Friendship Visit - Senmaya Elementary School
June 24, 2002

Barbara Roth Showing Students
an American Baseball Card

Barbara Roth, third-grade teacher at South River Elementary School in Marshfield, Massachusetts, and her 22-year-old daughter Melinda visited Senmaya Elementary School on June 24, 2002. Senmaya is a town of about 14 thousand people in Iwate Prefecture in the northern part of Japan, and Senmaya Elementary School has over 400 students.

Barbara came to Senmaya to personally deliver a new Friendship Doll named Elizabeth as a gift from the students at South River Elementary. This was the second doll Senmaya received from Marshfield. In 1927, the Marshfield First Congregational Church Sunday School sent a Friendship Doll named Betty to Senmaya. Barbara expresses her goal for the visit, "My intention was to reach out to the students in Senmaya in friendship and peace from myself and the students in my school."

In addition to the school visit, Barbara and Melinda had the exciting opportunity to stay at a Japanese home for three nights. They also were able to meet people from the Town Hall, International Friendship Club, and Rotary Club. They enjoyed very much the many beautiful and interesting sites they were shown by the residents of Senmaya.

Opening Culture Box from America
On the morning of June 24, all of the students at Senmaya Elementary School assembled anxiously waiting to see the new doll for their school. Barbara gave the following speech to the students:

Hello to the principal, townspeople, teachers, and students. I am very happy to be here and honored to come to your school.

Students, you are why I have come. Long ago, in 1927, a tradition of sending friendship dolls began between our two countries. I bring a new doll to you today. She brings greetings of friendship to you from the students in my school in Marshfield. Our students had an election to choose her name, which is Elizabeth.

When you see Elizabeth in your school, remember your American friends. Remember that Japanese students, American students, and all the students of the whole world have the chance to grow up and work for peace, and take care of our planet.

I would like to learn more about your school and how you do things and what you learn. I will tell my students what I learn about you. Our students will send you pictures and drawings so you can see that we do many of the same things you do. As we learn more about each other, we understand more about each other. Then we all have a better chance to work for peace.

Thank you for having me to your school. I wish you to have a happy school year, full of learning and friendship. 

After the welcoming ceremony, Barbara and Melinda toured the school, participated in a Japanese tea ceremony, talked with the 3rd graders at the school, and ate lunch with the students. The students especially enjoyed joining Barbara in singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

Principal Fujino Demonstrating
Use of Parasol
The students in Barbara's third-grade class at South River Elementary in Marshfield prepared a culture box so the children in Senmaya could better understand American culture. The box included the following items:
  • student drawings
  • baseball cards
  • shells and sand from beach
  • stamps and coins
  • personal photos such as one student's cat
  • magazine cutouts of favorite foods
  • children's Sports Illustrated magazine
  • dried cranberries

Barbara believes it is important for children around the world to think of others in a global sense. She thinks that children need not only to be learn about other cultures but also to respect them.

After visiting Senmaya Elementary School, Barbara wants to continue the relationship established with the students in the school. She has several ideas about ways the students in her class and the students in Senmaya can learn and appreciate more the similarities and differences of the two countries.

Elizabeth - New Friendship Doll
Betty - Blue-eyed Doll

Special thanks to Barbara Roth for the material used to create this web page.

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