Inside INdiana Business

Wabash County seeing growth in Japanese program

(photo courtesy of Sarah Delgadillo, Director of Global Citizenship for Grow Wabash County, City of Wabash and Wabash City Schools)

WABASH COUNTY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Grow Wabash County says efforts to develop a strong relationship with the Japanese community are seeing increased growth. The nonprofit economic and community development organization says a Japanese language program from Wabash City Schools has seen massive year-over-year growth and the county aims to send a third delegation to Japan in 2022.

The school district launched the language program with 14 students in 2020 through a partnership with the Japanese Foundation. This year, the program has grown to 50 students, a 257% increase.

“As a teacher who seeks to bring Japan and Indiana closer, I am thrilled to see the Japanese program at Wabash City Schools grow in size and interest,” said Bill Chittenden, a Japanese language teacher at Wabash City Schools. “I am looking forward to continuing to help prepare the students of Wabash to become global citizens who continue to develop the deep ties between Japan and Indiana.”

In addition to the language program, the district has hosted a group of exchange students from Japan, and plans to continue the two-week exchange program, if the pandemic allows. Additionally, the district has been selected to participate in the KAKEMASHI Project, in which nine students and one chaperone will take part in an eight-day exchange to Japan next year.

“The growth of the Japanese program has been incredible. We are excited to be the only district in the county to offer this program to our students,” said Superintendent Amy Sivley. “We look forward to continued collaboration with Japan as we work to provide global opportunities for our students.”

Wabash sent delegations to Japan in 2018 and 2019 with the goal of fostering relationships with Japanese communities. Grow Wabash County says the goal is to send another delegation next year.

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