|Kakehashi Project Brings Two High School Students Closer|
Twenty students from the Kure National College of Technology (Kure Kogyo) in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, visited the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago on March 24 and deepened the friendship between the two schools. Whitney Young is well-known for being First Lady Michelle Obama’s alma mater.
Previously, the students of Whitney Young visited Kure Kogyo last July and had first-hand experiences in Japan through student exchanges, host families, and sight seeing. This time, Principal Joyce Kenner, Japanese teacher Yukiko Schrock, and other faculty members hosted a reception to welcome Kure Kogyo students. Deputy Consul of Japan Keiko Yanai and staff from the Chicago Public School Council participated in the reception.
The student exchange program is called “Kakehashi Project” and is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation, which was initiated to foster Japan-US friendship for the next generation. Kakehashi means a bridge in Japanese.
Principal Kenner, who visited Japan three years ago, greeted Kure Kogyo and said that the two schools were building a partnership, and the students would be able to visit each other on a yearly base.
Whitney Student Hilary Pham, who had won the first prize
in the second category at the 28th Japanese Language Speech Contest, made
a speech about “Kakehadhi’s Meaning”. She said that the project was an investment
for promoting deeper friendship and reinforcing bonds beyond the language
barrier. Alana Bourgeois also won the second prize in the speech contest.
On the other hand, the students from Kure Kogyo, who were
divided in four groups, made witty presentations to introduce Japan.
Masashi Maemoto, a student of Kure Kogyo, answered Shimpo’s
interview questions. He said that he applied for the project to know more
about the world after he had visited Dalian in China last summer through a
world discovery program.
Yuko Uesugi, Associate Professor, Ph.D. of Kure Kogyo commended
the students, who had practiced the presentations almost everyday. She said,
“They weren’t accustomed to making a presentation and speaking English, so
it was hard for them at the beginning. But they gradually improved presentations
with their creativities. I think that they realized both the difficulty and
importance of communication and wished to have better presentations.”
According to Seiji Kano, Associate Professor, Dr. Eng.,
Kure Kogyo had visited Roosevelt High School and community facilities in Seattle
for four days, and was going to visit Atlanta.