Our Town Riverview:
Symmes Teacher Selected for Fullbright Program in Japan

By Mitch Traphagen (mitch@observernews.net)

RIVERVIEW - As if being named Teacher of the Year wasn’t enough, Symmes Elementary School teacher Sue Creekmore was recently selected as a participant in the Fullbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program.

Through the program, Creekmore will spend three weeks in Japan in an effort to promote greater intercultural understanding between the two nations.

"I’ll be going to elementary, middle and high schools as well as teacher colleges to meet with children, student teachers and professors," Creekmore said. She will also attend a conference in Tokyo. "It is an opportunity for tremendous sharing. We’ll be able to share ideas and gain knowledge and innovative ideas. I’m very excited!"

Creekmore’s enthusiasm and highly apparent dedication leave little doubt as to why she was among the 200 teachers nationwide selected for the program.

It will not, however, be her first trip of this nature. A few years ago, Creekmore was involved in a program that visited schools in China.

"Education is a bridge that connects cultures and countries, it helps the make the world a better place," she said.

The stringent application process also provided her students an opportunity to see the teacher doing her homework. "The children are really excited," she said. "It was a really neat opportunity for them to see their teacher write during the application process. We encourage educational risk taking and it was a great opportunity for the children to see their teacher doing that. They were really amazed by it all."

The children, however, were more than spectators in the process. "My students have made a lot of things that I’m taking," she said. "They made a flip book that contains a letter and a picture for each letter of the alphabet. They made watercolor paintings and autobiographies that have their names and school address. We are hoping for some correspondence going back and forth."

Creekmore will have a digital camera and is hoping to send emails and photographs back to her students for updates during her three week stay. She was selected by a panel of educators from more than 2,500 applicants.

Mitch Traphagen Photo

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