Today was graduation for all the third year students (equivalent to ninth graders) on Iki. Next year they’ll be going onto high school. I attended the graduation ceremony at my favorite school, of my favorite class, and although the ceremony wasn’t all that interesting (hey, my Japanese is still not-so-good), I was really glad I got to see these guys through to the end.
These 16 students were my absolute favorites. The perfect class: energetic when they need to be, ready to listen when I want to speak, willing to study English even if they don’t think they’re any good, and super eager to laugh. I looked forward to every Thursday because of them, and I’m going to miss them so much. I have so many great memories (“I want to be a pretty, pink princess!”; “Wow. You really like shiso juice.” And every single “KYATTOOOOO!”). I’m glad they’re going on to bigger and better things, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be just a little selfish and wish that they wouldn’t graduate.
Did you know?: In Japan, required schooling only goes up to grade nine, or the third year of middle school. However, about 96 percent of students go onto high school. Students have to take an entry exam to get in. Depending on the high school, that exam can be super easy (if you get over a 30% on the test, you pass!) to super hard (only a certain number of students accepted, starting from the best score). Often where you go to high school affects where you’ll go to college.