Sister school visits Lincoln Southwest

By: Ashley Harding

Lincoln Southwest High School has some very special visitors this week. They've made the journey all the way from Japan, and they're here to learn more about American schools and how to open up future correspondence.

The two people visiting are actually officials from the school in Japan. What makes this story really special is that this morning, an assembly was held declaring both schools as “sister schools.”

Yumi Matsugaki and Hitoshi Tokuyama have traveled a very long way to see Lincoln Southwest High School for themselves. They're from the Senshu University Matsudo High School in Japan, and for the last five years the students and staff from both schools have been in contact through a pen pal and foreign exchange program.

It's all through Southwest's Japanese Language Department, and now, they're officially sister schools, meaning they're working together to learn more about both cultures. The goal is to broaden new horizons.

“I'm anticipating that next year, they'll probably be much greater interest now that they students know we're sister schools,” said Jeremy Smith, Japanese Teacher.

Tokuyama and Matsugaki were given a tour of the school, meeting with classes and students, answering questions and seeing how differently schools operate in the United States. For example, the two were intrigued by how classes at Southwest are discussion-based. They say in Japan, classes are more lecture-oriented. “Japanese people are very shy. You know, but Japan should learn,” said Matsugaki.

If things continue to go well, there'll be plenty more opportunities for learning about both cultures and planning future endeavors. “We can do more of a teach exchanging and more departments can get involved in it. Eventually, maybe exchange some teachers.”

In the meantime, everyone says it's been a great experience.