The Smoke Signal

Kyoto Returns to RHS

Agamchat Dhami, Journalist

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The Kyoto kids visited Ripon High again with more excitement and curiosity. This was the second consecutive year Ripon High has taken the opportunity to host them.

Kyoto students got the opportunity to see and be involved in “American” culture. They also got to make new friends and create new memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Ripon High students and Kyoto kids get together for a group picture showing school spirit.

Students of Ripon High were very outgoing and pleased to have the Kyoto kids over as they involved them in their daily life activities here in California. Ripon High students showed full respect and did not let language become a barrier between each other. 

“Most spoke English pretty well but if we got stuck on something then we used Google Translate or rephrased our sentences or used hand motions,” Senior Savanna Mendoza stated.  

Ripon High staff, students, and hosting families greeted and received their Kyoto kids in the evening of  Wednesday, October 10th with great excitement, posters, flowers, gift bags, and a lot of love. The Kyoto students were gifted t-shirts and beads as a welcoming gift from Ripon High. The t-shirts and beads also were for the exchange students to get spirited for the girl’s volleyball game against Escalon High School that night.

“When I first received the kids I was nervous and a little overwhelmed at first, but we quickly got along and had fun” Senior Roland Davis stated reflecting on his emotions when his exchange students got off the bus.

On their second day here in Ripon, California, the Kyoto students boarded a bus for a day tour, in which they visited CSU Stanislaus, Diamond Bar, Grape Vineyard Photo Stop, Rising Sun School, Pires’ Almond Ranch, Tractor Museum and Photo Stop, and San Francisco Premium Outlets. After a long and tiring field trip these students spent the evening with their host families.

These Japanese exchange students on the following on day joined all the Ripon High students in their formal uniforms for a school day and luncheon with Leadership students. They sat through classes and got insights on how schooling is different and or similar here in United States versus back home in Japan. 

Kyoto students preforming their group dance in front of Ripon High’s student body and staff.

Later during the same day, Ripon High and the Kyoto students both showed off their dancing and cheering skills. The crowd rooted and cheered for all the performers.

“It was incredible, amazing, and unforgettable to see their interpretation of American dancing and cheer,” Senior Laysha Macedo states. “The girls performing gymnastics were super talented with their tricks and ribbon use.”

The next day on Saturday, the exchange students spent more time with their host families and in the evening attended a banquet that consisted of Kyoto students, leadership students and host families. There they enjoyed spending time together and sharing a cultural potluck along with pizza and soda.

During the Kyoto student’s last full day with their host families they had to opportunity to go to different places and spend more time together. Some families went to San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Six Flags and other enjoyable places. All these places allowed the students to experience something they normally wouldn’t have seen or visited back home.

“We went to Dell’Osso and took them to the haunted house and on the haunted ride. It was nice to seeing them comfortable with us and having fun,” Junior Gianna Brocchini said.

Kyoto cheer girls preform in front of Ripon High, as the crowd cheers them on.

Ripon High bid the Kyoto Japan exchange students farewell Monday morning, October 15th. There was sorrow and tears in the eyes of the Kyoto students and the host families but they all were grateful for all the unforgettable experiences and memories they all had made.

This was a once in a lifetime experience and I created such strong bonds over the short five days. I love them like sisters,”

— Kate Phelps

” Senior Kate Phelps states.

Students of Ripon High hope to see the Kyoto students again next year. This exchange program allowed both schools to understand and see each others culture.

“I would one hundred percent host because the memories I made were some of the best ones ever and I will cherish them always, no matter how much sleep I lost in those five days,” Junior Gianna Brocchini stated. 

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