Japan travel plans in limbo

One trip carries on, while another is postponed

One group of Japanese visitors will still make the trip to the Peninsula, while a contingent from here will postpone their travels to the ravaged country.

Two weeks after their country was ravaged by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, a group of Japanese students ages 10 to 14 will make a planned trip to Canada. The students of Bayside middle school will “treat them like gold” while they’re here, March 25 to 28 explained the principal.

“We thought they might cancel but they’re saying right now … that they’re coming,” said Shirley Elm.

The group will be greeted Friday at Bayside, spend the weekend, and a day at school Monday before heading home.

An older group of Saanich School District students may not get their trip after the devastation.

A group of Stelly’s students was bound for Japan the day after the earthquake and tsunami. With that flight cancelled, the trip was postponed.

“Upon further review, as the weekend unfolded, we put a postponement on the trip,” explained principal Bruce Frith. “We’ll have to review the outcomes of what’s continuing to transpire out there.”

The Japan trip is a tradition that dates back to the ‘80s and last year Stelly’s hosted Japanese students. With that ongoing relationship, the student body has taken on the role of fundraisers.

“The student community has really stepped up in the past,” Frith said, referring to previous fundraisers for countries like Haiti. “Once again the kids are coming forward.” As they fundraise among themselves with friendly competitions, the leadership and arts students are coming together to offer another of the school’s well-attended benefit concerts.

The concert is April 13 at 7 p.m. at Stelly’s. Funds raised will go to the Canadian Red Cross.