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The students from Konu, Japan and adult chaperons from Miyoshi City and Konu arrived in Plains Thursday afternoon, August 19 for their annual friendship exchange. With a shorter trip to our area, Sumter County Schools decided to have the Welcome Ceremony in Plains so the delegation could visit Plains and the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm.

 The group received a bus tour of Plains and a guided walking tour of former President Jimmy Carter's childhood home by Annette Wise with the Georgia Department Education and coordinator of the Jimmy Carter NHS Education Program.  Mrs. Wise has worked with the friendship exchange since 1995 and has lead a student delegation to Japan as part of the friendship exchange.

 Upon the arrival at the Boyhood Farm, a special tour booklet was presented to each delegatewith facts about the Boyhood Farm and Plains High School Museum written in English and in Japanese. After the tour of the farm, the delegation returned to Plains High School Museum to prepare for the Welcoming Ceremony and homestay family assignments.

Students from Sumter County Middle School's chorus entertained the group. A special traditional Japanese dance and Karate demonstration was performed by the student delegation from Japan. President Carter was not able to greet the group but a special welcome video was shown in which President Carter welcomed the group to his hometown.

 Steve Theus with the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site welcomed the group to Plains and invited everyone to come back for special programs at the historic site.  One of the highlights for the delegation each year is visiting former President Carter's hometown and the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.