By Chris De Benedetti and Rebecca Parr
Staff Writers, Bay Area News Group
Five Japanese students are visiting Hayward High School, which has revived its exchange program with Sado High School.
The students and their English teacher arrived March 16, along with their principal, Tetsuaki Ishii, said Michele Patterson, Hayward High assistant principal. While Ishii returned to Japan earlier this week, the students are staying with host families for two weeks, through March 29.
While here, they are attending classes at Hayward High and visiting Cal State East Bay, UC Berkeley, Stanford University and Silicon Valley. This weekend, they will tour San Francisco and spend a day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Hayward High will throw a farewell party for the students next week.
"It's been great," Patterson said. "They're having a great time."
The exchange program was started in 1971 by Hayward High history teacher Richard Schultz and a Sado High English teacher, Yasuyuki Kikuchi, who met at a conference in Hawaii. "It turned out that both of them had lost a brother in World War II, on opposite sides of the war, obviously," Patterson said. The two became friends and decided to promote cultural understanding by starting a sister school program.
For more than a decade, students from the two schools exchanged visits. But the program has been dormant until Ishii contacted Hayward High Principal George Bullis last year.
Sado High invited Hayward students to visit Japan next summer, but Patterson said that would not be possible. "That's too quick a turnaround time, and we'd have to raise the money. It would be great to do it at some point in the future," she said.