Learning ... but the news is all bad
SURVIVORS... Japanese exchange student Seika Fukasawa, 17, of Nagano, with fellow pupils at Townsville State High School
While the students’ hometown of Nagano was not directly affected by the destruction, Townsville High principal Scott Stewart said the school had prepared for the worst.
‘‘ The students were all fine, they were all in good spirits when they arrived,’’ he said.
‘‘ They have all been quiet but that’s because they have been so busy since they arrived.
‘‘ They made the decision to commit to the next available flight and so they are out here taking their minds off things.
‘‘ We are aware that while it’s exciting when they are here I think once they get home this will catch up.’’
Kirwan High School Intern a t i o n a l a n d I s o l a t e d Students Support co-ordinator Lorraine Duve said students had spent 30 hours at the airport waiting to find out if the airport would re- open. ‘‘ All in all it’s been a harrowing two days for these 16 and 17-year-olds compounded by the fact the personal trauma they may have been experiencing knowing what their country is going through,’’ Ms Duve said. ‘‘ It was a unanimous decision to c o n t i n u e w i t h t h e i r exchange and t hey have come here and focused on what they are doing here.
‘‘ There has been a lot of support for the students.
‘ ‘ W e ’ v e o f f e r e d t h e m counselling and have any support services they need.’’
T r o p i c a d o o t o u r c o - ordinator Kaz Raasch, who is looking after the students while they were in Townsville said they had tried to keep them distracted from the devastation in Japan.
‘‘ Everything has been fine so far.’’ The students will remain in Townsville until next Wednesday. WHEN Japan’s largest ever earthquake struck Narita Airport, teacher Masanori Tsukada was about to board f o r T o wn s v i l l e wi t h 4 0 students and had to make a tough decision.
Would he allow the group travel to Australia, or cancel the cultural exchange his class had been waiting so eagerly to experience.
‘‘ It was a big decision but we couldn’t give up,’’ he said.
‘‘ I didn’t have the right to decide.’’
And so after a one night delay, after the airport was declared shut on Friday, the students made the decision to fly to Australia the moment flights re-opened.
They arrived on Sunday in time for Monday classes, with 18 students studying at Townsville High School and the remaining 22 at Kirwan High School.
The students are in their ‘‘ sophomore’’ year at Matsum o t o A g a t a g a o k a H i g h School in Nagano and all are aged 16 and 17.