Oak Ridge Welcomes Students from Japan

August 22, 2016

The Sister City Exchange program through Oak Ridge Schools is celebrating its 25th anniversary while welcoming the latest group of students from Naka Shi, Japan.

In July, ten students and four chaperones from Jefferson and Robertsville Middle Schools traveled to Naka where they learned all about Japanese culture. The students were able to spend time with other children their age, going to classes with them and visiting their homes.

The Naka students and their chaperones arrived in Oak Ridge on Thursday, August 18. The next day, they were part of a morning assembly for 7th and 8th grade students at Jefferson Middle School. The students put on a lively presentation for their classmates, complete with special performances and music. They also introduced the Japanese visitors and presented them with gifts.

A very busy Friday continued for the students with a visit to the Municipal Building in Oak Ridge. They got to meet and talk with Mayor Warren Gooch before participating in a mock city council meeting in the courtroom. Students took turns discussing and then voting on different issues, like school uniforms and cell phones in the classroom.

The day wrapped up with a special welcome ceremony in the auditorium at Jefferson Middle School. The Oak Ridge students each told the crowd their favorite part about going to Japan. Mayor Gooch presented each Japanese student with an honorary citizen certificate. Each chaperone from Naka received a key to the City.

As part of the presentation, City Councilman Rick Chinn Jr. also presented a check on behalf of the Naka Exchange Program for more than $9,700. The money will go to help with the Friendship Bell restoration.

Sister City Exchange students from Naka and their chaperones join Oak Ridge students,
parents and school staff for a group photo. (August 19, 2016)