Americus-Sumter High School students selected for Japan GEN-J program

Good News: Americus students headed to Japan

AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - An opportunity of a lifetime is offered to only a handful of high school students and some of those are close by in Americus.

Americus-Sumter High School has been selected by the Japan-America Society of Georgia as one of four schools in the state to participate in the society’s second Grassroots Exchange Network Japan (GEN-J) high school trip to Japan.

"Very excited for my trip because it’s a once in a lifetime chance to go to Tokyo,” said Passion Thomas, an 11th grader selected to go on the trip.

Passion Thomas
Passion Thomas (Source: WALB)

Twenty students will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Japan and four of those recipients are from Americus-Sumter High School.

“This one we’re going on, the GEN-J program is looking at the larger level and how we can see how the bigger economies of both of our countries can work together,” said Joyabhishek Charles, a senior.

Joyabhishek Charles
Joyabhishek Charles (Source: WALB)

Americus-Sumter High School staff said the four students will visit Japanese companies that have facilities in both America and Japan.

They will also visit schools while in Tokyo.

There are around 600 Japanese affiliated companies in Georgia according to Charles Coney, the Americus city manager and Japan-America Society of Georgia board member.

"When you take that into consideration, you understand the need to have communities that foster and appreciate the Japanese culture so that we have an environment that fosters the Japan-America. These exchanges with the students are part of that,” said Coney. Americus distinguishes itself. An almost 30-year history of annual transpacific cultural exchanges with its international sister city, Miyoshi City, Japan. This opportunity with the Americus-Sumter High School expands on the existing foundation. The Japan-America Society of Georgia [JASG] has been intentional in identifying relationships that are poised for the next level of engagement to include economic opportunities. We see Americus as a strategic community to compliment the international collaboration being done at the state level with the newly formed Georgia Japan Legislative Caucus and our new consul general, Mr. Kazuyuki Takeuchi.

"The GEN-J Program dispatches Grassroots Exchange facilitators and Japanese-language supporters to the U.S. who provide grassroots exchange activities for two years, aiming to strengthen the relationship between Japanese companies operating in the U.S. and the local communities in the U.S. as well as to promote a better understanding of Japan through their grassroots activities.
Charles Coney in a press release

“I expect to learn more about the economies of both countries. I would like to maybe possibly get a business degree when I grow up and work in international business,” said James Schopen-Davis, a 10th grader who was also selected to go on the trip.

James Schopen-Davis
James Schopen-Davis (Source: WALB)

The nine-day trip will take place during the week of Thanksgiving.

“It is going to be hard because my family usually always gets together every Thanksgiving but they all know this is a great opportunity for me to go on. They really want me to go on this,” said Emily Peacock, a ninth-grader.

Emily Peacock
Emily Peacock (Source: WALB)

For the Americus-Sumter students, this will be a second, and in some cases, a third trip to Japan.

Each of them is an alum of the annual Miyoshi City exchanges.

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