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Holy Cross Catholic School Welcomes Japanese Exchange Students

--New program aims to help children to think globally--

Ranging in age from just nine- to thirteen-years-old, six brave little Japanese girls and their American teacher are journeying halfway around the world to see how their counterparts live here in Northeast Wisconsin. Holy Cross Catholic School, 3002 Bay Settlement Road in Green Bay, will be hosting six students from Japan from Thursday, March 26 through Friday, April 3.

The girls will be staying with an American host family over the weekend so that they can be immersed in an American family dynamic. Throughout the week the students will be attending classes, masses, Stations of the Cross--everything that a normal HCCS student would do. They will also be giving presentations to each of the classes about their culture, their school, and their family life.

The staff has planned a number of mini field trips for the exchange students. They will see local points of interest such as the NEW Zoo, Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Neville Museum, and they will experience the school's annual spaghetti dinner.

Principal Robin Jo Jensen has been working on this Japanese Exchange Student program since last spring. The program is likely the first of its kind in the area at the grade school level. Mrs. Jensen said that the obvious educational value of this experience is that it provides all the children involved with a chance to learn firsthand about to a totally different culture.

"This project encompasses many of the 21st Century Learning Skills that we strive to teach our students, specifically a global view in our classrooms and an education where students have a deep understanding of content rather than merely shallow knowledge," commented Mrs. Jensen. "This visit from our Japanese friends will provide that deep level of understanding, by immersing our students in the Japanese culture and our visiting students in the American culture."

She maintains that there are additional lessons to be learned from the exchange that are just as important as appreciating cultural diversity, and these lessons are perhaps more far-reaching:

"I'm hoping that in the end the students will realize that they're really not so different from one another at all," commented Mrs. Jensen. "No matter what country they come from, no matter what language they speak, they are all children of God. This is one of the life lessons that we make every effort to teach at Holy Cross Catholic School. This is what we believe will make all the difference in the world, and it starts with one child--or, in this case, 195 children--at a time."

About Holy Cross Catholic School
Located on the growing northeast side of Green Bay at the historic crossroads of Church and Bay Settlement Roads, Holy Cross Catholic School is the point at which faith, community and education converge. The school educates children within the Catholic faith and provides them with opportunities to develop the values, attitudes and skills that will enable them to become vital members of the community. Holy Cross Catholic School has been in existence for 140 years and has an enrollment of 189 students in grades EC3 to 8th grade. For more information, please visit the school's website: http://www.holycrossfamily.org/.

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