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Two Jefferson County teachers awarded study in Japan

August 20, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Two Jefferson County teachers will join 200 educators from across the country this October for a three-week study project in Japan, according to school officials.

Science teacher Tucker Wells and art teacher Judy Chesley were selected from 2,500 teachers in the country to participate in the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program.

The two teachers will spend three weeks in Japan studying the country's educational system and other cultures.

The idea is to bring the experiences back home and integrate them into lessons in local schools, according to Wells and Chesley.

Wells, who will study schools in Hiroshima, plans to put together a classroom study that will compare Japan's climate with that of the U.S.

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Japan is a densely populated country, and Wells said he wants to see how the country is dealing with acid rain and climatic changes, including drought.

Wells also wants to build a model of a Japanese space station in his classroom. Japan and the U.S. have been cooperating on development of space stations, and Wells said he hopes to learn more about the efforts while in Japan.

"Any time I can do something to be a better teacher, I like to do that," Wells said.

Chesley will stay in Takayama Gifa, a rural area in central Japan.

Chesley plans to study ancient Japanese art forms such as calligraphy and introduce them to local students.

Wells was Teacher of the Year in Jefferson County in 1994, and Chesley received the honor in 1997. Wells, a 7th grade teacher at Charles Town Junior High, has been teaching for 24 years, and Chesley, art teacher at South Jefferson Elementary, has been teaching for 20 years.

The Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program, which is funded by the Japanese government, allows distinguished primary and secondary school teachers, as well as higher education officials, to study in Japan and promote greater cultural understanding between Japan and the U.S.

Wells and Chesley will fly to San Francisco on Oct. 3 for a orientation conference, then head to Japan.

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