April 2, 2019 ~ Through a student foreign exchange program 18 high school students and two teachers from northwest Japan visited Kansas City in late March. Students toured the area for two weeks but spent a week visiting Olathe schools and speaking with Olathe students.
Dianne Daugherty, Japanese teacher at Olathe Northwest High School, worked with the group and held a reception on the morning of March 25, to welcome students. That day students shadowed Olathe Northwest students and gained firsthand experience of what American high schools are like.
Students toured Ridgeview Elementary School and learned what elementary school life is like in Kansas. The students from Japan taught kindergartners Japanese words and songs even performing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Ridgeview students were appreciative and returned the favor by singing the same song in both English and Spanish.
Lourdes Bass, Ridgeview Elementary kindergarten teacher, visited Japan last year as part of a cultural exchange. Japanese students were inquisitive when touring the Ridgeview computer lab as students in Japan often don’t work with computers until the middle or high school level, said Bass.
A panel question and answer session allowed for fourth- and fifth-grade students to ask the high schoolers questions about their country and their home life. Japanese students were thrilled to learn more from students as they returned questions.
The students from Japan were able to visit various places of interest and museums in Kansas City and places of note in Olathe such as the Mahaffie Farmstead.