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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Over 7K Japanese students in the last 28 years

Some students of Japan’s Seisa High School pose for a group photo during Friday’s cultural day celebration at Marianas High School campus.  (Moneth G. Deposa) A simple tie-up guaranteed by a piece of document resulted in an unprecedented 28-year relationship between two schools and visits to the CNMI of more than 7,000 Japanese students.

Kuniko Sasaki, director of the Seisa High School, shared with Saipan Tribune that it was through a resolution passed by the CNMI Legislature 28 years ago that opened the gates for her institution to have its first trip to Saipan in 1986.

“It was a beautiful beginning, and we’re very thankful for the opportunity,” said Sasaki, as she shared memorable experiences accumulated through 28 years of annual visits to the CNMI

Sasaki said that, according to Seisha High School records, more than 7,000 students have experienced “island paradise” in the Commonwealth. She’s optimistic that more will be added to this growing list as Seisa High made the sister-school agreement with MHS a “forever commitment” with her institution.

“That will never change…because our partnership with MHS is more than a sister-school, but a real family. We want this commitment to last forever,” Sasaki said, while seated beside her counterpart, Marianas High School principal Cherlyn Cabrera, last Friday.

She pointed out that even her institution’s alumni have been coming back to Saipan because they were inspired by their high school experience.

Sasaki shared that the main goal of bringing her students to the island is to promote understanding and appreciation of each other’s differences and commonalities. She shared that his “cultural exchange” with MHS has proven effective in promoting “unity and peace.”

Friday marked the start of the annual cultural exchange between the two schools. This year has a total of 205 delegates. Among the highlights of Friday’s celebration at the MHS campus were the demonstration of both Japanese and local cultures, including games and dances.

“It’s a big day for us! Our students are always looking forward to this celebration. I see smiles on their faces and just seeing these students interacting with each other, that really for me is the highlight of this celebration,” said Cabrera.

Saipan Tribune learned that MHS last sent a group of students to Seisa High School three years ago. The school has decided to revive the tradition for its local students by next winter.

Cabrera herself participated in the Japan trip—both as a student and a teacher. She described the experience as both memorable and truly educational.

Like Sasaki, Cabrera reaffirmed MHS’ commitment to a lifetime partnership with Seisa High.

In two years time, Seisa is planning for a bigger delegation, to celebrate the 30th year since both schools started the cultural exchange program.

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