Saturday, 13 April 2024

Middletown Middle School students plan summer trip to Japan

From right to left, Rose Lynch, MegAnn Brierly, Krystina Riccio, Jennifer Harte, Cheyanne Horvath, Rachel Sutton, Jamie Ridgeay, Karen Castellanos, Raphael Roy-Labelle, Jacob Gill, Maddie Kucer and Nika Gibbs at the Hidden Valley Lake Country Club for a fundraising dinner and silent auction on Saturday, May 17. Photo by Terre Logsdon.



HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The first stamp in their new US passports may be from Japan, but for many of these Middletown Middle School students, this will be the first of many worldwide adventures.

Twelve Middletown Middle School students will leave in August as part of an ongoing exchange program with their sister city, Naka-cho – which means “Middletown” – and fly to Japan for eight days to gain a better understanding of a very different culture.

"The benefits of this program are numerous," said former Middletown Middle School Principal JoAnn Rodriguez. “This trip will open up their horizons … and whet their appetites for learning about other cultures.”

Rodriguez, now retired, received written correspondence from Naka-cho asking for a cultural exchange. After several years of writing back and forth, in 1994, the first delegation from Middletown Middle School was sent to Japan.

The next year, students and parents from Naka-cho came to Middletown – and they have alternated every year since.

“It gives the students a desire to learn and appreciate other cultures,” Rodriguez said, who explained that some students host a family from Japan one year – then stay with that same family the following year when they go.

In May, the Japan Club at Middletown Middle School hosted a dinner and silent auction at the Hidden Valley Lake Country Club to raise money for the trip.

Dan Morgan, Middletown Middle School current principal, explained that each of the students go through a very rigorous screening process in order to participate in the program. In the process they must demonstrate citizenship, and show they are maintaining a high grade point average and receiving recommendations from their teachers.

“This is an amazing group of kids and parents,” said Morgan. “They're all working very hard to make this happen.”

If you would like to assist the students in the Japan Club, please contact Kris Davis at 987-4160.

E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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