YIS 2024 Centennial Year & Alumni Reunions

YIS 2024 Centennial Year & Alumni Reunions

by alumni Arthur Yoshinami ('74), Kaz Matsumoto ('90)  & Kaoru Fukui ('95)

Our school will be celebrating its centenarian milestone in 2024. There are many events planned around the 2024 - 2025 school year to recognize and celebrate this milestone. The newly-formed Alumni Association Launching Committee, run by several Dragons from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, will work closely with the school to help alumni celebrate this milestone and enjoy their reunions in Yokohama. Why create an alumni association? Read this article by three alumni on the efficacy of creating an alumni association.

The school started its operation in 1924 but did not start a high school until 1969. The first high school graduating class of nine students represented the Class of 1973. Today, we have over sixty students in the Class of 2023 graduating on June 3rd, as the 51st graduating class - a very important milestone for our school on the eve of its centenarian birthday. Building meaningful relationships between students and alumni is important for the graduating students' lifecycle, as well as for the strategic growth and advancement of the School.

The graduating classes of the 1970s were small, comprised of perhaps ten to twenty students who are now starting to retire from their professional lives. The Launching Committee believes it is a good time to organize an Alumni Association for the future of the school, students, and community. The school, parents and alumni have all contributed to building alumni engagement programs throughout the history of the school, from periodic reunions at the YCAC; to school anniversary dinners at the Pan Pacific Hotel; capital fund-raising for new campuses; alumni directories, etc. We appreciate and recognize their efforts and must build an alumni foundation for seamless, continuous activities. Recently, the Alumni Association Launching Committee was formed by liked minded alums to work with the school to form our Alumni Association to further develop alumni engagement programs.

Alumni reminisce over Chowa yearbooks during the on-campus BBQ on May 5, 2023.

Over 40 alumni, former staff, and their guests joined current staff for our first alumni reunion on-campus on May 5, 2023.

In parallel to commemorating the school’s centennial events in October 2024, the Committee will work on organizing an alumni welcome event calendar for visiting alumni classes. A group of alumni led a series of reunion events in November 2018 in conjunction with the school Food Fair, which included a large reunion dinner at the Rose Hotel in Chinatown, followed by smaller group events like field trips, school visits and class dinners. We plan to organize a welcome platform for visiting alumni for the 2024 celebrations. 

Alumni from the classes of 2011 to 2016 joined current students
and parents of current students for an afternoon of friendly soccer in the early Spring of 2023.

We hope many of our alumni from around the world will be able to join centennial events and alumni events in 2024. We are conducting preliminary surveys with alumni to understand their interests in events such as formal dinners and field trips, among others. In order to plan and facilitate a welcome platform, we are looking for volunteer class representatives from alumni. Please write to the Alumni Association Launch Committee representatives with your name, graduating class year, and preferred contact email address if you are interested in becoming a class representative. With just over one year until the celebrations on campus, our excitement is building, and our memories of our time as students and friends grows stronger. We look forward to meeting you in 2024!

Alumni Association Launching Committee representatives
Arthur Yoshinami 1974 (ayoshinami@gmail.com)
Kaz Matsumoto 1990 (kazmanian@hotmail.com
Kaoru Fukui 1995 (kaorufukui5249@gmail.com)