Lawrence eighth-grader Jon Tramba says he isn't the most adept person in the world when it comes to using chopsticks, but he doesn't expect to go hungry when he visits Lawrence's sister city of Hiratsuka, Japan, this summer.
"It's difficult, for sure," said Tramba, who had a chance to use chopsticks during an orientation session Monday night. "It was kind of hard at first, but it worked."
Tramba is one of 12 local junior high students who will spend a week in Hiratsuka this July. Meanwhile, six Lawrence High School students will leave in May to spend six weeks in Lawrence's other sister city, Eutin, Germany.
The LHS students probably have developed some perceptions of Eutin from talking with the six LHS students who went there last year. However, this will be the first year for Lawrence students to go to Hiratsuka, and those travelers will be somewhat younger.
FOR THAT reason, a number of orientation sessions are being planned for the junior high students. At the first session Monday night, one of the activities was watching a videotape made by a plane passenger landing in Tokyo.
"The students are kind of nervous about going, and their fears were kind of allayed by seeing that videotape," said Phyllis Copt, a teacher at West Junior High School who will be making the trip. "We also talked about how the students are going to be ambassadors from Lawrence and our schools."
Copt said the students, who represent grades seven through nine, are scheduled to take part in four other sessions covering such things as geography and history, the Japanese language, food and customs, and how to prepare for traveling.
Students traveling to Hiratsuka will be: from West Junior High School Tramba, Kelle Rose, David Tacha and Richard Benjes; from South Junior High School Brian Hack, Erin Rodewald, Cynthia Hoover and David Wilson; and from Central Junior High School Virginia Ross, Jeremy Shawl, Amy Miller and Layla Schultz.
SOUTH JUNIOR High School Principal Randy Weseman will accompany the students, as will junior high teachers Copt, Cathy Matese and Sandra Liechti.
Students traveling to Eutin will be Monica Ward, Mark Stover, Bill Bowen, Jason Pych, Flora Lee and Rachel Aanonson. Jim Belch, LHS social studies teacher, and Nancy Albrecht, LHS home economics teacher, also will make the trip.