A group of young students from Ishinomaki, Japan got to visit a former teacher's home town in Richmond Thursday. All seven middle school students are former students of Taylor Anderson.
Anderson was a Chesterfield native who lived, worked and died in Japan when a tsunami hit the coast just after a devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011.
These students got a trip of a lifetime thanks to the Taylor Anderson memorial fund and the Tokyo YMCA.
Taylor's parents helped make this trip possible.
"She used to teach them about Virginia and now they'll get to see parts of Virginia and Richmond, so they're going to get to see a lot of the things that she talked to them about," said Anderson's dad, Andy Anderson.
"It's a wonderful connection and it's a connection where people back in Japan will know they're not forgotten," said Anderson's mom, Jeanne Anderson.
The students were invited to be a part of St. Catherine's family festival night where they got to hang out with kids their own age and get a feel for the life Anderson had here.
"She was a part of this school and I'm a part of this school too, so I kind of feels like a connection. When they came it was felt even more because they were students of hers and they can kind of talk about it," said St. Catherine's student, Caitlin Biggs.
Maika Sugiyamoa remembers Anderson through her sisters who couldn't make the trip but are here in spirit. Sugiyamoa commented through an interpreter that everything in America is bigger.
Yuhi Ambe says she remembers laughing with Anderson and practicing her English just days before the earthquake.
Inside the dining hall at St. Catherine's School – 7 Japanese students laughed, shared memories, and met new friends - even practiced their English, just like how Anderson would have wanted it.
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