Ten students selected as Hastings Sister City Ambassadors

Program seeks to build cultural understanding, strengthen ties with Ozu, Japan
The Hastings International Exchange Organization has selected 10 students to represent Hastings...
The Hastings International Exchange Organization has selected 10 students to represent Hastings as Sister City Ambassadors on an outreach trip to Ozu, Japan.(Hastings International Exchange Organization)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:13 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Ten local high school students will be representing their city when they head to Japan later this year.

The Hastings International Exchange Organization (HIEO) has selected the students who will be representing Hastings as Sister City Ambassadors this May on an outreach trip to Ozu, Japan.

The 2023 Hastings Sister City Ambassadors, who represent four local high schools, will travel to Japan where they will stay with a host family for nine days, learning their household routines and family structures.

During the day, Ozu city officials will take the group to various sites in the Ozu area including Kumamoto Castle, Suizenji Park, the Bunraku Center, the Honda Motorcycle factory, and Mount Aso (an active volcano). They will also visit Japanese high schools and make a day trip to Nagasaki, where they will tour the Peace Park and museum.

After the students return to Hastings, they will serve as ambassadors for a year. This includes giving at least one presentation to organizations in Hastings and talking to their fellow students about life in Japan.  The goal of this yearly effort is to foster international understanding and education between different cultures.

The following students from Hastings are the 2023 HIEO Sister City Ambassadors:

Hastings Senior High School

- Yoselin Gonzalez Lara, sophomore

- Kelyn Henry-Perlich, junior

- Joseph Hoffman, junior

- Lyssa Hoffman, freshman

- Avery Lowther, sophomore

- Thomas Roberts, junior

- Robert Schmidt, sophomore

Adams Central High School

- Xander Uhrmacher, senior

St. Cecilia High School

- John Kryzsko, sophomore

Grand Island Senior High School

- Hunter Bradshaw, senior

The cities of Hastings and Ozu officially forged their sister city relationship in 1995 following a trip to Ozu by a group of Hastings citizens. After that first exchange HIEO members and their counterparts in the Ozu International Exchange Organization (OIEO) have maintained their connection by organizing visits for students from both communities to participate in homestay experiences.

For more information about the program and how high school students can apply in the future, contact Dr. Jessica Henry at jmhhenry@gmail.com.