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Johnson senior’s dream of studying in Japan comes true

Dr. Kato and Aidan hold the NEISD way sign  with text and logo

Only two students in the entire country earn a full-tuition scholarship to study at the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. 

Johnson High School senior Aidan Sisneros is one of them. 

“Freshman year, I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to take Japanese. I absolutely fell in love with the language. Halfway through freshman year, I decided I wanted to study in Japan. This has been a dream in the making the past four years.”

Aidan’s dream of studying in Japan is coming true. But it wasn’t without great sacrifice and determination. There was a rigorous interview and multiple essays. But Aidan had something the other scholarship candidates didn’t – his Japanese teacher, Dr. Yuka Kato. 

Sensei Kato worked with Aidan to perfect his essay. She grew up in Japan and knows what it takes to earn acceptance to this extremely competitive university. Nine drafts later, she confirmed that his essay was ready to be turned in. A few months later, his acceptance letter followed. 

“Out of all the people in my life, my mother and Kato Sensei are the two people I respect the most,” said Aidan. “Her character traits, hard work and work ethic influenced mine and gave me the opportunity to even do this. We like to call her our Japanese mother. She’s so loving and truly does care about her students. I’m so grateful to have had her as a teacher these past four years.” 

The feeling is mutual. Sensei Kato cherishes her students. She considers them to be her greatest teachers. She is so proud of Aidan for persevering through every challenge. 

“To me, he’ll always get to the top because he makes an effort,” said Sensei Kato. “He always dreamed of going to Japan. It was a beautiful essay. He never, ever gave up. He persevered.” 

His perseverance continues to pay off. Aidan plans to move to Tokyo in August and will double major in linguistics and business. 

“No matter what life throws at you, as long as you’re persistent you will make it through.”

Posted by Lila Stanley
Posted on 3-21-23