Forever 20

Japanese National Honor Society celebrates Japanese teacher’s birthday


Sunjin Chang, News Editor

On September 19, passersby B201 would have heard a group of students singing “Happy Birthday” during every period as Japanese teacher Keiko Howard celebrated her birthday. Howard is often referred to as “Sensei,” as this is the proper way to refer to a teacher in Japan. Howard told her students that it was her 20th birthday, a running joke in all of her classes.

During lunch, Japanese National Honor Society hosted their second meeting of the year in her classroom. Students poured in, as many were already aware that that the real purpose of the meeting was to celebrate Howard’s birthday.

This event was planned a few days prior by the JNHS officer team, under the instruction of JNHS president and senior Sabrina Stone.

“I thought we needed another club meeting this month,” Stone said. “And I thought it would be a good idea to do it on Sensei’s birthday and just do something nice for her.”

The event offered free dango, a sweet dumpling made from mochi also a popular Japanese snack. JNHS officers also organized a variety of written cards for Howard, and students thanked her for her patience with the class.

Howard is the only language teacher at MVHS and teaches all five levels. JNHS secretary and senior Christina Wu respects Howard’s dedication to teaching and spreading the culture to MVHS students.

“Sensei is super patient and really hard working since she lives in San Francisco, she needs to commute here every single day,” Wu said. “She has a lot of burden on her and she does a really good job in teaching all these classes so we wanted to repay our thanks today through our JNHS club by giving her a small happy birthday celebration.”

The turnout for the event was better than anticipated, as students from all of Howard’s classes showed up to celebrate the day with her. JNHS Vice President Sophia Liu believes that celebrating Howard’s birthday is a way of preserving her youth, as she is always energetic and open to the latest trends among her students.

“[We wanted] to preserve Sensei’s youth by celebrating her 20th birthday,” Liu said. “We always want Sensei to be young and healthy.”