Hakuoh students spend spirited day at Kamehameha Maui

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Photo by Dylan Godsey

Japanese students from Hakuoh Hashikaga High School do the macarena and enjoy a spirit rally at Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku, Feburary 16, 2011.

By Dylan Godsey, sports co-editor

PUKALANI-Amid the celebrations of Spring Spirit Week, with colors representing each class, a group of 44 Japanese co-ed high school students visited the Kamehameha Schools Maui high school campus today.

“This is the student’s first experience to go abroad. Maui is such a nice place and has many nice people that are very kind,” said Sensei Kuniyasu Usui, International Program Coordinator at Hakuoh University.

Under the direction of Sensei Jared Mateaki, students buddied up with one or more exchange students and showed them a day in the life of a KSM student.

This experience gives hands on cultural experience for both students as they struggled to interact with each other throughout the day without being proficient in each others’ language.

“It is a little weird and awkward because I don’t speak their language,” said Kristian Rosete, freshmen at KSM.

The Japanese student s also dine with the other students, having lunch at the high school’s dining hall.

“It is fun to have the Japanese students here because it is something different. I’m only in Japanese 1, but it is interesting to try to communicate with them,” freshman Tynell Ornellas said.

The Japanese students come to Maui to learn English through classes at the Maui Language Institute at University of Hawaiʻi, Maui College, and they practice their communication skills during their in-school integration program.

The students are from Hakuoh University, a school located two hours north of Tokyo that serves students from kindergarten to post-high school.

This is the fourth year in which KSM has opened their doors to the Japanese students. This year, they were thrown into a school spirit competition at the end of the day, the Champion of School Spirit rally, held at the Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku gymnasium.

At the end of the day, Hakuoh student Mai Ogino said, “This is my first time abroad. Everything is a new experience for me. I enjoyed the experience at the gymnasium, and everyone is very nice and kind to me.”