Ryoko Whitney took over as vice-principal of Raft River Elementary School in September of 2016. She is about to become the principal of a secondary school in Japan that teaches the B.C. school curriculum.                                Photo by Keith McNeill

Ryoko Whitney took over as vice-principal of Raft River Elementary School in September of 2016. She is about to become the principal of a secondary school in Japan that teaches the B.C. school curriculum. Photo by Keith McNeill

Raft River teacher going to Japan

Vice-principal Ryoko Whitney to become principal of a secondary school

By Keith McNeill

By the time you read this, Raft River vice-principal Ryoko Whitney will be on her way to Japan, where she will become principal of a secondary school in Tokyo.

“It’s an exciting and innovative joint program between the B.C. and Japanese ministries,” she said. “Students at the school graduate with both a B.C. Dogwood diploma and a Japanese certificate.”

The school year in Japan starts on April 1, she explained, which is why she is leaving before the end of the school year here.

There could be some interesting outcomes as a result of her move, she predicted.

“The kids in Tokyo will be fascinated by this place,” she felt, “and here have been intrigued to learn about what is one of the largest cities in the world.”

Her departure has proven to be an emotional time for her and many of the students at Raft River Elementary School. She has received over 100 notes and messages wishing her bon voyage and good luck, she said.

“This is not goodbye to Clearwater,” she emphasized. “We came here planning to retire here and I will be back.”

Her husband, Rock Whitney, will continue to operate his Wells Gray Air flight tour business, she said. A new feature this year will be movies and star-gazing at the Wells Gray Air hangar by the Clearwater airstrip every Wednesday evening during the season.