East Meets West at Champion High School

East Meets West at Champion High School
Posted on 03/28/2017

Nanami Takehara (left) and Camryn Haby share a world of learning through the Kikkoman/FCCLA scholarship program

Nanami Takehara (left) and Camryn Haby share a world of learning through the Kikkoman/FCCLA scholarship program

East meets West at Boerne Champion High School, thanks to an exchange program that unites Japanese and American students.

CHS junior Camryn Haby learned earlier this month that she has been selected as one of 14 students nationwide to travel to Japan as part of the Kikkoman/FCCLA scholarship program. The local student is getting travel tips from Nanami Takehara, a high school junior from Okinawa, Japan, who is currently finishing a year-long study at Champion High School thanks to the same program.

Haby, who currently serves as FCCLA VP of Public Relations for the local chapter, said she first learned of the program last year at the FCCLA national convention. Her interest was piqued and she applied in September. She learned just two weeks ago that she was selected to receive a $12,000 scholarship for the program.

"I am excited about the opportunity to be immersed in the Japanese culture," says Haby, who has been studying the Japanese language online in preparation for her trip. She will be in school in Tokyo or another assigned city June 13-July 29.

Takehara has counseled Haby not to be surprised if her blonde hair and hazel eyes attract a lot of attention while in Japan. Those are features seen infrequently in Japanese classrooms.

"I have really enjoyed how open people are here," Takehara says of her extended visit to Boerne, which began at the start of the 2016-17 school year. "People talk to you here. Even in HEB, someone will say, 'I like your outfit.' That does not happen in Japan."

Takehara's time here has included a trip to Disney World and a visit to the San Antonio Rodeo, where she was particularly impressed at the number of scholarships students can receive for agriculture-related pursuits.

"We don't have that in Japan, and agriculture is very important to us."

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