Last February, during the annual Pink Game, a student from Richford approached me about attending BFA in the 2020-21 school year. Takumi told me he was in an exchange program and hoped to continue his education in the United States and knew that we were able to enroll students from other countries. I told him that we would be happy to have him and that we would be in touch to figure out a plan.
Of course, this was prior to the school dismissal which changed our school and the world in general. In spite of the turmoil, Takumi stayed in touch with me throughout the spring and summer in the hope of joining us in the fall. We zoomed fairly regularly to answer his questions and update him about our return to school. In late July, it became apparent that we would not be able to have Takumi attend BFA at the start of the year given the unknowns about the virus and the conditions to return our students to school. It was a heartbreaking conversation, but we talked about the possibility of Takumi joining us in the spring semester.
He was persistent and kept in touch with me and Director of Guidance Katherine McElroy throughout the fall. In November, we had seen success in returning our students to school and, in consultation with Superintendent Tager, we invited Takumi to join us starting in January. We started the process of government paperwork and set out to find a family willing to host him. Takumi created an introductory video which we shared over Schoology. After an opportunity to connect with Takumi, a Fairfax family agreed to host him for the semester. Takumi booked a flight, arrived in Burlington, quarantined and was able to start at BFA in early February. He joined the basketball team and hopes to be involved in other activities this spring.
To help the community get to know Takumi a little better, we asked him a few questions:
Where are you from?
I am from Tokyo Japan
What do you like best about Vermont?
I like people in VT and a lot of nature so I can relax. There are not that many buildings around me so I can feel free and chilling.
What do you miss the most about Japan?
I miss food but I like American food too.
What are your favorite classes?
I like every class but especially Senior Civics. It’s because I can get to know a lot of things which I don’t know about America.
What are your plans for next year?
Move to America to start a new life or go to college in the US. But I probably will be in the US.
What is the most surprising thing about BFA?
First of all,people are nice. Second, classes are fun.
How is BFA different from Richford High School? T
The size is pretty much the same, but I can’t really tell any other difference because due to COVID-19,there is a lot of unusual stuff.
What else would you like people to know?
I like making new friends so feel free to talk to me!
I am glad to be able to become a Fairfax student!
We are so glad that Takumi was finally able to join us at BFA. As much as the experience benefits him, the impact on our entire school and community is far greater!
John Tague is currently Principal of BFA Fairfax High School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @jtague252