Japanese club receives grant ninth year in a row


Illustration by Sneha Augustine

Carter Johnston and Ella Vick

A supportive team of teachers and a close-knit, passionate group of kids culminates in rigorous, challenging and engaging academic experiences for all students in the Japanese Program, Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel said. Recently, the Japanese Program won a grant from the Japanese Chicago Chamber of Congress (JCCC) for the ninth year in a row, Danita Fitch, instructional supervisor of World Language Department, said.

The JCCC is a Japanese owned business in Chicago that invests in Japanese cultural and language programs in the area. Every year, a JCCC teacher creates a grant proposal, detailing how they would use the funds to provide activities and materials for the students. For South, the grant provides funds to continue offering pre-existing cultural opportunities, according to Fitch.

“The Japanese Program continues to work very hard to maintain not only student enrollment but keeping the school community involved in Japanese culture,” Fitch said. “Teachers try to find other resources to bring exciting cultural activities to all students in the community.”

Japanese Club consists of 35 members, senior Destiny Astorga, Japanese club member said, however the club is always open to new members. Astorga enjoys that the club allows her to expand her knowledge of Japanese culture beyond what she learns in class.

“Many people think that [Japanese Club] is solely anime and it isn’t,” Astorga said. “This club teaches you more about Japanese culture.”

Senior Annabelle Northrup is the President of the Japanese Club and a member of the program, and she cherishes the dynamic of the group.

“We do activities that the group truly wants, there is a lot of community input,” Northup said. “We’re all so passionate about Japanese culture.”

The grant furthers the efforts of Dr. Yasuko Makita-Discekici, head of the Japanese Program at South. Fagel details Makita-Discekici expertise and great value to the South community.

“Dr. Makita-Discekici has established herself as one of the best high school Japanese  teachers in the country,” Fagel said. “She has grown the enrollment of the GBS program and has created both curricular and extracurricular opportunities for students.”

The club previously used the grant money to try authentic Japanese sushi, participate in flower arranging workshops and have a tea ceremony typesetting with traditional settings including tatami mats (authentic Japanese mats constructed of rush grass).

Fagel reflected on how winning the grant reaffirmed that South’s Japanese program is highly regarded and continues to demonstrate high acheivements.

“The award reinforces the fact that our program is outstanding and well-recognized beyond the Glenbrook community,” Fagel said.