On February 22, Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School conducted its 18th graduation ceremony for 140 students (61 boys and 79 girls) in the school’s Auditorium 2 in the presence of Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Yoichiro Miyamori and Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata. This year’s graduating class was the final graduating class of the school as the school was to close down on March 31.
Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School traces its origin to Tenri Seminary High School, which was established in 1974 under the management of Tenri Seminary Corporation with an aim to nurture future full-time missionaries including successors to church head ministers. The same corporation opened another high school in 1989, namely Tenri Oyasato High School, for the purpose of nurturing followers who would engage in the overseas mission in the future. The two high schools were subsequently consolidated into Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School in 2005. By building upon the traditions of its forerunners, Kyoko Gakuen High School aimed to provide ever more enhanced religious education for its students and produced many graduates who have played key roles in the Tenrikyo community. The number of the graduates of the three schools combined together amounts to 8,127 (4,918 boys and 3,209 girls).
At the graduation ceremony, Principal Hajime Nakata delivered a congratulatory speech to the graduates. He said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduates sought to find joy despite various restrictions as they prayed for a settling of the world through performing the service. He then called on the graduates to recall what they had learned at Kyoko Gakuen High School—especially acting and behaving with a sense of “joy, gratitude, and hinokishin”—when they face challenging situations in their lives going forward.
Rev. Miyamori then took the podium to give words of congratulations to the graduates. Noting that they are the final graduating class of the school, Rev. Miyamori said that what they had done and achieved in this school would mark the final chapter of the history of the school. Pointing out how Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School and its two forerunners all share the words “Tenri kyoko” (Tenri Seminary) at the beginning of their original Japanese names, Rev. Miyamori said that these three schools were intended to impart to the students the spirit of single-heartedness with God so as to allow them to spread the teachings to the wider world. He moved on to stress that he would like the graduates to bear in mind the expectations for them to make every possible effort to acquire the spirit of single-heartedness with God as they graduate from the school. Rev. Miyamori then encouraged the graduates by saying, “I would like you all to lead your life as Yoboku in a way that will allow you to provide people in your local communities with a convincing insight into the truth of the teachings.”
Following Rev. Miyamori’s speech, the graduates and others sang “O-uta 7: The Seeds of Single-Hearted Devotion” together. Later, the members of the graduating class attended their last homeroom class and then proceeded to the Main Sanctuary to perform the service to express their appreciation.