HELENA — Helena High School students can take advantage of trips to places like France and Germany as part of their World Language studies. Now, Helena High School has added Japan to that list.
Students and staff were scheduled to visit Senshu University Tamana High School in Japan in 2020. The trip was canceled because of the pandemic but that didn’t stop these schools from gathering together for a virtual sister school signing ceremony.
"I am thrilled that we get to join together with Senshu University Tamana High School to learn about each others cultures, provide exchange programs for our students, and come alongside one another to cultivate a strong sister school relationship," says Grace Johnson, Helena High School Student Council President.
With this signing, Helena High hopes to offer programs like student exchange programs with their new sister school in Kumamoto, Japan. There is no time frame when these programs will begin because of the pandemic, but the Helena High Principal is hopeful they can roll out these programs every other school year.
"Everything in education is a relationship business,” says Steve Thennis, Helena High Principal. “When we can extend these relationships beyond the walls of our own school, it only benefits our kids."
This sister school signing comes from Montana’s Sister State Agreement with Japan. In 2013, the principal of Tamana High School and some students visited Montana and Helena High. That experience flourished into a constant relationship over the years to now this sister school signing.
“We'll be grateful for the exchanges and friendships between Helena High School and Senshu University Tamana High School,” says Masataka Watanabe, Tamana High School Principal. “We hope that our relationship continues for decades to come."
The State of Montana and the Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan formed their Sister State Affiliation in 1982. This bond formed many human and material exchanges between the two cultures over the years.