Baruch College Campus High School and
Hyogo Prefectural Itami High School
Develop an International Partnership
A delegation of 15 students from Hyogo Prefectural Itami High School led by its principal, Ms. Hisako Akita, visited New York from December 13th to December 17th, 2012, in the first step of an exchange program between Baruch College Campus High School and Hyogo Prefectural Itami High School.
During the Japanese students' New York visit, representatives of both schools learned much from each other through educational and cultural exchanges, with the Itami High School delegation enjoying stays at the homes of Baruch College High School teachers and students. The Itami High School delegation participated in Baruch College High School classes, toured Manhattan and organized a "Friendship Dinner" for Baruch College High School representatives.
Even before the official commencement of the exchange program, both schools had begun communicating and started to develop a warm and strong "Kizuna," or "bond." In the process of establishing the mutual exchange program through negotiations and coordinating between schools, Itami High School students presented a video message to cheer those at Baruch College High School when they suffered from Hurricane Sandy at the end of last October. The New York City high school had to close for an entire week due to a prolonged blackout in the area, and its students and their families also suffered effects from the hurricane.
As the next step in the exchange program between the two schools, students from Baruch College High School are planning to visit Itami High School in July. Both schools are eager to further the exchanges by signing a sister school agreement with the goal of creating more extensive programs that would enable the sharing of academic curriculums and teaching materials with each other.
The Consulate General of Japan in New York sincerely hopes that this exchange between the high school students of Japan and the U.S. - for which both Baruch College High School and Itami High School showed great enthusiasm - will continue to develop and deepen friendships amongst them. Additionally, the Japanese Consulate looks forward to the students continuing to fuel their interests in their host country even as adults, leading to a furthering of friendly relations between Japan and the U.S.
The idea for this mutual exchange program was sparked by Principal Alicia Perez-Katz of Baruch College High School, who expressed her interest in starting an exchange program with a Japanese high school upon the Consulate's Japan Information Center's visit to her school in May of 2011. The Consulate had visited to introduce students to a variety of the Japan Information Center's programs aimed at promoting the teaching of Japan-related academics such as social studies, art and other subjects, as well as extracurricular club activities. Hyogo Prefecture's governmental offices kindly assisted in the search for an appropriate Japanese school to participate in the exchange program by matching the American school with Itami High School. Upon receiving the request from Baruch College High School, Principal Akita of Itami High School enthusiastically committed to partnering with them.
Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul General of Japan in New York, welcomed this visit by school delegation members consisting of administration staff, teachers and students from both schools. The launch of this exchange program between Itami High School and Baruch College High School was celebrated at the ambassador's office on December 13th, 2012, the very first day after the Japanese students' arrival in New York.