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North Eugene High School Receives Japanese Grant

Karen Richards

Here's a quiz. What two languages are taught at North Eugene High School? Spanish is the first. But the second? It's Japanese. The school received a grant today (Tuesday) from the Japanese Consul General.

Nathan Goldberg starts his Japanese 1 class at North Eugene High School. Down the hall, a Japanese 3 class begins. Overall, 120 students at the school are studying the language. Consul General Hiroshi Furusawa says Oregon has a strong Japanese language presence:

Furusawa: "This state, per capita, number two, after Hawaii."

Furusawa says all electives have been suffering as schools struggle to balance budgets. But he thinks Japanese is important in Oregon, especially as the number of Japanese companies here is rising:

Furusawa: "I think it's essential that we have people with a good understanding of Japanese to be hired by these companies invested here in Oregon."

Furusawa says the language training translates to jobs. He presented a check for more than 18-thousand dollars to North Eugene High School, to help pay for staff who teach Japanese. Of the 47 Oregon schools that teach the language, North was the only one to receive a grant.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.