Regarding the 10th anniversary of the Grossman Academy
On 2007/04/28, we were able to successfuly finish the Grossman Academy 10th anniversary memorial event. We thank the parents for the myriad assitance provided, and hope that in Grossman Academy will continue for 15-20 more years. Shown below are proceedings as well as the principal's message.
(From the Master of Ceremonies, trustee Tani).
From the left: Chairman of Board of Directors Mr. Natsuki, Grossman sensei, Trustee mr Tani (10th Anniversary M.C.)
Grossman Academy has come to its 10th Anniversary!
Grossman Academy, a school for Japanese students, was founded 10 years ago in a small corner of Palo Alto, CA. The small school started out with the hope that, regardless of where they live, students will hold a strong japanese core and identity, while having a global education and thought.
If within these 10 years, or 480 days worth of saturdays, I was unable to achieve this initial goal, I would not have thought of holding a 10th anniversary event. However, this year Grossman Academy became able to proudly tout the goal of turning every student into a genius.
Within these 10 years the school has grown. The students have all grown. Grossman Academy has become a school for the transformation of students. Everyone holds as truth that this school is able to create a radical change in intellect. Over 50 students have already graudated and are studying and working as pros of their trade in the global stage.
Because we grow each year, the point we have reached this 10th year is brighter and better than before. Not only are the new graduates going to globally 1st rate universities, the current students are all each talented. Therefore, the school happily held its 10th anniversary memorial lectures.
Without seeking for lecturers from the outside, we already have talented professionals within. From the parents, we gathered the top pros of each field, and had them lecture. Each gave us spectacular lectures as elders at life as well as professionals. They are the following people.
Grossman Academy trusstee Mr. Arai Shintaro （Space Sattelite Engineer）
Medibic Group CEO Mr . Yasuhiro Hashimoto
Mr. Hakuji Natsuki (semiconductor technician and math romanticist)
In addition, thought they were unable to attend, there are those who have written us speeches. Those speeches are listed below.
Regarding Grossman Sensei
Congratulations on Grossman Academy 10th anniversary. Although I had wanted to meet each of you personally and give congrats, schedules did not allow for it, and I have written a document instead. I had worked for 22 years at the North American Mainichi Newspaper's, published in San Francisco, as an editor and retired 3 and a half years ago. I had known Reiko Grossman sensei since 1988.
When I first saw her, I wrote the human exposition essay "Flight". Reading the characteristics of Grossman Academy on its homepage, I first felt that Grossman sensei's principles have not changed at all. What was written there was the same things I had written in 1988. In addition, I was moved by the student essays which showed how they wanted the school. I strongly hope that Japanese teachers, as well as administrators in the ministry of education, who cry of class dropout and bullying, learn from Grossman sensei. Grossman sensei was born in Ibaraki, and grew up in Tokyo from 2nd grade. Graduated the Tokyo women's university with a major in English literature, married Mr Grossman and moved to the US in '74, and Published the book "My America, My Son's America" in '84. It is quite an interesting book which shows the America seen through her eyes, her son's attendance in elementary school, and her son.
Hiramoto Atsuyo (North American Mainichi Newspaper former head editor)
From around this time, sensei taught in South Alameda Buddhist Church's Japanese school, and from '89 taught in Japanese Language School. At the time, the Language School began to ostracize sensei for putting up students' poetry on the North American Mainichi, in otherwords, a reaction against the competent. Because of this , Grossman sensei quit the school in '97 and with the support of parents began the Grossman Academy.
I believe it was around this time when I received a note from readers who stated that they were moved by the students' poetry and would like to encourage and praise them. Consulting Grossman Sensei, I had them send a dozen or so students Gift Certificates to Kinokuniya (a Japanese booksctore). The poetry of the young moved the hearts of old. Is it not wonderful that one can express their feelings and there is someone who is moved by it? Having been in a newspaper for a long time, I too have been encouraged countless times.
At the end of last month, I was forwarded a email from a professor at Fukushima university. He explained that he had read a certain article around '89 in the North American Mainichi newspaper. Currently, he was planning on publishing his work, but he wanted to place the article which gave him the inspiration for his work in the introduction, and so he wanted the full text. Those who are working as editors now weren't there in '89, so not understanding which article he meant, they forwarded the email to me. From the contents of the professor's research, I surmised that he was talking about Grossman sensei's series column "America's blue-collar wives". Opening my file on Grossman sensei, I found the spare draft of this article; looking quickly I discovered it was very close to what the professor was talking of. Normally, editorial department doesn't archive drafts but instead keep drafts for one month in case of complaints, and trash it soon after. However, I had kept the draft of "America's blue-collar wives", perhaps I felt a strange compulsion not to throw it away. I quickly sent the professor a copy/ Apparently this article 20 years ago had caught the eye of the professor who was at the time working at University of wisconsin madison as a guest researcher. His colleague had subscribed to the North American Mainichi, and he had seen his colleague's copy each week. I was forced to reacknowledge the power of print media.
Meanwhile, as soon as she started teaching at Japanese Language School, grossman sensei started to teach at Freemont's oloni college. One year later, she was called by adult school to teach. Even after quitting the Language School, sensei taught Japanese to various adults who had come to learn of Japan. Those men and women of advanced education were of many ethnicities, but sensei realized all had an attitude and passion to learning similar to many Japanese. Try imagining the passion and energy sensei put in towards those men and women. Currently, Grossman Academy has a school rule which reads "We do not allow students who belittle and do not love Japanese". This came from sensei's belief that Japanese is a treasure to be taught, but there is an episode behind how this became a rule.
Around the year 2000, when she opened a party which attempted to mix Japanese and American students, one of the Japanese students said to an American one "I hate Japanese, Japanese is an incomplete language". His father apparently taught him that "Japanese is not suited for science". Sensei had this student quit, that is how passionate she is. Though this is just one example, sensei is utilizing the experience of 2 American and 1 Japanese school to create a new paradigm and method in education in Grossman Academy.
In Grossman Academy's wanted ad "Creating Geniuses" there is no mention of an entrance exam. I heard that when class reaches a certain number, she doesn't accept any further students, and I felt that was archetypically her. Sensei believes in the possibilites of each and every one of you. Sensei sees her mission as finding that which shines within you, that which you yourself dont know exists. How many students have already had their talents discovered by sensei.
Grossman Sensei is a truly amazing sensei. Though her hair has become white, her belief and passion has not a single bleached spot. She is a person of words as well as action. You are all truly fortunate to be able to be taught by such a teacher in such an important period. I truly hope for the health of Grossman sensei and you all, as well as the development of Grossman academy.
Seyfert sensei's speech
Takagi sensei's speech
Dokko sensei's speech
Regarding Grossman Sensei
We first started to relate with Grossman Sensei because of the introduction of a family friend Mr Fukuda. In 1995, the Fukudas were touched by Grossman sensei's idea that even in America, one ought to have a model japanese education, and started the Grossman Academy. Our second son, who was in 3rd year of his high school at the time, was taught by Grossman sensei. Though I had forgotten why this happened, Grossman sensei suddenly said "The Japanese are bad at self expression, but I would like them to become global citizens. For that I would like to make mandatory a performance class of singing, acting, or speech". Mr Fukui asked us to help, and my wife with her acting experience taught the acting class, and I with my corporate speaking experience taught speech. Because the students go to an english school from monday to friday, and come to Grossman only on saturdays, we had to plan our classes to not be a burden.
During speech, we started with things to reduce student pressure such as voice practice and talking without eyecontact. We planned the course to be starting with a short self introduction, going to easy contents like likes and dislikes, and finally going to a 10 minute speech without script. Though I was constantly worried over the students who were shy and frightened, they slowly gained confidence and in 6 months the students were able to confidently give speeches. I myself was highly moved by the high potential in all of the students. Though I did speech for 2 years, the students noted that the performance class placed a large burden, so we stopped. However, the class was an important experience both for the students as well as myself.
Mr. and Mrs. Yamaguchi former Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In addition, since Grossman Academy would have a tough time with taxes without Non profit approval, Grossman sensei asked me to become the first Chairman of the Board of Directors so that a school structure could be made. When the state sent inspectors to see whether or not Grossman Academy was fit as a school, they interviewed the students. Though I was worried, since the students talked honestly about Grossman Academy, we were able to get approval from the state. Though there were no jobs as chairman, I tried to go to Grossman as often as I could when not on trips. Though Grossman sensei and I sometimes had disagreements over running the school, I was often moved by her passion. Though it is a school started by the hands of a few, I hope that, as it is approved by the Japanese ministry of education, Grossman Academy will grow further. (Yamaguchi Yoshifumi)
I cannot forget the time I first went to class after being asked to help the drama class. Though I was supposed to be just a helper, I was the only adult, with no script, only a dozen hours till show, and just the date of presentation. It was the worst condition for creating a drama. Though I was taken aback and wanted to escape, I was pushed forward(?) by the students who wanted to do it because Grossman sensei said so. I made (no, I had) the students write the script, and started practice once it was done. Right when it was done, the main lead was struck by sickness, but still we put on the act, certainly a chaotic beginning.
Eventually we did 3 acts in 2 years, but each has its own memories. The first was completely a student made script, which was about a girl who had come to America deal with assimilation, and dealing with the reverse culture shock once back in japan. However, since the lead actor switched at the last minute, we rewrote parts of the script, making it a play-in-play, reenacting the drama class, which ended up well. For the second, I didn't feel like writing a script, and bought many scripts for highschoolers when I went to Japan. Since there were many students who wanted to do drama, I picked one with a large cast, however this script put a large burden on the leads, and I felt there was an immense burden on those who already had enough work from regular school. Even then I felt proud of the students who managed to remember their lines. For the last, I was able to make it possible because of 3 active girls. Thinking back, I think that the play may have been for a male school. The reason I picked that was since the past 2 plays were similar to the actual life of students, so I decided to pick something different and enjoy the act of acting. Because of that, the last play with the two deaths and male students was something both the students and I enjoyed. Though it is questionable that these three plays taught some skill to the students, I believe that it helped them realize that no matter the condition, one can accomplish anything with determination.
My two sons were taken care of by Grossman Sensei (The eldest one at Japanese Language School). I wonder what magic she used when I see my son, who could not write at all until 2nd year of Highschool now writes reports at a research company. Thank you so much. I hope for the further growth of Grossman Academy. (Yamaguchi Riyuko)