A group of Dempsey Middle School students has new roommates for the next few days — visiting students from Sakata, Japan.
Twenty-two students and four adults arrived Thursday night from Delaware’s sister city, Sakata, and were welcomed to Dempsey Middle School Friday morning at a welcome ceremony. After the assembly concluded, the guest students went to class with their host students, with whom they will be spending the next five days.
Dempsey students said Friday they were very excited for the next week.
Noah Smith, an eighth-grader hosting Shu Aoyama, said he’s got a long list of activities to do with his guest before the delegation returns to Japan on Wednesday.
“We are carving pumpkins and going to the football game tonight,” Smith said. Smith said he and his guest will also visit the Columbus Zoo, the YMCA, see a movie and play soccer before Wednesday. “I’m not nervous, I’m really excited. I want him to experience what being in America is like.”
Likewise, Elissia Willis has a slightly more festive weekend planned. Willis said she and her guest student, Manami Sato, will be attending a Halloween party and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
“I want her to have a good experience,” Willis said. “I want to make sure she feels welcome and I’m so happy that she’s here.”
Paul Craft, superintendent of Delaware City Schools, said Sakata has been sending delegations of students for the better part of 20 years and said it’s a great experience for students. Craft said it helps give students from both schools a better global perspective.
The guest students will have the chance to show off some of their culture on Tuesday when they will set up several stations and show Dempsey students some examples of Japanese culture.
On Wednesday, the Sakata students will fly to and visit Washington, D.C., before returning home.
In 2014, five students and two officials from Dempsey made the trip to Sakata, a first for the school district.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.