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Four Moanalua High School AP and Level 4 Japanese students had their business proposal deemed most effective by Japan Airlines (JAL) Hawaii executives in its annual exchange program on March 8. Students’ language skills were put into full flight when they were tasked to develop solutions to CO2 pollution, an unbalanced workstyle, and customer service.
Five groups of students spent over a month’s time researching background information related to the three topics picked by JAL. CO2 pollution is a growing concern in Japan and an issue that the company is addressing since airplane emissions are a large contributor. JAL is also interested in improving employee well-being and work efficiency with a more balanced work lifestyle.
Since 2017, the exchange with JAL has been offered to upper-level Japanese language students. It is an “opportunity to connect with a company [to] utilize Japanese for [non-class] purposes,” Japanese teacher Jamielynn Tateyama said.
“They had to understand work-life culture…and environmental issues in Japan,” Tateyama said.
“A substantial amount of research was needed…because [the topics were] outside of our language learning section,” Japanese language student Emma Kauhini said.
Presentations were given entirely in Japanese over WebEx through video format, each one lasting between five to ten minutes. Seven judges—consisting of JAL Hawaii Vice President, regional manager, and other higher-up administrators—ultimately chose Group 1 which included: Emma Kauhini, Ashley Koga, Andrew Lin, and Kana Wang. Their breaking news-style video paired with a strong Japanese speaking level set them above the rest.
“[We were] surprised with their style, and… news format,” JAL Senior Assistant Hironami Yamamoto said. “They learned the topics very well.”
“I absolutely did not anticipate being picked by JAL,” Andrew Lin said.
When reflecting upon their challenges, the group noted the level of professionality required to present to such a large company. “We struggled to find formal words,” Kana Wang said.
“It was [difficult] speaking as the anchorman. A fluent Japanese speaker speaks at quite a fast pace, even more so for an anchorman who needs to keep his bearing…I had to run my lines repeatedly,” Lin said.
Ashley Koga pointed out that “ it was [hard] to make the video professionally.”
“The students went over and beyond,” Tateyama said. “We’re connecting language with the community [and are] really grateful to have this partnership with [JAL]. They’re enabling the students to have a real-life presentation [that will be] really useful and beneficial for the[m] personally.”
“It’s the fact that we have students from our school learning really difficult topics and produce an original plan,” Tateyama said of the value of the annual sharing experience.
“Ever since I was little, my family has entrusted JAL to fly us from place to place. So being able to present and share ideas with my childhood airline was quite an honor,” Wang said.