Front row, left to right, Kokona Kondo, Toshiki Kobayashi, Yuto Koshimizu. Back row, left to right, Emily Okada, Koki Kato, and Tomohiro Tsuge. Not pictured: Mizuki Kamihira.
Photo Credit: Brandi Schwartz
USI’s Southern Indiana Japanese School (SIJS) has received the School Award in Writing from the Japan Overseas Educational Services, a subsidiary of the Japanese government's Ministry of Education and Science. Only 20 out of more that 300 Japanese schools abroad received the award. This is the seventh consecutive year that the SIJS has received this honor.
Additional writing prizes also were awarded to seven SIJS students in various categories.
Emily Okada, a fourth grader at Oak Hill Elementary School in Evansville, Indiana, received the Award of the Minister of Education and Science, the highest award possible, for her poem titled “My Guardian Angel.” After Okada received the award, Matthew Graham, USI professor of English, helped her translate the poem into English. Read the translated poem online.
Two prizes went to Tomohiro Tsuge, a second grader at William Tell Elementary School in Tell City, Indiana. He received an award in the composition category and in the poetry category.
Prizes in the composition category also went to Mizuki Kamihira, a ninth grader at Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana; Toshiki Kobayashi, a third grader at John H. Castle Elementary School in Newburgh; and Kokona Kondo, a second grader at Meadow Lanes Elementary School in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Yuto Koshimizu, a second grader at Scott Elementary School in Evansville, won a prize in the poetry category, and Koki Kato, a third grader at Audubon Elementary School in Owensboro, Kentucky, received a prize in the haiku poem category.
Students who received writing prizes were selected among more than 37,000 literature works in the categories of composition, poetry, Tanka poetry, and Haiku poetry.
SIJS opened in 1997 at the request of and with the financial support of Tri-state regional companies to help prepare students for a smooth transition into Japanese school life when they return home. Currently, the school has 55 students and 11 teachers who provide instruction in Japanese language, culture, and other selected disciplines on Saturdays and after the regular school day.
The SIJS is a program in the Division of Outreach and Engagement at the University of Southern Indiana.