Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Ridder Kids" say hello from Tokyo

Email from Gary Israel,

April 30, 2008

Good afternoon everyone,

It has been a very exciting time for the "Ridder Kids" since arriving in Tokyo this past weekend. Everyone on the team is so amazed at how clean the subways, streets etc. are. The kids are really enjoying the politeness of the Japanese and their different customs i.e bowing.The students have been going to Japanese restaurants to get a taste of Japanese food.

The first photo below taken of the "Ridder Kids" was in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium the sight of the The 1964 Summer Olympics and the location of the 2008 FLL Open Asian Championship. Each of the 25 countries (56 teams) presented their banners and flags during the opening ceremonies.

The second photo shows the Ridder Kids competing at the FLL Table. During the first round match they scored a perfect 400, only accomplished by seven other FLL teams. The team finished the competition in the top half of the draw.

At the closing ceremonies yesterday the "Ridder Kids" received Honorable Mention for their hard work raising the funds needed to travel to Japan to compete at the FLL Open Asian Championship. In addition as a sign of "Gracious Professionalism" it was announced that the "Ridder Kids" were inviting the members of the Little Red School House FLL Team to join them for dinner to show their appreciation. They were the FLL team that contacted me recently to say that the students on their team had held cake sales to raise money for the Ridder Kids. See third photo of both teams.

This afternoon the team returned from a day of touring Tokyo by bus with stops at the Meiji Shrine ( see photo below), East Garden at the Imperial Palace, and finally shopping at the Akasaka shopping district.

As we prepare to leave on Thursday I want to THANK everyone who made this trip of a lifetime possible for these 10 exceptional students. I especially want to acknowledge all the hard work of the principal, Claralee Irobunda who's extraordinary efforts made this trip a reality. Of course the team's coach, Harold Smith and the other chaperones should be applauded for all they have done for the students on this trip.

As someone who has been traveling with high school students around the country over the past 9 years I can honestly say that I have never been prouder of a group of students. They represented their school, city and country as fine examples of what NYC public school students are capable of doing.


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