Celina Lucy Rappaport

1972: Grade 7

What have you been doing since leaving HIS?

After 7 years at HIS, I attended Matthew C Perry High School in (MCAS Iwakuni) and graduated in 1977 and went to International Christian University in Tokyo for a a year and a half. I then moved to Sydney Australia and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine University of Sydney and have lived in Australia ever since. I’m a General Practitioner, a wife and a mom. I’ve appeared for NHK TV as a local presenter and co-hosted a video series for Japanese teaching and learning support programs. I still keep in touch with some HIS school mates.

What are your fondest memories of your time at HIS?

Mrs Koizumi, the caretaker who used to live in the granny flat behind the classrooms in Ushita ‘campus’, Mrs Hilden who swapped her sandwich for mine (I didn’t want to eat my tuna sandwich in first grade, and started crying!), learning and singing the national anthems of the country of origin of the children attending HIS at the annual Christmas shows (eg US, Canada, Australia, Greece, Japan, UK) and getting to ring the bell when it was time to come in from recess in the public park across the road from the school. Art classes with Abe-sensei, the entire school singing for the 1970 World Expo on NHK with the NHK children’s chorus. etc etc.

What impact has your time at HIS had on your life?

I learned that being different was great and that I could rise to any challenge because my teachers believed in me. I learned to adapt: Embracing, not just accepting differences in culture, religion, age and ability. Learning to ‘make do’ with limited supplies, text books and space (we’re talking about the ’60s…) Most children only attended HIS for 2-3 years, and student numbers were small (anything from 12-24 students total enrolment) so friends were constantly changing. It meant you learned the value of friendship, learned to live for the moment, learned to accept each parting without becoming negative and learned to live with the hope that one day you all will meet again (and we still do!).

Any other comments that you would like to share?

In the 60’s and 70’s the school board, comprising mainly of parents, took great care in selecting exceptionally skilled and compassionate teachers, a hallmark of HIS which no doubt continues to this day.