Japan Culture Night in Dooley School
Parents Look for Japanese Classes in High School
• Thomas Dooley Elementary School in Schaumburg enjoyed “Japan Culture Night” on March 4. More than 300 students and adults experienced tea ceremony, origami, kimono dressing, sushi, shopping, shaved ice, omikoshi (portable shrine) carrying, silent auction, and many more. The students from Ritsumeikan Moriyama High School from Japan joined the night and introduced a unique exercise dance created by the school.
• Dooley started Japanese Dual Language programs more
than 10 years ago. In the dual language classes, students are taught by
using Japanese language all day and taught by English the next day. Japanese
and English are switched alternatively. The dual language programs continue
to the sixth grade.
• The programs have become popular; however, the students
are not able to continue Japanese language study when they graduate the
school. Although they can take Japanese classes at the Jane Addams Junior
High School, there is no Japanese class in high school. So Vollkommer
and other parents have asked the District 211 to open Japanese classes
in high school.
• Currently, high schools in the District offer Spanish,
German, and Chinese.
• This summer, Vollkommer and other parents will have
a chance to persuade the District. An online workshop of Japanese for
the sixth graders to eighth graders will be held during summer break,
and if many students registrate it, the District will consider opening
Japanese classes in high schools.
• From financial aid perspective, the Japan Foundation Los Angeles has offered a $30,000 grant for a Japanese teacher in California. Vollkommer said that the District might be seeking a possibility of the similar grant.
• Robi Vollkommer speaks fluent Japanese and writes Japanese
letters. She had a close friend of Japanese descent when she was a child.
Although her friend didn’t speak Japanese, her parents always spoke Japanese.
Vollkommer wondered what Japan looked like and thought that she would
go there someday.
• Regarding the School District 211’s concern about class
sustainability, Vollkommer said, “I think that Japanese classes are different
from Chinese ones because many Japanese people live around here and so
many Japanese companies locate here. There will be chances for students
to do internship in the companies.” Through her job, she often visits
and meets Japanese executives. She said, “I often hear from the executives
that they would appreciate it if American employees understand a little
more about Japanese culture and customs. If the students continue to study
Japanese, they would learn more about Japanese culture. The best thing
is that the students can work in Japanese companies in the future. Everybody
is in the win-win situation.”
Robi Vollkommer, chairwoman of the "Oyanokai"