2011 Hawaii Support for Sendai
April 25th~July 8th
I-Lion Hawaii School opened in October, 2010. Most recently, girls attending their 2nd year at Sendai Ikuei Gakuen’s Foreign Language course were sent to I-Lion Hawaii for a 2 and a half month English Immersion experience. While living with and being hosted by local Hawaiian families, the girls studied ESL, Social Studies（regional）, and Sports and Activities. This time, the program was conducted over two and a half months from April 25th to August 7th.
The reason for the long stay has a reason. Many students were directly or indirectly affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. The idea of a long stay was to help them heal their hearts. Thanks to the generosity of Principal Earl Okawa of the I-Lion Hawaii School the Japan/America Cultural Exchange Association, 2nd generation Japanese Hawaiians and members of various American Companies, volunteer free home stays were sourced for all the girls for their full period of stay.
During their stay, students studied ESL and English Conversation in the mornings. In the afternoon they had numerous field trips and excursions about the town, learned Hawaiian history, and were able to experience firsthand the splendid nature of Honolulu.
In June、they participated in the parade during the ‘Matsuri in Hawaii’ festival. As they walked by, onlookers shouted “Sendai Ganbare! Ikuei Ganbare!” which means `Fight on Sendai and Ikuei`. The energy and warm cheers received from the crowd gave the girls a strong ense of accomplishment.
Additionally, there was the Island-style meeting. When they visited the Japanese Consulate, they were given the rare and propitious opportunity to meet and hear stories from astronaut Koichi Wakata. He told of his various missions and first-hand experiences on the space shuttle. The students were also invited to visit former Sumo Champion Mr. Konishiki’s home. He sang for them while they performed the hula dances they had learned at school for him. For these 11th grade girls it was like a ‘Dream Collaboration’! After meeting and speaking with Mr. Konishiki, the students exclaimed that they better understood meaning and importance of holding onto and pursuing ones dreams.
After returning home, the girls wrote essays about their experiences. Many of the essay themes included Pearl Harbor, Hula, Pidgin English, and 2nd generation Japanese. The girls displayed a strong appreciation for their 2 and a half month experience abroad. From their essays it is clear that their horizons and thinking had broadened, and their hearts forever touched.