Junior high school students serve as English-speaking guides in Peace Memorial Park

by Mayumi Nagasato, Staff Writer

On July 10, 82 third-year students from Mihara Junior High School, affiliated with Hiroshima University and located in the city of Mihara in Hiroshima Prefecture, visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in downtown Hiroshima and served as English-speaking guides for 21 American teachers who have been involved in a training program here.

The students and teachers were divided into 20 groups and toured the park for about an hour, visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims. The students told the teachers about the background behind the construction of the cenotaph, the scale of the damage caused by the atomic bombing, and their wishes for peace. Ivan Vasquez, 38, an elementary school teacher from the U.S. state of New York, said that he was moved by the students’ earnest efforts to convey their message of peace, and that he will share this experience with his students and co-workers at home.

Mihara Junior High School has had students serve as guides for international visitors in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park once a year since fiscal 2004 as part of their peace education studies, as well as to nurture the students’ English ability. Hinako Kuroda, 14, expressed satisfaction, saying, “We were able to share our wish for peace with the teachers.”

(Originally published on July 11, 2014)