For more than 25 years, Japanese students from the Findlay City Schools have gathered for a program of appreciation for their teachers, school staff and administrators in the Gathering of Gratitude (or Gathering of Arigato).
Each year, teachers, staff, administrators and Japanese students gather at the University of Findlay Theological Seminary Auditorium, usually around Teacher Appreciation Week. Schools present were Findlay High School, Glenwood, Wilson Vance and Whittier with 33 students, ranging from kindergarten through high school giving thanks. This year’s Gathering of Gratitude took place May 4 and was presented by high school students serving as MCs, and volunteers from the University of Findlay.
A student shares her talents on the piano.
Appreciation and Japanese Culture
Gratitude is an important part of Japanese culture, and the Gathering of Gratitude embraces this spirit. Guests were served tea and Japanese snacks. Many students said “thank you” by sharing their talents including a style of Japanese dancing and group rope jumping as well as musically, like playing piano. Many aspects of the Gathering also included both the English and the Japanese language.
During the program, many shared the challenges they faced with living in America including language barriers and cultural differences. They expressed how thankful they were that teachers invested the time in their education including learning English and adapting to the culture.
Many Japanese students are in Findlay on a temporary basis due to their parents’ work, but they enjoy it so much they wish to return in the future. Messages from previous students who had returned to Japan were read by current students. Many of the students expressed thanks for their teachers and staff who made their time here enjoyable.
The group performs a closing song.
A Japanese Closing
Mr. Edward Kurt, Superintendent of Findlay City Schools, shared his thanks. His remarks were translated into Japanese by Dr. Hiro Kawamura, the associate professor chair of the department of language and culture at The University of Findlay.
The Gathering of Gratitude closed with a song by all the students, sung in both Japanese then English. Students gave teachers, staff and administrators a Japanese sendoff by making an arch for them to walk through