Japanese Exchange Students Visit School District, Forging Bonds and Making Memories

November 2017

Seven students from Miyazu High School in Japan visited two School District of Palm Beach County schools during a seven-day trip to South Florida as part of the City of Delray Beach’s Sister City program.

The high school is located in the city of Miyazu, a sister city of Delray Beach, and the birthplace of George Morikami, for whom Morikami Park Elementary and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is named.

The students were accompanied by their teacher as well as a chaperone/interpreter who guided them through a tour of the Morikami Museum on the weekend of their visit, and their subsequent visits to Atlantic High School and Plumosa School of the Arts during the school week.

The students sat in on a second-grade dual-language class at Plumosa, learning some words of English and Spanish, as they shared some words in Japanese.

“We are having so much fun and enjoying this experience very much,” said Miyazu student Misa Monkawa, through an interpreter.

In another second-grade class, the Japanese students teamed up with a “reading buddy” as the class went through their regular reading exercises. Afterwards, the Plumosa children got a crash course in origami, the art of paper folding. The Plumosa students were each left with their very own star-shaped origami design.

“I’ve never done origami before, so this was really nice,” said Pearce Boylan, one of the Plumosa second-graders.

In June 2018, seven School District students will make the journey to Japan. Those students were chosen after a comprehensive application process involving an essay submission and two rounds of interviews with the students and their parents.

The exchange program is open to any student who lives in Delray Beach or attends high school in the city. Ninth and 10th graders at the time of application are given preference, as there is a two year commitment to the program.

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