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Jessie Clark Student Places 2nd in Japan-Based Contest

Jessie Clark Student Places 2nd in Japan-Based Contest

An eighth grader at Jessie Clark Middle School, Aiko Kawamoto, was runner-up in an international writing competition based in Japan. The annual contest, sponsored by the nation’s largest newspaper, drew some 2.6 million submissions this year!

Aiko had submitted a book report done through the Japanese supplementary school hosted by Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, which she attends every Saturday. The book she chose -- “Upstaged” -- is about an American middle school student trying her hand at “The Music Man” musical at school. “Aiko was recognized for her ability to read and write deeply about the story from her unique perspective of living in the United States. Her daily experiences at Jessie Clark have honed her sensitivity,” said her mother, Mayu Kawamoto, who said Aiko was the only overseas student to receive an award.

The contest sponsor flew Aiko and her mom to Tokyo for the Feb. 2 awards ceremony. At the winners party afterward, they received congratulations from “Upstaged” author Diana Harmon Asher, her husband, the translator, and the publisher.

“Aiko is an incredible person,” said Jessie Clark guidance counselor Gabriel Brown, noting she is a 4.0 student whose interests include marching band, cheerleading, and community service.

Aiko in a navy blazer and pants, seated with other contestants and winners
author Diana Harmon Asher (at left) chats with Aiko at the winners party