Just last Wednesday night, the eight Ikata students and most of the host families got back together again for a final feedback session. (What, two months after the end of the program, you ask? Due to conflicting schedules, this was the earliest convenience for most people.) Chairman Hirose said a few words about this year's program, and then we heard speeches, some accompanied by photo slideshows and music, from each of the Ikata students, Mr. Asano, and myself. Finally, the host families gave their opinions and comments on the program, and to wrap things up, the former mayor of Misaki (before it merged with Ikata several years ago) gave everyone a rousing send-off speech.
The Ikata students are getting ready to finish their time in junior high and move up to high school at the end of March. They will be busier and busier as the weeks go by, so it was nice to see them together again one last time. We all hope that their experiences with the Red Wing students in Ikata and in Red Wing themselves will prove to be the basis of lifelong friendships, as well as a stepping stone to lifelong learning and great future accomplishments.