The Seikei Exchange

Tenley Rooney
Celebrating 70 years of scholarship and friendship with the Seikei School

Seventy years ago, Minoru “Ben” Makihara ’50 made a two-month voyage by boat and train from Tokyo, Japan, to Concord, New Hampshire, on a one-way ticket. He was the first student from the Seikei School in Tokyo to study at St. Paul’s School as part of the Seikei Exchange. This cross-cultural interchange between institutions was spearheaded by former Rector Henry C. Kittredge to encourage the development of globally conscious leaders through the understanding of culture, language, and shared scholarship. In the years since Makihara’s journey, numerous students from Seikei and SPS have benefited from this exchange. Since then, the schools have shared an exchange of scholarship, culture, and language with the mutual goal of developing globally conscious leaders.
The School community celebrated this decades-long relationship of goodwill in Chapel on Monday, October 21, with representatives from the Seikei School present. Director of Chapel Music Nicholas White composed music honoring the bond between the schools. White performed the piece, titled Seikei, during Chapel alongside students William Albright ’20, Kay Zou ’21, the Chapel Choir, and faculty members Orlando Pandolfi and Mary Dolch, and his wife, Kate Jensik.
“Just as Mr. Makihara accepted the invitation offered by Rector Kittredge to bring the world to our rural New Hampshire campus, students today from Seikei bring the wisdom, grace, and dignity of their traditions, while students from St. Paul’s School likewise travel east to promote our School’s traditions of study, service, and sacrifice,” said Rector Kathleen C. Giles in her Chapel address. “For the past 70, and through all of the astonishing winds of change that have enveloped the world, the Seikei-SPS partnership has remained a steady beacon of generosity, understanding, and optimism.”
Sayaka Atobe, principal of both the Seikei Junior and Senior High Schools, commended the efforts of those who made the program a reality years before. “I want to express my gratitude to these brave individuals who created this relationship,” remarked Atobe. Both schools, continued Atobe, celebrate diversity, and use it as a tool to nurture future generations of learners.