Woodland Teacher Sews Up Trip to Japan
Byline: Carolyn Waller
Woodland consumer science teacher Pam Gehrke is packing up needle and thread and heading to Japan in November.
One of 200 educators selected from a pool of more than 2,000 applicants, she is in the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program.
A teacher since 1972, Gehrke now teaches sewing to sixth- and seventh-graders at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee. She has been at Woodland for five years.
She said the trip will not be so foreign to her. Gehrke had a Japanese pen pal several years ago and that person still lives in Tokyo. Also, her daughter had a Japanese exchange student live with them once.
Gehrke's application included a plan for how to introduce Japanese culture in America. One of her ideas is sewing stories inside the sash of a kimono for use by children.
Educators start out in Tokyo, where they will receive orientation on Japanese life and culture as well as meet with Japanese government officials and educators.
The program, sponsored by the government of Japan, was launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. government Fulbright program. The program has allowed more than 6,000 Japanese citizens to study in America on Fulbright scholarships for graduate education and research.
A total of 600 teachers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are visiting Japan this year. So far, the program has provided 2,700 primary and secondary teachers with the chance to visit Japan.
For more information on the program and the 2002 competition year, contact the Institute of International Education at 1 (888) 527-2636.
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