MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Matthew C. Perry High School opened its doors during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 3, 2017.
The 165,000 square foot high school is located next to the Kawashimo housing area.
Leading up to the ribbon cutting, Lorenzo Brown, principal of M.C. Perry High School, Elizabeth Erhart and Alexis Mojica, seniors at M.C. Perry High School, and many others gave remarks to attending guests and students before Jeffrey Carr, assistant principal of M.C. Perry High School, presented a time capsule, which is scheduled to be opened in 30 years.
“We put this time capsule together with five classes’ souvenirs inside,” said Carr. “The seventh grade put pictures and mementos inside. The eighth grade put a bunch of humor inside. As humor changes from generation to generation, they want to know if what they said will be funny 30 years from now. The ninth grade signed a t-shirt with personal messages. The tenth graders gave past and present advice, things they have said to themselves and possibly to their own children in the future. The 11th grade provided a signed agenda planner and a collage page that every student put something on and the 12th grade put a signed scarf inside. Also inside is the first football championship that we have ever taken home.”
U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard F. Fuerst, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni, Lorenzo Brown, Jeffrey Carr, Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni City, and Iwakuni officials conducted the ribbon-cutting ceremony, signifying the grand opening of the new facility.
Construction of the new $67 million school began August 2014 and finished August 2016. The school includes a 400 meter track, artificial turf soccer and football field, a concession stand and 1,000 seat spectator grandstand.
“Through partnership with the base the Japanese are building world-class facilities to meet demanding requirements,” said Brian Wottowa, the director of the Defense Policy Review Initiative, Integrated Management Office. “The schools are particular, because they will benefit not only the U.S. children, but also those who frequently visit from off base. Iwakuni has a long history of sharing cultures and educational opportunities between the base and local schools, and these new facilities will further deepen an already strong relationship.”
Replacing the old 38,000 square foot high school built in 1986 and costing approximately $3 million, the new high school provides improved security, resources and opportunities for students and staff.
“Anything you would want in a school to meet the students’ needs, we have,” said Brown. “We have increased the number of opportunities to interact with Japanese schools. The mayor has expressed his desire to have local schools interact with us at our new facilities, and we recently had local students here with us to practice for the upcoming friendship concert.”
New features in the school include electric combination locks, a student kitchen, bigger classrooms and hallways, an auditorium with a hand-stitched stage curtain, a garden for classes and students to grow their own food and an amphitheater.
“The amphitheater serves a couple of purposes,” said Brown. “One is a historical mark; it represents the 13 ships that sailed around Japan for trade with Commodore Matthew Perry who came as a representative of the U.S. Government in 1853. It also doubles as a place for our drama students to practice their craft on a nice day. You can stand in the circle and it will sound like you are speaking into a microphone.”
Wottowa said they are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Japanese government and their partners. This success is a great example of the value of our unique partnership and dedication to mutually supporting each other well into the future.