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Miyako students press for new community park

Date Posted: 2006-08-25

Claiming a park brightens peoples’ spirits, a group of junior high school students are campaigning for public officials to convert school grounds to parks.

Students at Seijou Junior High School in Miyako Jima City are lobbying community leaders to think more about parks and public green areas complete with flowers. The place to find land, they’re telling the government, is right in the community’s backyard. The youngsters are asking that some school property be transformed into parks that can be used and appreciated by parents and children together every day. They point out that the schools typically have lots of land, and that it can be better used by setting a good precedent for the future. Kids say they want to see more flowers, more fruit trees, a lot of greens, and a lot of animals in the parks.

Seijou Principal Tetsuya Kawakami has been recruited to help with their campaign. The students first appealed to him, then the school Parent Teacher Association, and then to residents in surrounding areas. A trash area has been converted to a fruits area, while flowers and trees have been planted on other parts of the school grounds. Students say the school will begin planting new trees for each student to take care of.

“Wow, our school can change to a park,” said one student. “We can have friendship exchanges with the community now.” Students are learning not only from textbooks, but from real world, real life exchanges between citizens, government leaders, and their school teachers.

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