Franklin schools preparing for visit from Japanese students

As Franklin students return next week from winter break, they’ll be making the final preparations to welcome a group of students visiting from across

the world.

A group of 10 students and several chaperones from Kuji, Japan, Franklin’s sister city, will be in town next week to visit the city and tour the schools. Students and school officials have been planning for months to make their guests feel at home.

When the Kuji students tour the high school Jan. 9, they’ll view a special Japanese video created by high school students and attend a special Japanese tea ceremony, principal Doug Harter said.

A group of students typically makes the trip from Kuji to

Franklin each year. Franklin hasn’t sent a group of local high school students to Japan yet, but Harter wants to find a way to make that happen.

The visits are important for the visiting and hosting students because it gives them a new opportunity to learn about another culture, Harter said.

“As we all know, we’re becoming more and more global,” Harter said. “In a place like Franklin, it’s really important we get to interact with diversity.”

The visiting students will start their trip in Chicago before coming to Franklin.

Once they arrive, they’ll

meet Mayor Joe McGuinness

and tour local spots, such as city hall and the Artcraft Theatre before attending a dinner at Franklin College.

Then, during the next two

days, they’ll visit Franklin

Community Middle and High schools, Harter said.

Harter wants the Kuji visitors to feel welcome, but he also wants Franklin’s students to be able to learn as much from the Japanese students as possible. The high school offers Japanese as a foreign language, and some of the Kuji students will help teach class during their visit, Harter said.

The high school will also set up a special lunch for the Kuji visitors and the Franklin students studying the language so that they’ll have some additional time to talk in Japanese, Harter said.

In the afternoon, the high school will also set up workstations so that Kuji students can teach the Franklin Japanese-language students — about 100 in all — origami and other art projects, Harter said.

The Kuji students will be staying with host families during their visit, and on Jan. 10 the families have a day to spend with the students.

Families typically show the

students other popular spots in Johnson County or take them to downtown Indianapolis to see the Pacers play. The families also want to give the students time to shop for gifts for their relatives back home, which is an important part of Japanese culture,

Harter said.

After the Kuji students leave Franklin on Jan. 11, they’ll

spend several days in Washington, D.C., before returning home, Harter said.