2004 Award Recipients

Ms. Ann McCarthy
Japanese Language Category

Ms. Ann McCarthy

Ms. Ann McCarthy teaches Japanese levels 1-5 at Minneapolis-Washburn High School, where she has been instructing since 1986. She also has started middle school, as well as community education and summer enrichment programs in Japanese language and culture throughout her tenure with the Minneapolis School District.

McCarthy began her interest in Japanese as a Rotary Exchange Student to Miyagi, Japan in 1976-77. She continued her studies at the University of Minnesota, completing a major in Japanese and Elementary Education. In addition she has a Master of Education degree in the area of Second Languages and Cultures from the University of Minnesota.

Ann combined her interest of resident camping and Japanese to become the first Dean of Concordia Language Villages’ Japanese Village (Mori-No-Ike). This program started in 1988 and has grown to more than 400 villagers a year studying Japanese in the northwoods of Minnesota. McCarthy worked on and still contributes to the curriculum for this well-known language immersion program. Ann also is active in state and national endeavors for the advancement of Japanese language. She is currently on the board of the NCJLT (National Council of Japanese Language Teachers).

After experiencing growth in the program at Washburn High School, McCarthy took a year to enhance her studies in Tokyo, Japan. A true believer that one must study in the country to keep fluent, McCarthy has returned to Japan as much as possible including a summer study program at the Japan Foundation’s Urawa campus.

McCarthy is known for taking her inner-city school students on various field trips to expose them to as much Japanese culture as possible. She has taken student groups to Japan, art museums, restaurants, immersion weekends, participation regional “Japan Bowl” and encouraged all to study in Japan in the future. Ann is very proud of the many students who have graduated from Washburn and continued their education in Japanese and Japan.

McCarthy intends to use the grant money to support students attending Japanese immersion weekends at Concordia Language Villages, to develop a “Japanese Night” with her students and Minneapolis residents, and to develop technological support for a sister-school relationship with a high school in Akita, Japan.

Ms. Sharon Corologos
Humanities Category

Ms. Sharon Corologos

Ms. Sharon Corologos teaches fourth grade at Richmond Elementary School in Richmond, Vermont. In 1984, she first started teaching her fourth graders about Japanese culture. In 1987, Corologos was accepted in the Japan Study Tour offered by the Five College Center for East Asian Studies in Amherst, MA funded by the United States-Japan Foundation. As her follow-up project, she created a handbook on teaching Japanese culture to Vermont schoolchildren, which was widely distributed to Vermont schools.

Corologos continued each year to focus on teaching Japanese culture in her classroom by inviting college students from Japan and other Japanese people to her class, by involving the school’s art and music teachers in the culture study, and by organizing and supporting school wide studies about Japan in her school. In various years her students have danced, sung, or exhibited at the statewide Japan-America Society’s Matsuri event (Vermont chapter).

As one of the recipients of the University of Vermont’s Outstanding Vermont Teacher Award in 1987, Corologos has become an informal resource to other schools, and gladly shares the resources she has accumulated. In 1999, Corologos was accepted into the University of Vermont’s Asian Studies Outreach Project (ASOP), and has participated in many of its offerings. Through ASOP, Corologos has mentored a Japanese intern in her classroom, attended and presented at Japanese culture workshops, and assisted as a co-leader for ASOP’s Institute in Japan. In June 2004, Corologos will lead that Institute for Vermont teachers.

In this 2003-2004 school year, Corologos is serving on the Vermont Governor’s Council on International Education, chairing her school’s multicultural parent-teacher committee, and involving her students in a web page and e-mail project with a school in Tottori Japan. Additionally, she is co-leading a teacher-parent Asian theme book club at school, and supporting other classrooms in her school as they study Japanese culture.

Corologos will utilize grant funds to develop a school wide artist-in-residence program enabling students in her school to learn about various Japanese arts.