Community

Sequim students have an eye on Shiso

Sequim exchange students in Tokyo in 2012 include, from left, Ian Houghton, Kenneth Carr, Wendell Lorenzen, Michael McMurray, Will Duncan (in back), Danielle Arnold, Melissa Copeland and Kaylen Barber with sponsor Mary Miller.  - Photo courtesy of Anne Houghton
Sequim exchange students in Tokyo in 2012 include, from left, Ian Houghton, Kenneth Carr, Wendell Lorenzen, Michael McMurray, Will Duncan (in back), Danielle Arnold, Melissa Copeland and Kaylen Barber with sponsor Mary Miller.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Anne Houghton

In just two months, seven freshmen and sophomores from Sequim High School, along with chaperones, plan to travel to Sequim’s Sister City in Shiso, Japan, as ambassadors.

Students learn about and experience their Sister City’s culture while representing the community in the Sequim-Shiso Sister City Student Educational Exchange Program.

Facing rising airline ticket costs, students seek help from sponsors to close the gap and make the trip happen. Student ambassadors have worked for months to raise funds for their travel costs through a walk-a-thon, garage sales, raffle and part-time jobs. They seek business and individual sponsors to be a part of who they represent while in Japan; students and adults must raise at least $2,500 each to cover trip costs that are not covered by the city or school district.

This year, student ambassadors representing Sequim in Shiso City, Japan, in October include: ninth graders Christina Lewis and Kyle Robarts, and 10th graders Alison Cobb, Hailey Kapetan, Thomas McCulloch, Linda Rogers and Emilee Taylor. Sequim Mayor Candace Pratt and councilwoman Laura Dubois (former mayor) will travel with the students representing the City of Sequim to honor the Sister City relationship with Shiso founded in 1993.

Some background

Now in its 21st year, the Sequim-Shiso Sister City Student Educational Exchange Program grew from the Sister City relationship between the cities. An all-volunteer group of Sequim-Shiso Sister City Association members coordinate the program under the auspices of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce. The program is a short-term student exchange that promotes friendship and mutual understanding between students of Sequim and Shiso City and its residents.

Students from Shiso come to Sequim in September and stay in the homes of the Sequim student ambassadors. A month later, the student ambassadors travel to Shiso and stay with the families of the students who came to Sequim.

Other exchange purposes include teaching Sequim students about Japanese culture, history and language through first-hand experiences; broadening the student perspective of international relations; planning, preparing and participating in international travel; and sharing experiences with family, classmates, teachers and the community. During the 10-day trip, the Sequim delegation of students and adults spend four full days in Shiso and the rest of their cultural experience between Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Himeji, visiting historical and world-class heritage sites, temples, museums and centers — traveling by bullet train, bus and subway.

Upon their return from Japan, students share with individuals and groups who help sponsor them about their experience. They also plan to recognize their sponsors through other displays, media and public talks in the community before and after their trip.

Contributions to the Ambassador program via the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce are tax deductible.

How to help

Contact Sister City Association member Annette Hanson at 670-6774 or Jeri Smith at the chamber at 683-6197 for details; or mail a contribution to the chamber at P.O. Box 907, Sequim, WA 98382.

 

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