Over 100 students from Grace Christian Academy and Japan's Yokosuka Gakuin High School marked another memorable experience with a celebration of their long years of friendship.
GCA welcomed yesterday 77 visiting high school students who spent their whole day on campus enjoying fun-filled activities with their counterparts.
GCA principal Marsha Owens described yesterday's cultural exchange as another milestone for the program, which is on its seventh year now.
Led by teacher Kato Masaki, the visiting group was welcomed by the host-students with the islands' hafa adai dance. Cooking lessons on some local staples were shared with the Japanese visitors, who also got a chance for some indoor sports with their GCA “buddies.”
According to Owens, the cultural exchange's objective is to build and strengthen the friendship among and between the students. It is her hope that each and every participant learns something from their counterparts that will promote better understanding and appreciation of each other's culture and traditions.
The Japanese students also attended some classes with GCA students such as Math, Bible class, and English.
For GCA senior student Angela Mamaril, the exchange program is key to building connections. In her third year participating in the program, she has nothing but praises for the benefits it has brought her as a student and as an individual.
Like every visit in the past, Mamaril said she offered the visiting students a souvenir item that will always remind them about the island. Yesterday, she gave her counterparts Saipan's special “bojobo dolls.”
Mamaril said the exchange is more than knowing each other's culture but also a good opportunity to promote the islands as a tourist destination.
Terence Ho, a senior student at GCA, shared how he enjoyed the interactions he had with the visitors.
Ho and Mamaril joined other students in performing a Japanese song for their visitors yesterday.
During the closing ceremonies, one of the visiting Japanese students-Otsujio Sae-shared with the crowd the school's appreciation to their “GCA Family” for being so hospitable since the start.