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Okinawans complete Adult English Class

Date Posted: 2004-03-04

CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa, Japan — More than 30 Okinawans from the Nago and Henoko areas were presented with certificates for completing the Adult English Class at the Camp Schwab Education Center, Feb. 10.

The class, which began a year ago, gives Okinawan adults the chance to learn conversational English with the help of Marine instructors from the various units aboard Camp Schwab.

Colonel Drew A. Bennett, camp commander, presented the Okinawans, who attended the class since it first began a year ago, with certificates of completion.

“I feel very glad to receive the certificate,” said Koichi Nakamasu, Adult English Class student. “The instructors were very kind and eager to teach us. We appreciate them very much.”

Nakamasu received special recognition during the ceremony. The 67-year-old put in over 400 hours of time in the class and never missed a period of instruction during the past year.

The students learned English by reading textbooks and magazine publications through the help of the Marine instructors and Fumio Iha, community relations specialist for Camp Schwab.

“As one of the new community relations projects, we organized an Adult English Class for the local adults last year,” Iha stated. “Compared to the local children, the adults rarely have a chance to learn English.” The students felt they were in the right place to be learning a second language.

“I was looking for a new challenge in life when I started this class,” Nakamasu claimed. “After I retired I felt I had accomplished most of my goals in life. I decided that learning English will help keep me busy, and also provide me with something very useful.”

The class meets every two weeks on Tuesday at the Education Center here from 7-9 p.m. After completing its first year, the class will continue to be an active part of Camp Schwab’s community efforts.

“As a good member of the local community, we need to contribute as much as we can. This is just one of the few things we do for our neighbors,” Iha concluded. “We will continue to carry on the class for our friends.”

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