Kunming Chen; Modeling Peace in Mind and Body


2021 Student Peace Award Winner Kunming Chen

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Senior Kunming Chen is one of 25 recipients of a 2021 Student Peace Award of Fairfax County.  When he was nine, Kunming started studying kung fu in China as both a martial art and as a spiritual practice with the goal of inner peace and spiritual growth. As he advanced in his study of kung fu, Kunming left his home to live with and study the discipline under the guidance of martial arts masters in another part of China, and in his mid-teens, he moved to the United States. Now, Kunming uses his training and experience to spread peace through advocacy and teaching kung fu.

Kunming’s deep respect for life and belief in the value of diverse ideas is revealed through his daily interactions with both Mountain View High School staff and fellow students. His ESOL Teacher, Katie Munive, says, “Kunming immerses himself each day and displays an enthusiastic and robust outlook on life. He is filled with a joy that exudes through him in a way that others cannot help but absorb.”

In addition to his full-time studies at Mountain View, Kunming works as a kung fu instructor. Kunming says he has found that the study of kung fu requires a strong body and mind. He points out that this is consistent with his Buddhist beliefs which provide a solid foundation for intense exercise and meditation, and require time, patience, hard work, and practice. Kunming says he consistently strives for inner peace and a perfectly quiet mind. When he sees that one of his young students is struggling, he provides his charges with free tutoring and counseling. He says he emphasizes the beauty and stability of a quiet body and a calm spirit to support the child’s development of the disciplined exercise required for kung fu.

Kunming represents Mountain View High School in the district-wide Student Council Association. The Association includes student representation from each high school in Fairfax County Public Schools and works to cover complex issues involving the school environment, communication, and technology. Kunming uses his position to actively present a voice for ESOL students in the Fairfax County academic community. He says that his goal is to break both language and cultural barriers that impede student success. During meetings, Kunming says, “I try to listen intently and provide a voice to represent a necessary minority perspective. My respect for diverse ideas guides my participation and advocacy.

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