Displaced school badminton club moves back to campus（ふたば未来・バド部...猪苗代校舎閉校）
The badminton club at Futaba Future High School in Fukushima Prefecture is moving its base to its main campus in Hirono in April, after having evacuated to Inawashiro High School in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The club used to be at Tomioka High School, which was closed following the quake and the disaster caused from accidents at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Inawashiro High School accepted the Tomioka High School badminton club as a satellite school club in May 2011, and also provided the students with schoolrooms at Futuba Future High School's Inawashiro branch.
Futaba Future High School was established in April 2015 with the aim of fostering human resources for the reconstruction of the Futaba district, which was seriously damaged in the disaster.
The badminton club is one of the most prestigious high school programs in the country. It produced many famous badminton players while at Tomioka High School, including Kento Momota, who has had success on the world stage.
A closing ceremony for Futuba Future High School's Inawashiro branch was held at Inawashiro High School on March 15. Prior to the ceremony, students of the branch school expressed their gratitude toward Inawashiro High School students. Students of both high schools bade farewell to each other, while remembering the days they spent together.
At the closing ceremony, former Tomioka High School principal Masahiro Yamazaki recalled the days during which the Futaba district's education plan was about to collapse due to the disaster, but he did not give up and finally found Inawashiro as a place that might accommodate students from the area.
"The classroom allocated at Inawashiro High School made me feel dreams looking at the whole world. And [the students'] achievements since then became an absolute hope for Futaba," he said.
San Goto, a second-year student and captain of the boys badminton club, expressed his determination while shedding tears, saying: "I will never forget my debt of gratitude toward the three towns of Tomioka, Inawashiro and Hirono, as they really supported us. Although it is small repayment for their kindness, we will do our best at the national championships and inter-high school competitions, so that both the male and female teams will win team champion titles."
A memorial plate was set up on Inawashiro High School's premises to indicate that both Tomioka High School and Futaba Future High School students spent their school days together.
Students reminisced while looking at the plate on which the eight-year history is carved. One of them said, "This is like a legend, isn't it?"
During the gathering for Futaba Future High School students to express their gratitude to Inawashiro High School students, about 100 first- and second-year students and teachers from the two schools participated.
Nanami Someya, a Futaba Future High School second-year student and captain of the girls badminton club said: "I have come to love the town of Inawashiro so much. Many Inawashiro High School students cheered me up, and I was encouraged by their words."
Genki Watanabe, a second-year student and president of Inawashiro High School's student council, recalled memories of activities they did together and told the departing students: "Never forget the time you spent at Inawashiro. I want you to keep on shining at Hirono. We shall continue to encourage you from Inawashiro."
Futaba Future High School presented to Inawashiro High School a clock to tell the time in the school building, and a photo panel of the badminton club members to Inawashiro High School as souvenirs.
Inawashiro High School gave in return a sapling of a rowan tree, a species symbolizing the town. Ayane Ito, a second-year student representing the school, said, "We would be so happy if you would remember us when you see [the sapling's] autumn leaves."
（ Translated by The Japan News ）
【 ２０１９年３月１６日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】
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