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Asian-Pacific Matsuri enlightens SHES

By: Marie W. Conway

Date Posted: 1999-05-14

About 65 presenters from all over the island united to share cultural traditions at Stearley Heights Elementary School (SHES) for the Asian-Pacific Matsuri. The students rotated from presentation to presentation and were able to take part in everything from sports to the arts. The weather was picture perfect for the SHES students to enjoy watching kendo, judo, karate, and even play a game of soccer against Makiminato Elementary, a local Okinawan school. SHES students also showed off their taiko (drum) skills to their fellow schoolmates and the Japanese students and faculty. In fact, Stearley Heights was the first American school on Okinawa to offer an after-school taiko program to their students. Inside SHES, students, as well as teachers, joined in many activities such as Japanese calligraphy, kimono wearing, and origami, Asian cooking and tasting, and Hawaiian and Okinawan style dancing, just to name a few. "This sharing of cultural experiences is extremely important and necessary in understanding and appreciating Okinawa and other Asian countries. In my opinion, since the presenters and Okinawan students were able to attend an American school, everyone had an enriching experience," the SHES 5th Grade teacher said.

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