On Friday July 27, 14 Haddonfield students and two chaperones boarded a school bus for the trip to John F. Kennedy airport in New York City, where they had a direct flight to Kasukabe, Japan.
Beginning in January when applications were submitted to the HJE Committee, the selection process started and was narrowed down to 14 from more than 20 plus applicants of Haddonfield’s best students. Following their selection, classes were held every two weeks to prepare these adventuresome students with Japanese customs and culture as well as some basic Japanese expressions.
The preparations were finalized with a luncheon at the Fuji Restaurant in Haddonfield where chef owner Matt Ito provided a varied and typical Japanese lunch for the students. A few days before the departure date a Sayonara party was held at the Mroz family home. This gathering provided an opportunity for parents and students to mingle and share expectations.
From first reports from Japan, the students are enjoying time with their host families. Many of who are families of students that have attended the exchange trip to Haddonfield in the summer of 2010.
Their first weekend was spent shopping, touring, bowling, indulging in sushi, and making new friends. During their 12-day visit the students will be attending Kasukabe High School, Haddonfield’s sister school, where they will be learning calligraphy, speaking Japanese and learning other aspects of the culture. In addition, they will travel to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji and other cities nearby.
“The opportunity to learn first-hand about a culture that is much different, but also similar in some ways, is an experience that promises to mature and broaden the outlook on the world for our students,” said returning program director Bill Brown.
With the continued support of families, schools and community members, HJE hopes to carry on this cultural exchange tradition for years to come.