Stories from Students in the Japanese Program
The Japanese Immersion program was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Sadly, when I got to high school I had gotten involved in music I didn’t want to take Japanese any more. Luckily, I stuck with the program, and actually it was music that truly made me appreciate Japanese.
In March 2010 our band went on a trip to Hawaii. One day at dinner I got the opportunity to sit across from a high schooler from Tokyo. I turned and spoke to him in Japanese and he was very surprised.
Another time, still in Hawaii, I was at a grocery store and a man was taking to his son in Japanese. My mind automatically switched to the Japanese mode and when I reached in front of him to grab a drink, I mumbled “excuse me ” in Japanese. Right after I said it, I jumped inside thinking “Wow! Did I just speak in Japanese without realizing it?”
Not only has the Japanese program helped me , but it’s helped my family too. My dad’s a member of the Anchorage Airport Police and Fire. He’s picked up a bit of Japanese from my brothers and me, and sometimes at the airport it comes in handy when communication with distressed foreigners.
Next year I’ll be attending the University of Alaska , Fairbanks where I am going to major in music education and play my clarinet. To my surprise and delight, the clarinet professor up there is Japanese! I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Kailyn Davis , Class of 2010
My mom has always told my siblings and I that having been in the Immersion Program will be “a feather in you hat” I thought she was just saying that to convince me to stick with it, but then I started applying for college. I was able to say on my applications that I know another language and that I’ve been studying it for 13years. Because I was able to say that I was accepted in the college I’ve always wanted to go to. I know Japanese influenced my being accepted. Now I also believe what my mom says , and hope that others will also take advantage of the ability to be in such a wonderful program.
Tess Hoen Class of 2010
Being in the program helped me make good friends fast. I had the opportunity to go to Japan in 6th grade because of it. I would tell them to not give up even when it gets hard because it’s worth it in the end. I would tell them to do it. They will meet new people and enjoy the program.
Kayla Class of 2010
The immersion program is like a mountain. The farther you go, the harder it gets. I assure you, Seniorities is not a myth, it’s a curse that you are burdened with on your last year of high school. It’s like the thin air and you want to quit and stop , but if you reach the top, you’ll gaze upon the beautiful scenery which is the accomplishment of doing what only a few have done which is completing the immersion program. The climbers that reached the top with you will be like family from all the highs and lows you endured and couldn’t trade them for the world.
Teppei Kono class of 2010
To all 6th graders-DON”T QUIT! This program is so wonderful and is so fun if you just stick with it. It may be hard and different but you will be able to understand it with all the help the teachers give you and also how much they care about you. Also the ceremony at the end of it is so awesome you won’t want to miss it or not be a part of it. I know the speech might sound hard but it is actually pretty easy and is so fun to do. Just everything about this program is so wonderful you will regret quitting so just stay with it and I promise you will have tons of fun and will have so many wonderful memories to tell and gain and you will love it!!
Devin Masters class of 2010
I cannot even begin to explain how being in the Japanese immersion program has affected me. Besides the obvious reasons it has affected me like learning the language and the culture, there are also numerous other subtle ways I have been greatly impacted. Over the years the students in my class have become much more then friends and more like a family. When you go into middle school and High school, you might not have a class where there are others you get along with, but if you are in the Japanese Immersion Program you know that there is at least one class you can go to everyday with others you like to be around. The comfort level in the classroom is also amazing because everybody know each other so well that you can always be yourself and not worry about what others will think. For 6th graders that are thinking about quitting, I would like them to think about what they are really doing and also think about all of the memories they will miss out on as they drop out of the family. Although it may not always seem like learning that language is fun, I can assure you that when you actually use the language in Japan you will truly understand how cool and unique it is to know another language. The times may be hard and you may want to give up at times, but when you look back at it everything is worth it in the end.
Scott Higbee class of 2010