ASMSA swaps student visits with Japanese school

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published April 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 19, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.
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Mana Matsuyama, right, from Tennoji High School, shares a microscope with Megan Graham of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs in 2012, when students from the school in Osaka, Japan, visited Hot Springs. Students from Osaka will make another visit to ASMSA on Monday, while 22 students from the Hot Springs school prepare for a trip to Japan at the end of the month.

— On Monday and Tuesday, students and faculty from a Super Science High School in Osaka, Japan, will visit students at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs.

Meanwhile, 22 ASMSA students, along with three chaperones, are preparing for their Japanese adventure, starting May 26.

The 19 students from Tennoji High School, which has been designated a Super Science High School by the Japanese Ministry of Education, will arrive at 8 a.m. Monday to shadow ASMSA students in their classes and take part in a research symposium on the Whittington Avenue campus.

Students from the school in Osaka also visited the school last year when Toshyuki Morinaka, a teacher and administrator for Tennoji, brought 17 students to Hot Springs to meet the students at ASMSA and see firsthand the interesting assortment of minerals found in Arkansas. He said a group of geologists in Japan talked to him about bringing students to Hot Springs. Morinaka said he was also interested in seeing the area for himself.

The students will visit a quartz mine on Tuesday, accompanied by ASMSA students.

Last Wednesday, ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice announced the names of the 22 students who were selected to take the trip to Japan. The trip will allow the school to participate in the 2013 Japan-U.S. Youth Exchange Program, organized and funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The trip was arranged by Mary Neilson, coordinator of the Hot Springs Sister City Program. The Spa City has a long Sister City arrangement with Hanamaki, Japan.

“This trip is totally free for all students and chaperones from ASMSA who will be going on the exchange,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, the organization that administers the Sister Cities program.

The students were selected “based on their academic and personal contributions to the community of learning at ASMSA, as well as responses to essay questions about life at ASMSA and the role of engaged, global citizens,” according to an announcement issued by the school.

Among the students are Vivian Le of Hot Springs Village and Adrienne Merriott of Bryant. All of the students are juniors. The 22 students represent close to 10 percent of the total enrollment of ASMSA, a two-year high school for juniors and seniors looking for advanced academic challenges.

Accompanying the students will be Alderdice and Ron Luckow, a humanities instructor at the school who has an emphasis in East Asia studies.

Luckow is helping the students who will travel to Japan to be better prepared for their trip.

“I am teaching them some of the culture and language of Japan,” he said. “They are learning some basic things, like greetings and introductions and goodbyes.”

Also taking the trip as a chaperone is Nicole Clark, a residential mentor for the school and a 2006 ASMSA alumna.

“Our campus community has enjoyed the opportunity to host students and educators from Japan for the last several years,” Alderdice said. “The students selected for the program are excited to now experience the other side of a cultural exchange.”

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or

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