Japanese school visits SHES at Kadena

by Brynn Buelow, 5th grade student
Stearley Heights ES
Recently, Kitanaka Elementary, a Japanese school, came to Stearley Heights Elementary School (SHES). This is the second consecutive year that we have had this cultural exchange.  Earlier this year, we first visited their school where we created origami, toured the school, and ate a Japanese lunch, served by students. Only 4th and 5th grade students participate in this yearly event. This is a great opportunity for both cultures to come together to experience and learn about each other.
 
We started our day with an opening ceremony outside, where we teamed up with a friend, so that we could be buddies throughout the day.  Traditionally, we have a Thanksgiving Feast when they come, so they can enjoy American cuisine. Throughout the day, we did crafts and engaged in weaving place mats. We then laminated them and sent them back so students could take them home. We all had a stupendous time and we always look forward to doing it again next year.
 
At the end of the day, we presented each Japanese student with a gift bag of goodies. Mrs. Peden’s husband crafted a small wooden ornament with our dolphin emblem, so that students could remember the cultural experience. He crafted about 140 ornaments! We ended the day with a closing ceremony and then watched our friends drive away.
 
My Japanese partner Rikki said that he really enjoyed the ENORMOUS lunch. Rue was a girl with very good English, who said she had a wonderful time the whole visit. Our very own fourth grade student, Luis asked his partner what he thought about today’s visit. Syuto said, “I liked the activities and they were fun. It is a very nice school.” This is a spectacular happening and each one of us students is elated for next year’s visit.
 

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