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Stanley Taylor, left, the president of Sunny-Net Internet service provider, and Ernie Ernst, vice commander of the American Legion Post 28 on Okinawa, visit the Okinawa AmerAsian School in Ginowan, Okinawa on Wednesday with a donation they made to equip the school with modern computer technology.
Stanley Taylor, left, the president of Sunny-Net Internet service provider, and Ernie Ernst, vice commander of the American Legion Post 28 on Okinawa, visit the Okinawa AmerAsian School in Ginowan, Okinawa on Wednesday with a donation they made to equip the school with modern computer technology. (Chiyomi Sumida / S&S)
Stanley Taylor, left, the president of Sunny-Net Internet service provider, and Ernie Ernst, vice commander of the American Legion Post 28 on Okinawa, visit the Okinawa AmerAsian School in Ginowan, Okinawa on Wednesday with a donation they made to equip the school with modern computer technology.
Stanley Taylor, left, the president of Sunny-Net Internet service provider, and Ernie Ernst, vice commander of the American Legion Post 28 on Okinawa, visit the Okinawa AmerAsian School in Ginowan, Okinawa on Wednesday with a donation they made to equip the school with modern computer technology. (Chiyomi Sumida / S&S)
Sakura Sunagawa, left, and Naoyuku Komatsu, both third-graders at Okinawa AmerAsian School, show off new computer equipment donated to the school on Wednesday by American Legion Post 28 and Sunny-Net.
Sakura Sunagawa, left, and Naoyuku Komatsu, both third-graders at Okinawa AmerAsian School, show off new computer equipment donated to the school on Wednesday by American Legion Post 28 and Sunny-Net. (Chiyomi Sumida / S&S)

GINOWAN, Okinawa — A couple of close friends of the Okinawa AmerAsian School pitched in Wednesday to boost the school into the 21st century.

American Legion Post 28 and Sunny-Net, an Internet service provider, donated a new computer system to the school, which offers bilingual and bicultural education to biracial children. Many of the students are Japanese–Americans who can’t attend Department of Defense Dependents Schools and feel out of place in the Japanese school system. The current enrollment at the school is 70 students, ages 5 to 15.

The new computer system “is revolutionary for our school,” said principal Michael Fad.

“Teachers no longer need to run back and forth between a classroom and the office with a floppy disc,” Fad said. “Now, each and every classroom has Internet access and newly installed overhead projectors, enabling teachers to instantly share downloaded information with their students.”

Because many of the students are raised by single mothers, the school, run by a nonprofit organization, charges minimal tuition, Fad said.

“Therefore,” he said, “we rely on kindness and donations to survive.”

Okinawa’s U.S. military community has been a strong supporter of the school since it opened in 1998, school officials said.

The school started in an old two-story house in a crowded residential area in Ginowan. The poor conditions prompted the American Legion become the school’s “guardian,” said Ernie Ernst, vice commander of Post 28.

“It made us sad,” he said as he delivered the equipment Wednesday. The Legion continued to support the school after it moved to a new facility owned by the city of Ginowan and built with funds from the national government.

Ernst, a retired Marine Corps master gunnery sergeant, said he is happy to see the school now is well equipped with modern technology.

“It’s a wonderful change and I am glad to know they have this kind of environment,” he said. “We will continue to support the school as long as we are capable.”

Stanley Taylor, president of Sunny-Net and also a retired master gunnery sergeant, sends his two children to the school.

“I like the idea of giving children English and Japanese education,” he said.

However, he was not satisfied with the school’s old computer system and pledged to remedy the situation.

“While they have good quality teachers, the computer system was inadequate,” he said. “It is very important for kids to be exposed with information technology at an early age.”

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