Farewell, good luck to one special student

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

As the 20th Century was coming to a close, a young man in Osaka, Japan began searching the internet for colleges in the United States to further his education. As luck would have it, the institution he chose was at a reasonably priced community college in the southwest corner of Nebraska.

Thus -- in the fall of 2000 -- began an association which has enriched both the young man, Nobuaki Kawakami, and the community, McCook, Nebraska, USA.

Since arriving in this faraway place, Nobu -- as he is known -- has achieved high academic honors, made many good friends and become the "adopted" son of the vice president of McCook Community College, Dr. Richard Tubbs and his wife, Marilyn Smith.

In Nobu's first two years of college in McCook, he demonstrated his potential for great things by earning a straight-A, 4-point grade average. The performance helped considerably when he applied for, and received, the $30,000 per year, Jack Kent Cooke scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nobu's academic excellence continued at UN-L, where he compiled a 3.9-point grade average en route to a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. With great pride, Dr. Tubbs and Mrs. Smith were in attendance when the degree was bestowed.

But the story doesn't end there. On the last day of this month, Nobu will be leaving for Cambridge, Mass., to enroll in Harvard, the most illustrious university in the nation. He will be working on his Master's degree in International Education, with the long-range aim of working for the United Nations or UNESCO in Africa.

Quite a young man. Quite a special young man. Even though he has gone away -- first to Lincoln and now to Harvard -- he has found a home away from home in McCook. "He has so many friends here," Dr. Tubbs said. "He has greatly enjoyed his friendships with Mike and Laura Ford, Matt Sehnert and Judge Cloyd Clark. McCook has made him feel welcome. This is his second home. He can come back any time he wants. He has keys to our houses in both McCook and Denver. "

Even though he is heading for Harvard, look for Nobu to be back. "Marilyn and I are going to fly him home for Christmas, and we will be going to Harvard for his Master's graduation ceremony," Dr. Tubbs said.

Farewell, Nobu. We will miss you, but we are very proud of what you have accomplished and look forward to great things from you in the future. Wherever life may lead you -- we want you to know you are always welcome and are well thought of in McCook, Nebraska, USA.

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