As the TaeWoolSeokLimJae, our school festival, is approaching, The KAIST Herald decided to interview the leader of Encouraging Leaders of KAIST (ELKA), the school’s official cheerleading squad.
Please briefly introduce yourself and ELKA.
Hello, I am Do Hyun, a class of 2017 CS major and the 15th Leader of ELKA.
ELKA is the school’s cheerleading squad that officially started in 2006. ELKA promotes the “supporting culture” to KAIST students in events like the KAIST-POSTECH Science War so that every student can participate in supporting KAIST. We also perform in other school events.
What inspired you to join ELKA?
I first came across ELKA in the Freshman Cheering Competition, and it struck me with awe. The uniform and those who performed on stage were amazing. After the show, I contemplated on whether to join or not but I did because I was still left with the impact of the show, and also because of the idea that this would be the only time I will be able to be part of a cheerleading squad in my life.
What was the hardest moment when you were in ELKA, and how did you overcome it?
The hardest moment was when we were training during summer vacation when I was a freshman. Everything was new and the load was very demanding. But I was able to overcome it thanks to the support of my seniors and batchmates.
What is ELKA’s role in the TaeWoolSeokLimJae?
TaeWoolSeokLimJae is KAIST’s festival; thus as the cheerleading squad, it is our role to create an atmosphere in which everybody can enjoy themselves. We participate in the festival to remind the students of our cheering songs. In four months, there will be the KAIST-POSTECH science war and if we leave out the TaeWoolSeokLimJae, there is a significant period of time before students are exposed to our school’s cheering songs. Hence, in the festival, it is our role to create an atmosphere in which everybody can enjoy while reminding them of our school’s cheering culture.
How are the school cheering songs made?
We select a few members within the squad to create the songs. The melody is taken from a variety of sources such as pop, classic, and even songs we used previously. Then we compare them and choose a few candidates. We then discuss them with the band Twilight, the band that will play the songs when we’re onstage, and choose three final candidates. After taking the songs’ chords, we write appropriate lyrics and perform it on stage during TaeWoolSeokLimJae. If students appreciate it, we record the song and register it as our official cheering song. In the case of the choreography, we make it ourselves as well. Unlike the song, any non-freshman member can participate.
Would you take suggestions of songs from the students?
Yes, of course. We really appreciate the fact that the students take interest in us and the school cheering songs. If anyone gives us a suggestion, we would certainly consider it among our candidates and create a cheering song out of it.
As the official cheering squad of KAIST, what is the mission of ELKA?
The KAIST-POSTECH Science War isn’t hosted on a huge scale. Hence, generally the students don’t take a big interest in the cheering culture of KAIST. There are even some who have questions on whether KAIST actually needs a cheering squad. Thus, ELKA’s vision is to change such a perception and create one in which all students sing the cheering songs and support the school and enjoy it.
What would you like to say to students who are going to participate in the festival?
Unless you are a freshman, I am guessing most people have participated in it once or twice. Thus, I believe it is safe to say that this year’s festival is one of the biggest ones ever hosted, with a lot of famous celebrities too. So I wish to tell the students to take this time to enjoy the festival without the pressure of studying. Go to the bars and have a couple of drinks with friends, watch the celebrities’ performances, and take this time to relieve academic stress.
Lastly, by the time the paper is published, it is likely that it will be during the festival. What would be any words, as the leader of ELKA, that you wish to give to the members or to oneself at that time?
As for the freshman, I know that you’ve trained hard to prepare for your first stage. I really appreciate your effort that you have given in to this festival and I hope that you will enjoy your years to come in ELKA seeing that you will more chances to go on stage. I also want to remind that getting on stage is a privilege that you get for being in ELKA, so take pride, work hard and enjoy it.
As for our sophomores, I know that you have taken your time and effort to prepare for the stage; even when others don’t realize it. I cannot thank you enough. I hope you enjoy the rather short time we have left together and wish all the best for your years to come.