in Japan

Student Objectives and Senior Comprehensives

Ryan Potter, Senior Capstone teacher

Running a workshop in CAJ's fifth grade class about discrimination against people with disabilities. Creating a booklet and teaching online to educate and give ongoing support to the local government of a small town in the Philippines on the importance of proper maternal nutrition. Organizing protests and speaking with news organizations to pressure the Japanese government to address the way immigrants and asylum seekers are unjustly held in detention centers for months or years. Creating and managing an Instagram page where teenagers can sell their used clothing as a way of reducing the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. All of these are ways to fight against brokenness and exploitation and to fight for human dignity and justice. 

What else do all of these things have in common? All of these projects were created and enacted by students in our twelfth grade class as part of "Senior Comprehensives," the year-long, hands-on research project that is the culmination of our curriculum. Every year, each senior not only reads, researches, and writes about a global issue that they are passionate about, but is also empowered to do something about it. Not just to learn what it would take to prevent exploitation, not just to learn about ways to alleviate suffering, but to be part of the solution.

CAJ’s student objectives offer the wisdom and responsibility to guide this process. Discerning thinking means avoiding the trap of “toxic charity”--helping just so the helper feels good. Responsible learning means developing unique research questions, determining what needs to be learned and then learning it. The importance of being a productive collaborator is immediately evident when students realize that they cannot fix the world on their own, and, without being an effective communicator, there will be nobody to collaborate with.

Faithful caretaking provides the context and motivation: a Christ-like attitude of love that puts the needs of others above our own, an outworking of God’s fundamental purpose for humanity. Woven together, the school’s student objectives shape CAJ seniors into people equipped to serve Japan and the world for Christ. 

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