Aug 7

Japanese students from Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson’s towns in to visit U.S. as “envoys”

Thanks to Andy Anderson, father of Taylor Anderson, for forwarding this article from The Mainichi Daily News:

16 students from quake-hit prefectures to visit U.S. as ‘envoys’

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — A total of 16 junior and senior high school students from the three prefectures severely affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will visit the United States next month at the invitation of the U.S. government to serve as teen envoys delivering the voices of those affected by the disaster, according to prefectural officials and other sources.

Ten of the 16 were selected from junior high schools in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture and Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, where two Americans, Montgomery Dickson, 26, of Alaska and Taylor Anderson, 24, of Virginia, fell victim to the tsunami while serving as assistant language teachers, they said.

From Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a group of six senior high school students will join. The six boys and girls currently attend school as evacuees and include members of a baseball team.

A consul in charge of the three prefectures and other areas at the U.S. Consulate General in Sapporo said the program is intended to encourage Japanese youth and will be an opportunity for American students to learn about the disaster from them and understand why it is necessary to give support.

Under the plan, the 16 will stay in Pennsylvania and other locales for two weeks starting Aug. 10, with the United States covering travel and accommodation expenses.

Their itinerary includes practicing baseball and softball with American teens and meeting with Cal Ripken Jr., who played in a record 2,632 consecutive major league games.

Dickson was teaching until the day of the disaster, according to sources including the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations, which dispatches assistant language teachers under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Dickson was at the city’s education board when the tsunami struck and was swept away with its building, they said.

Anderson stayed with her elementary school pupils until their guardians came to pick them up before heading home on a bicycle, they said. It is believed she was struck by the tsunami on her way, they said.

The trip participants include five female junior high school students who were taught English by Anderson.

“This is an exchange project to honor the two who died while on their way to accomplish their goals, and we are grateful to the U.S. government,” said an official at the council. “We hope that the students will have exchanges with many people in the United States,” the official said.

(Mainichi Japan) July 12, 2011


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