Colorful banners and signs for Japanese class were put up around the school in March to inform students that the Japanese department is eager for more enrollment.
“The numbers are gradually going down, so the Japanese I and II classes will be combined next year,” Japanese teacher Patricia Powers said.
Photo by Phoebe Mussman
Students answer Patricia Powers’s question of the day in third hour Japanese class.
Currently the first hour Japanese I class contains five students; it will have 13 students next year when the classes are joined.
The classes’ hours change every year.
“Japanese class is something most people don’t take,” freshman Caroline Losch said. “I love it because the culture is something really interesting to learn about.”
Japanese classes aren’t offered at Hixson Middle School, so high school students only have the options of class levels one through four.
They often take it for career reasons, or in the majority case, for better understanding Japanese anime.
“That’s the reason most of them are here,” Powers said.
The Japanese language has three main alphabets, and the Japanese I class learns the two simpler ones.
The third alphabet, made up of symbols rather than letters, is taught in Japanese II.
“I always wanted to learn Japanese, and I felt up to the challenge,” junior Edward Flynn said about joining the class.
“The question I get most is: ‘Is it hard?’” Powers stated. “Well, I teach at a level that is easy enough for new students, so it’s the same level of difficulty as the French and Spanish classes.”
Powers lived in a coastal region in Japan for three years and has taught at WGHS for seven years now.
“The Japanese classes have been here years before me, at least 12 years. Maybe more,” Powers said.