Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Class of 2014 Graduates

 Ely Memorial High School Seniors graduated this evening, with Akira taking part in the ceremonies and receiving a Certificate of Attendance to commemorate his year in Ely.
Families and friends attended the event, with one graduate's brother flying in from Greece to celebrate this milestone.
As the audience waited for the start of the program, they were treated to a slide show featuring photos of each class member - both a baby picture and one from this year.  Here is the slide that was shown for Akira.

The ceremony began with a procession of the seniors, walking in to the music of  Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" and robed in caps and gowns.  Once they were seated on the stage, a favorite teacher addressed the class, two of the seniors reminded their classmates of times they had shared through the years, and then diplomas were awarded.
Each student came down and was introduced by Principal Bettin before walking across the stage to be congratulated by Superintendent Leitgeb and then School Board Chairman Marston handed them their diploma.
They next returned to their place on stage to wait for the rest of the class to receive their diplomas. Once everyone was back in their places, Principal Bettin gave the signal for the entire class to flip the tassels hanging from their mortarboards.  Moving the tassel to the right side of the head indicates they have completed this stage of their education.
And then it was time to leave the auditorium and gather on the front lawn to congratulate the new graduates.  Here you can see Akira with his certificate.

Congratulations, Akira and all the new Ely Memorial graduates!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

End of Year Events - Prom & District Conference

The end of the school year is coming closer and the biggest event prior to graduation is the prom.  Seniors and their dates wear formal clothes to be presented to the community on stage at the school auditorium, parade through the main street and visit the nursing homes before a grand party set up by the junior class at Grand Ely Lodge.

The Rotary year is also coming to a close, with the District Conference taking place in Fargo, which Akira attended along with all the other exchange students throughout the District 5580.

Akira made Ely Rotary proud with his participation in the talent show skits and his instruction for all the conference goers in the art of folding cranes.

Visiting Washington, DC

The Senior Class of Ely Memorial High School took its annual tour of Washington, DC this spring, giving Akira an opportunity to see America's Capitol and tour many of the monuments.
In the top photo you can see Akira in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, with Representative Nolan of Minnesota pointing out special features for the students.
In the second photo, the boys are grouped in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, one of the many sites they got to explore.
The last picture shows the group as they arrived to tour Mt Vernon, in the Virginia countryside near Washington.  Mt Vernon was George Washington's home and is maintained as a museum dedicated to preserving his life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

First Sight of The Grand Canyon

Visiting Apostle Islands Ice Caves and Skiing

The extreme cold temperatures this winter created a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the ice caves formed on the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.

The cold and the snow made for good skiing conditions for the Ely Nordic Ski Team, with Akira as a member.

Akira's Christmas in America

Christmas found Akira with his second host family, and the celebrations included a trip to the Duluth area for a display of Christmas lights and a visit with Mrs. Santa, followed on Christmas Day by opening presents with the Haaversens.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Football Team Plays in Viking's Stadium

After winning the sectional championship for our area, Ely's football team headed to Minneapolis on November 14 to play in the State SemiFinals.  Four busloads of Ely fans made the trip to the Metrodome to cheer for the Timberwolves, bringing along signs like the ones shown at right, and wearing the school colors.  Unfortunately, the Wolves' superb undefeated season ended that day, and Akira's US football career has come to an end.
More details HERE.

Meanwhile, the same edition of the Ely Echo featured a photo of Akira, before the game, in a section of the newspaper where a roving photographer catches people as they go about their daily lives.

Friday, October 11, 2013

This video shows Akira kicking a point after a touchdown for the undefeated Ely Timberwolves and the photo shows him with fellow high school student Cam Furniss, relaxing over the weekend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Akira is Crowned Homecoming King!!!!

The eight seniors who make up the Homecoming Court were introduced early this week and then came the announcement and the crowns:  Clara DeRemee is Queen and ...
Akira Inomata is Homecoming King!!!!

For our friends in Japan, one week of the fall school semester is designated as "homecoming" and traditionally is a chance for alumni to return to their school for a visit.  A senior boy and girl are selected by their schoolmates to reign over the festivities as the king and queen, with appearances on a parade float, at halftime of the big football game, and during the homecoming dance.

During the week there are a variety of events designed to boost school spirit, from class competitions to dress-up days to a pep rally.  Click on the photo of Akira riding in the parade for an album of Homecoming photos showing some of these activities.

Akira, as number 77, is ready to play this week and was on the field as the Timberwolves' kicker for the homecoming game September 27.  Click HERE for the Ely Echo coverage of the game, including the news that Akira split the uprights to add a point to the 54-14 score, as the Timberwolves won big.

On Wednesday, September 25, he came to the Rotary meeting to exchange banners from his home club with Ely Rotary President Diane Loughery and then posed with his host "mom" Sarah Guy-Levar for a special portrait while wearing his homecoming crown.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The weekend of September 13-15, Akira and his host family traveled to the nearest city, Duluth, Minnesota and have these photos to share.
Akira on the shore of Lake Superior -- 31,700 square miles of fresh water!

At a Japanese restaurant in Duluth, where it turned out the chef was Chinese -- now Akira knows the English word "imposter"

He misses his motorcycle!
There was time for thorough visit to the Harley Davidson Store in Hermantown.

I think he likes it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Akira Inomata is front page news in Ely, Minnesota.  Here is the article from the September 13 Ely Echo:

Ely Rotary Club is excited to welcome its first ever exchange student.  Watch these pages to learn more about our young visitor from Japan, who will live in Ely and attend Ely Memorial High School for the 2013-2014 school year.

In the photo at right, Akira is met at the Duluth airport by his host family, the Levars.  After traveling for more than 19 hours from Japan, he then had a two hour drive north and east to Ely, Minnesota, very close to the US/Canadian border.
Here he is with his host family "sister," in the family's traditional first day of school picture taken on the big rock.

If you would like to share photos and comments about Akira's exchange year, please email them to

Ely Rotary Club meets each Wednesday at lunch.  Akira has been in the US for two Wednesdays and both times he's come to the meetings.  Here he is building a sandwich at the buffet before the club gets down to the business of the day.