MARLBOROUGH – For the first time in four years, students from Akiruno Shi, Japan, were welcomed to Marlborough.
The eight students, along with their chaperones and their counterparts from Whitcomb Middle School, attended a special School Committee meeting on Oct. 17.
“We hope you have a wonderful experience in our city,” said Whitcomb student Christopher Smith.
Last month, Smith and seven other seventh- and eighth-grade students spent a week in Akiruno, which is just outside Tokyo.
In a video of the trip shown at the School Committee meeting, the Whitcomb students described going to class, having grilled salmon for school lunch, using chopsticks and visiting sites such as Mount Fuji.
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According to Heather Roach, the exchange program adviser, the Akiruno students and chaperones went apple picking, toured the city and met Mayor Arthur Vigeant, in addition to visiting the middle school.
“It’s a thrill to have you all back here,” said School Committee member Katherine Hennessy.
The group headed back to Japan on Oct. 19.
The exchange program began in 1998, but was suspended the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re so thrilled we’re back together again,” said Marlborough Public Schools Superintendent Mary Murphy.
Risha Khanderia, the student representative to the School Committee, said she went to Japan as part of the exchange program in 2019, just before the pandemic.
“I was thinking it would be awful if it didn’t continue,” she said.