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Honorary homecoming guests


Exchange students from Sano, Japan, visit Gresham High

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Rena Umeda, left, stayed with junior Sydney Wests family this week. In June, Umeda hosted West in Sano, Japan.

From playing games at a video arcade to eating at KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), this week’s special guests got a flavor of American culture.

During homecoming week at Gresham High School, students welcomed 23 exchange students from Sano Nichidai Super Science High School in Sano, Japan, through ANDEO International Homestays.

“The students are always smiling and so happy,” said Yuki Tomioka, a Sano student hosted by Gresham junior Knox Trapa.

During their visit, Sano students participated in morning English as a Second Language and science courses and collaborated with Gresham High students on a science project.

They also participated in Gresham’s homecoming spirit week by wearing their school uniforms on “twin day.”

In the afternoons, students participated in organized activities, spending the evenings and weekends getting to know their host families, many of whom they had met hosting Gresham students in Japan last summer.

A group of 10 students from Gresham High visited Sano in June with their Japanese teacher, Tara Hieggelke. The group included Trapa, who was hosted by Tomioka, and Sydney West, who was hosted by her current exchange student, Rena Umeda.

The exchange between Gresham High and Sano Nichidai High School began in 2007 and has since become an annual tradition.

This year’s exchange students were joined by three chaperones, a classroom teacher and an English teacher.

In Japan, Sano Nichidai Super Science High School students are learning English, forest resources, geoscience, genetic analysis and PIC microcomputers.

Established in 1981, ANDEO is a Portland-based nonprofit organization that welcomes more than 1,500 students to the Pacific Northwest for short-term homestays each year.

For more information about ANDEO International Homestays, visit andeo.org.