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Amerasian School in Okinawa celebrates 10th anniversary

Date Posted: 2008-06-06

The chairman of the Department of Defense school system offered the accolades, joined by Ginowan City’s mayor, during ceremonies recognizing the 10th anniversary of the Amerasian School in Okinawa.

Dr. Gale van Wilds of DODDS lauded the school’s founder, Midori Sawyer, during a speech to more than 200 well-wishers, including Youichi Iha, the mayor of Ginowan City where the school is located. Parents and students, along with school principal Makoto Asano, greeting returning alumni for the ceremony.

Sawyer founded the school in 1998 after he husband left Okinawa, leaving her with three young children to raise in a mixed culture. She said life had been hard, with bias and discrimination levied against her children, leaving her with a challenge.

“It was in my power to help other mothers struggling in the same situation with Amerasian circumstances,” Sawyer says, “and to give encouragement.” The school emphasizes playing together and being proud to be Amerasian. “We have big dreams, just like everybody else,” she says, “and we will make those dreams come true.”

Sawyer says the kids “are not half. We have the double spirit of both Japan and America, and we are proud of the education environment and challenges.”

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