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Gifted and talented program students get a taste of Japanese culture
In March 11 Issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Reporter

Last Friday, many of Russell County's gifted and talented students participated in an all-day Japanese culture festival at the schools' auditorium, according to Mickie Tarter, who is in charge of teaching gifted and talented students in Russell County and coordinating the gifted and talented program.

"I believe it all went off smoothly," Tarter said. "It was very educational for not only the students but for the parent volunteers as well."

Students from all four elementary schools and the middle school, along with several parent volunteers, were treated to a day of learning and fun as the University of Kentucky's Japan Outreach Coordinator Keiko Fukuzaki and Mike Hardy, UK Asia Center staff support associate, visited the students and even portrayed several Japanese tea ceremonies throughout the day.

The students learned a great deal about Japanese culture during the festival as classes on origami, calligraphy, geography, art anime, kimonos and yukatas, tea ceremonies and a "day in the life of a Japanese student" were covered, according to Tarter.

Many classes were "hands-on" as students participated in the traditional Japanese art of paper folding making their own visual art. They also drew their own anime, a style of Japanese animation, among other activities.

Tarter said the older students served as teachers for much of the day, teaching lessons to the younger students on the aforementioned topics.

When all classes were completed, students were then able to witness, and participate, in a tea ceremony.

The Japanese cultural activity involved the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, or powdered green tea. A machta may last up to four hours in length but Fukuzaki and Hardy's ceremonies lasted between 20 minutes and an hour.

Fukuzaki, who in the fall came and taught each grade something different about Japan, will be at UK until July of this year.

"We wanted to share with others what she shared with us," Tarter said of Fukuzaki's visit. "During the day, students were either staying and teaching other students or traveling to another room to learn another topic."

Fukuzaki is with the Laurasian Institution's Japan Outreach Initiative. Keiko is available to give presentations and lead activities about Japanese culture at schools and community groups throughout Kentucky and that is how Tarter was able to contact her to come to the auditorium for the day-long event.

Fourth grade students presented a slide show called, A Day in the Life of a Japanese Elementary School Student. After the slide show, students showed their audience chopsticks, indoor shoes, a Japanese textbook, a backpack and school uniforms.

Fourth graders attending were: Grayson Blankenship, Jensen Carnes, Kaitlyn Hardwick, Joshua Hurley, Kassidy Johnson, Michael Kerns, Rachel Robinson, Alexis Irvin, Brooke Begley, Brianna Cerrato, Camryn Coots, Anna Ford, Mackenzie Roark, Alizabeth Smith, Kendra Stapp, Emily Stephens, Dorsey Franklin, Hayley Padilla, Autumn Passmore, Payton Richardson, Jacob Simpson and Gabriel Slater. Parent volunteers for this group were Jennifer Carnes, Lisa Kerns and Lucille Franklin.

Fifth graders presented Legend of the Crane, Basic Folds and Symbols of Origami, Science and Origami and Kinds of Origami Paper. They then taught other students to fold a throwing star. They also displayed their own origami projects, according to Tarter.

Fifth graders attending were: Kamryn Stewart, Chloe Henson, Audry Henson, Andrew Thomas, Hannah Fowler, Weston Loy, Kaylie Polston, Katrina Hadley, Bryson Godby, Jacob Loy, Kaitlyn Coffey, Claire Feldhaus, Zach Foster, Taylor Grider and Mason Reese. Parent volunteer: Rhonda Godby

Sixth graders presented Geography, Climate, Population, Buddhism, and Fun Facts about Japan. Next students labeled the five islands in Japan on a map given to them and colored in the climatic zones.

Sixth graders attending were: Clay Ackerman, Isaiah Bennett, Logan Burton, Jessica Damron, Braxton Mann, Jina Maynard, Joshua Melson, Hannah O'Dell, Lanae Reed, Kayla Thomas, Abigail Wilson, and Erin Wolford. Parent volunteers were Beckham and Terrie Wilson.

Seventh graders presented What is Shodo? History of Calligraphy, Tools of Calligraphy, Writing calligraphy and styles of calligraphy. Next students taught other students to do calligraphy by making the Japanese character for eternity with black watercolor paint.

Seventh graders attending were: Bryce Anderson, Cherokee Angel, Hannah Antle, Morgan Feltner, Dawson Godby, John Harden, Bailey Henson, Jessica Jones, Jonathan Proctor, Ben Roy, Jordan Sinclair,and Renate Smith. Seventh grade volunteer: Stefanie Tarter

Since Fukuzaki and Hardy were demonstrating a thin tea ceremony, the eighth graders prepared students before the ceremony with tea information. They taught other students the five theories of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Tatami Mats, utensils of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Iemoto Grand Master System, Schools of Tea and the history of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Eighth graders attending were Jamison Cooper, Logan Craig, Hadley Ellis, Luke Gaskin, Kaity Hamill, James Holt, Rachel McFall, Courtney Miller, Kameron Phillips, Mackenzie Rincon, Sarah Robertson, and Brooke Wilson. Parent volunteer: Donna Hadley

Sixth grade art students taught students about kimonos and yukatas. The students displayed their own artwork around the room which was based on different kinds of kimono fabrics. Then students allowed other students to make their own kimonos with paper, scissors and glue sticks.

Sixth grade art students attending were Daylin Finney, Jessica Damron, Casey Flatt, Alexis Wooldridge, Rebecca Barnes, Keegan Cooper, Katie Foley, Laura Beth Keith, Gavin Lawless and Lanae Reed. Parent volunteers were Kerri Barnes and Gail Flatt.

Seventh grade art students taught other students about Japanese Anime. The students had created life-size middle school students on refrigerator boxes supplied by Black's Appliance. The life size figures were: Cool Dude by Autumn Burton, School Bully by Grant Best, Hip Chic by Lindsay Haynes, Trim Teen by Skyler Smith, Brainy Kid by Autumn Jackson, Cheerleader by Morgan Emerson, Class Clown by Jake Offill, Tomboyish Loner by C.J. Elliott and Rich Snob by Zane Wallace. These students then helped other students draw an anime face.

Tarter wished to thank Kara Branscum, Kandi Campbell and Joy Shearer from the middle school for allowing their students to participate in the Japanese Festival as well as Misty Matney for bringing her high school students to participate in the tea ceremony.

She also thanked her support personnel: Micah David Lunsford, Sheila Loy, Patty Meece, Jenny Aaron, Travis Dixon, Debbie Whittle, Susan Melton, Donnie Brockman, Vicki Wade, Stuart Carmen, Patti Whicker, Michael Ford, Marisa Popplewell and Black's Appliance Center.

"There were so many people who helped to make it a success," Tarter said.

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