Eight local teenagers were selected in June as the 2015-16 Morgan Hill Student Ambassadors for the Mizuho Student Exchange, where students will immerse themselves in the Japanese culture as they spend a week abroad.
The exchange program is run under the umbrella of the Morgan Hill Sister Cities and the Morgan Hill Community Foundation.
Applications went out to all Morgan Hill public and private schools in May, and interviews were conducted in June.
“These eight students were exceptional in their leadership and academic involvement,” said Cindy van Rhijn with the Mizuho Student Exchange. “Most have had multicultural travel experience or interest, school lessons on global geography and history, and school or club leadership experience.”
Students will begin their fundraising campaign for their upcoming trip to Mizuho, Japan next month and will continue through May 2016. They will be looking for sponsors and participating in fundraisers to help cover airfare, group transportation, the group hosting costs during their visit and a Morgan Hill Student Ambassador-sponsored event in Japan. Donations can be made at morganhillcf.org.
The eight teens will also participate in cultural, language and preparation classes to get ready to travel to Mizuho in July 2016. This helps their preparation in staying with their Japanese host family, and to participate in school or after-school activities while in Japan.
The students selected are Danielle Chaisson (Britton Middle School eighth-grader); Rachael Chaing-Perdue (Charter School of Morgan Hill seventh grader); Isabella Fiorentino (Martin Murphy Middle School seventh-grader); Claire Huang (Silicon Valley Flex Academy seventh grader); Kaitlyn LyleCharter School of Morgan Hill eighth grader); Alexa Mendoza (Martin Murphy Middle School eighth-grader); Aaron Osborne (Martin Murphy Middle School eighth-grader); and Kylie Sullivan (Martin Murphy Middle School seventh-grader).
“When hearing about the Mizuho Student Exchange, they wanted to integrate their interest and academics into a one-on-one personal connection with another student from Japan,” van Rhijn said. “It is exciting to see middle school students proactively seeking multicultural experiences to enhance their learning.”
Eight exchange students from Mizuho Middle School in Mizuho, Japan and three Board of Education administrators will be visiting Morgan Hill from Aug. 21 to 30. They will stay with the student ambassadors, while the adult chaperones will be hosted by Morgan Hill Sister City members.
Scott Forstner is a general assignment reporter who covers education and other community issues for the Morgan Hill Times. Reach him at (408) 963-0122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org