profession for me. I took a much better-paying PR
job for a major corporation here, but after a year opted for
a more honest, interesting and creative job as a graphic artist
at a publishing company.
Anyway, six days after moving here, I found the ultimate TKD
school (H.K. Lee’s, of course!), walked in and unknowingly
signed my life away. Grandmaster Lee and I were married in
May of 1980 and had three kids in our first four years of
marriage. (more on them below).
Diversions and Directions
Besides Tae Kwon Do, I’m sure you and I will find something
in common because I’m interested in just about everything!
When it comes to books, my favorite subject is history because,
to me, history IS the study of everything—music, art,
literature, religion, philosophy, science, sociology, international
relations, etc. For the same reason, I’m also obsessed
with newspapers and current events.
I really love animals, especially horses and dogs (we have
three). I don’t have a horse (yet) but I have taken
riding lessons and once worked as a groom and trainer at a
breeding farm for harness racing horses. My first choice would
be a Lipizzan—the beautiful martial arts horse that
performs to classical music.
For fun, I still love singing best—choral groups, karaoke,
driving in my car—whatever. Beethoven and Schubert are
favorites, but try me, you might be surprised at what other
music I can’t resist! I enjoy watching Washington Redskins
football, science fiction (Star Wars, Star Trek
TNG) and BBC-type movies (like Pride and Prejudice,
or anything Shakespeare). But, I’m still just as likely
to be reading …something like The Chronicles of Narnia
or The Lord of the Rings again (over 20 times in 30
When I can work a little less, I hope to go back to school,
travel more, and learn how to make stained glass. What do
you like to do now, and what would you do if you had more
This is our oldest daughter April Myung-Hee Lee (4/22/81)
You will most often see April working with kids in the after
school program. She graduated from Wheaton College, IL (’04)
with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a HNGR (Human Needs
and Global Resources) Certificate for her six months of water
quality work in Ghana, West Africa. In HS, April attended
Flint Hill School in Oakton, where she played varsity Tennis
and Basketball. She also played flute and sang (and was a
soloist) in the choral arts program and was active in Model
UN’s. Her favorite hobbies are reading, writing poetry,
cooking, knitting and watching Division III Basketball. She
plans to continue her environmental education work here or
in a developing country.
is our son Nathaniel Jung-Chul Lee (11/22/82), You will most
often see Nathaniel as an instructor in our summer camps.
He graduated from Wheaton College, IL (‘04) with a double
major in Christian Formation & Ministry/Bible & Theology.
He is now back at Wheaton working on his Masters with a plan
to go on for a Ph.D. and enter the ministry. Nathaniel attended
The Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology where he
was the starting Quarterback, Defensive End and Co-Captain
of the football team. He was also on the TJ Varsity District
Champion Baseball team, President of the TJ Fellowship of
Christian Athletes chapter and played trumpet in the top band.
In college, he again started at DE for the undefeated Conference
Champion Wheaton Thunder Football team.
This is our youngest daughter Janelle Sung-Hee Lee (7/15/84).
You will most often see Janelle managing the front desk. Janelle
attended Herndon HS where her main claim to fame was as a
soloist all four years in the Broadway shows. Currently, she
uses her musical abilities to help lead worship at Reston
Bible Church, where our family has attended since before she
was born. Upon graduating from high school, Janelle was accepted
to her college of choice, Calvin College in Grand Rapids,
MI. However, being the family girl she is, she decided to
stay home to help us with the TKD School. Although Janelle
did not go away to school, she is currently taking classes
to make sure she does not fall behind in her educational aspirations.
Her intended major is International Relations. Last semester
she got some valuable experience by doing an internship on
Capitol Hill in Rep. Tom Davis' office. Janelle has been a
competitive figure skater and ice dancer since she was eight
years old. She has placed at many different competitions.
Although being a skating coach is always an option, her real
passion is working with children and someday having a family
of her own. Janelle also enjoys political debates, designing,
sewing, and, cooking for her friends and family.
The Wright and Lee Families
is a picture of me with my original nuclear family. I’m
sure you will see them around here. My parents and youngest
sister Linda (in middle) live at our house in an in-law suite.
Bert Wright graduated from WVU with a degree in engineering
but eventually became a financial analyst and head of financial
training for Xerox at the Leesburg training center. He has
since retired and often drives one of our vans for us. Elsa
Carman Wright was a fashion design artist who attended NYC's
famous HS of Music and Art (now LaGuardia Arts) and Traphagen
School of Fashion. Linda teaches English as a Second Language
at the university level and is a graduate student in linguistics
at George Mason University. Linda was our very first homework
room supervisor. Our middle sister Diane Cobb (bottom left)
is a professional art teacher in Colorado Springs. Many of
you know her from the popular art lessons she has taught in
our summer camp. Diane also drew the kicking figure in our
TKD school logo.
is a picture of my husband’s huge family at a reunion
at our house in 1994. There are eight children in the Lee
Family, seven sons and one daughter. They are from South Korea
where they were once wealthy landowners with tenant farmers.
Their father In Kyu Lee was also a state congressman and postmaster
who is remembered in their hometown for building the middle
and high schools. Their mother Yo Soon Sung is a homemaker
and very good mother and grandmother. The oldest son, Hyeon
Kwan Lee still lives in Korea to care for the graves of their
ancestors. Grandmaster H.K. Lee is the oldest of the six brothers
in the U.S. who are all TKD masters. At one time, they all
lived in our house and taught at H.K. Lee TKD in Herndon,
VA. Now the five younger brothers all have schools in North
K.S. Lee in Cary, Grandmaster
Jun Lee in Raleigh, Senior Master
Sang Ho Lee in Burlington, Senior Master
Byung Lee in Greenville and Master
Jung Ho Lee in Raleigh. Their sister Jung Soon Kim lives
in Manasses and works with her husband in their watch repair
and jewelry business.