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Hanamaki, Japan Delegation Visit


Mrs. Mary Zunick, Hot Springs Sister City Program Director, brought the Hanamaki student delegation to visit Jessieville Middle School and High School on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.  
The Hot Springs-Hanamaki Sister City program has been going on since January 1993, and since that time several Jessieville students and staff had had the incredible opportunity of sharing cultures with students from Japan.  
This relationship continued to grow as Jessieville Middle and High School students, along with MS Counselor, Mrs. Terah Pricop,and HS Counseling Assistant, Mrs. Christine Benson, took the delegation on a tour of the school district campus, shared a lunch with them in the cafeteria, and brought them into the students' classrooms.  
The Hanamaki delegation, represented by Mr. Tsukasa Sugawara(Hanamaki Higashi High School, Mr. Hideki Endo(Yumoto Junior High School), Saori Endo(17), Rinka Yamada(16), Ryunosuke Yokota(130, Ayano Nakamura(14), Saya Kikuchi(14), Shuka Numata(13), Huzuki Ota(14), and Kosuke Takahashi(13), presented Jessieville School District superintendent, Mrs. Melissa Speers, with some small gifts of oragami, weaving, and fans. The students presented their peers with gifts from the Lion Pride as well. Gift giving in Japan is a tradition for social occasions and out of respect and courtesy.  Our students learned that it is the act of giving, rather than the gift itself, that is important. It is the thoughfulness and presentation of a gift that makes it so special and valuable.  
Our students utilized the interpreter that joined the Hanamaki group, but most smiles, giggles, and laughs came out as the students  (and adults) began communicating through Google Translator.  
Overall, the Hanamaki delegation was with us for only a couple of hours, but that was more than enough to build new friendships and kindle the idea of being a part of the exchange program in the future.  The delegation will remain in Hot Springs, visiting several other school districts over the next few days, before returning home.
Thank you to everyone involved in welcoming our new friends.