TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework Theme Event in Kyushu Region: Heading to the Future of 2030 ~From Junior High School to the World~
On December 16, 2020, the Kyushu region held its 2020 TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework Theme Event at Iizuka Municipal Kobukuro Junior High School in Iizuka City, Fukuoka. The goal of the event was to establish language learning for around 70 junior high school students in their second year and create a classroom open to society and the world. The event was jointly hosted by the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, and organized by Haruka Kurosawa, Regional Leader, and Taito Kameishi, Regional Mentor.
At the opening ceremony, Masakazu Takei, Chairman of the Iizuka City Board of Education, gave welcome remarks. Video messages were then delivered from John C. Taylor, Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, and Tae Okamoto from Educa & Quest Inc., which provides educational materials to the school, to encourage the students about to make presentations in English. In addition, Yuki Kondo-Shah, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, who gave a lecture at the same school in August 2020, joined the students remotely.
The students broke up into 12 teams consisted of five to six members to present their action plans in English under the theme of “What we, as junior high schoolers, can do to achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030.”
TOMODACHI alumni Shinya Watanabe, Toshinobu Sasazu, Momoko Tajima and Reika Mihara joined each team as mentors to support the students. Satomi Higashijima, a senior at the School of Education, Kyushu University, and Masami Tanaka and Souma Furukawa from Teach For Japan also joined as mentors and supported the students through online mentoring over zoom for six weeks.
At the closing ceremony, Morikazu Furuno, Principal of Iizuka Municipal Kobukuro Junior High School, Junpei Shinomiya, Editorial Committee Member, The Nishinippon Shimbun Co., Ltd., and Haruka Noyori, Overseas Sales Department, OK Food Industry Co., Ltd., served as judges and gave comments, as did Masakazu Takei, Chairman of the Iizuka City Board of Education.
The students commented, “I want to have more opportunities to communicate in English and for my final goal, I want to learn many things in the future;” “I was glad that our presentation was cheered and seen by many great guests;” and “Through this event, I found that my English was not good enough and have a strong wish to be able to speak in English more fluently. I also recognized the importance of working with other group members and the importance of time management.”
The winning team will be invited to the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka to give presentations in English in front of the Principal Officer in spring 2021.
Haruka Kurosawa, a teacher at the Iizuka Municipal Kobukuro Junior High School as a Teach For Japan fellow, will continue serving as the TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Leader of the Kyushu region in 2021. Reflecting back on the previous year, he expressed his hope for the coming year, saying, “I would like to thank everyone who gave the students the opportunity to experience this change in their lives. The power of TOMODACHI is the alumni I can meet with even outside my region. I want to keep inspiring my students by being giving back to those who have supported me.”
The event was held as a part of the TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework, the TOMODACHI Generation Alumni Leadership Program supported by Prudential.
(The photos and videos were taken with support by General Asahi Co., Ltd.)