Montevallo hosts visitors from sister city in Japan
Published 11:31 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015
By MICHELLE ADAMS / Guest Columnist
The Mayor’s breakfast honored hometown heroes, a ribbon cutting ceremony welcomed citizens to the new city hall, and the high school’s undefeated football team played their last home game of the season: It was a busy week in Montevallo.
Joining these celebrations last week were visitors from Montevallo’s sister city of Echizen, Japan.
Guests from Echizen included the city’s mayor, Naito Shunzo; town council president, Kimura Shigeru; and translator, Mohammed Syairir.
Although only here for a few days, they maintained a busy schedule: Participating in the University of Montevallo’s Founder’s Day, visiting the middle school and high school, touring American Village and perusing Blue Phrog Art Gallery.
At the Mayor’s breakfast, Montevallo Mayor Dr. Hollie Cost presented an educational partnership award to the delegation, and they later participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new city hall.
The tours of the local schools included classroom visits, viewing student work and enjoying the excitement of Friday night’s football game.
“Our visitors were impressed with the ways we made them feel welcome,” Montevallo High School Principal Brandon Turner said. “Our band and auxiliary teams welcomed them with the MHS Fight Song and The Hey Song, and we provided them with a school flag to take back to Japan with them.”
Since the Sister City Commission was formed in 2007, the relationship between Montevallo and Echizen has steadily progressed with the middle school student exchange program, as well as other cultural and economic endeavors.
This thriving relationship is not just evident through visits like this with Mayor Shunzo, but also through the cultural influence upon students.
Recent MHS graduate Cebastian Cardozo, who has traveled to Echizen, was able to take his turn showing off some of his hometown this past week.
“The delegates from Echizen found Montevallo to be a beautiful town, and expressed their hope to develop the sister-city relationship further,” Cardozo said. “Personally, the sister-city relationship has meant a lot to me. For two cities, thousands of miles apart, to be able to connect through the spread of culture, entertainment and other interests is pretty amazing.”