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Korean performers from sister city visit West Valley Junior High for cultural exchange

A group of twenty young students from South Korea showcased a traditional performance to West Valley Junior High Students this morning. The group will be performing again at the Sunfair Parade tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

Last year, Yakima and Hadong, South Korea signed a sister city agreement at the Central Washington State Fair. Now, the community gets to see the beginning of a long friendship between the two cities. 

West Valley students said they were impressed by the performance, but even happier they had the chance to participate in a cultural exchange like this and welcomed the Korean students with open arms.

Faith Wilkison is an eighth grade band student. Before the Pungmulnori performers went on stage, her band got to play a few pieces for the Korean students.

"This experience was amazing. I couldn't take the smile off of my face," said Wilkison. " I've never experienced something like this, and I just think that it's really cool that it doesn't matter what we look like, and music can just bring us together in all ways."

Yakima City Council member Holly Cousens visited Hadong two years ago, and helped forge a pathway for cultural exchages between the two cities.  

"It's so important to have these sister cities so that we can do these cultural exchanges because that's what a sister city is all about," said Cousens.

Cousens said she hopes sometime in the future, they can bring a group of students down to Hadong so they can learn about Korean history and culture.

"The hope is to have foreign exchange so that we could have our students go there and learn things about the Korean culture and their students come here and learn how we do things," said Cousens. "They're really interested in our hops and our agriculture so I think its a great pathway to move forward for those types of things."

Journey Benedictson, an eighth grade student at West Valleysaid she thinks it's important they Korean group was able to come to Yakima.

"So many kids here don't know about places outside the US, and I think it's really cool we got to see part of their culture," said Benedictson.

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