Special study halls providing self-study sessions to primary and middle school students have opened in Rikuzen-Takata to honor an American assistant language teacher who was killed by the March 11 tsunami.
Montgomery Dickson, a native of Alaska, was scheduled to teach English at 16 primary and middle schools in the city for two years until last August.
Dickson, who was called “Monty” by local residents, gave free English classes to children and had a dream of becoming a Japanese-language teacher. At drinking parties with his coworkers, he sometimes performed manzai comedy and sang enka songs.
Noboru Sato, the owner of a bicycle shop in the city that Dickson bought a mountain bike from, was his close friend. They had dinner and drank together almost every night.
However, both were killed by the tsunami. Dickson died at the age of 26, while Sato was 69 years old.
Sato’s granddaughter Sayaka, 15, recalled that “Monty was like a member of our family.”
After learning of Dickson’s death, a group of former ALTs decided to use about 20,000 dollars (1.5 million yen) of donations they collected for quake-hit areas for projects to support Rikuzen-Takata.