RACINE — Kenneth Wagner, a Racine Unified School District educator at Horlick High School from 1955 to 1986, retired from a craft he perfected for 31 years.
However, he didn’t retire as an educator. He continues providing “learning conditions” for Racine area youth.
When approached by the Racine Sister City Planning Council to partner with them and the Kiwanis Club of Racine, assisting three area youth visit Racine’s sister city, Oiso, Japan, he accepted the challenge without hesitation.
Tai Klyzab-Kalmar (Horlick High School) became interested in Japanese culture in elementary school and dreams of teaching English in Japan. Jephrey Valliere (REAL School) noted his native language (Ojibwe) resembled Japanese word structure and dreamed of exploring his heritage. Krysta Venegas (St. Catherine’s High School) wanted to probe her interests in marine biology dreaming of this as a potential career choice.
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These interests and their skills in expressing them helped the selection process for the Sister City Planning Council. This group of “dreamers” made up the 2017 delegation to visit Oiso.
Their itinerary included meetings with Mayor Hisao Nakasaki and other city officials, as well as Oiso’s Sister City Committee. The delegation visited local attractions and participated in area celebrations.
They stayed with Oiso families immersing them in Japanese culture and tradition. These experiences and more enhanced pursuit of their dreams and provided numerous learning opportunities.