In addition to the five characters featured in Time for School: 2003 -2016, we have also been following the journey of Ken in Japan since 2003. As with the rest of our students, we went back and caught up with him recently. His story was featured on PBS NewsHour in September 2015.
On his first day of school, Ken Higashiguchi could already read and write because he attended a pre-K in one of the world’s finest educational systems. Ken’s parents aren’t wealthy, but in Japan, the cost of private day care programs is affordable to virtually everyone. Ken is an eager student and, as an only child, he has been showered with after-school programs, including English lessons, swimming, tennis, baseball and soccer. When we went back to film with him in 2014, we found an engaged and compassionate young man. He was respected by his teammates at the captain of his school’s baseball team and led a fundraising effort for the victims of the 2011 earthquake that devastated Japan. Today, Ken is a sophomore at Tenri University, studying to become a P.E. teacher. He recently became a students’ coach for his university’s baseball team and has been learning coaching skills and supporting the team members every day.