As an American you go to Japan thinking about Pearl Harbor and that they (Japanese) are bad, Paparella said. After you go to Hiroshima and see what happened you ask why we did that. I know we had to, but its very difficult.
In Hiroshima Paparella saw the human shadow the outline of a person burned into a brick wall when the bomb exploded.
The worst thing was this tin box, Paparella said. It was a lunch box that a little boy was carrying to school when the bomb was dropped. It really made me think.
Paparella made the trip with 31 other American students.
I wanted her to learn about Japan and its culture, but I also wanted her to meet other kids her age from different parts of our country, said her mother Roseanne Simanavage. I think its great she met like-minded kids interested in making friends and enjoying a positive experience.
One of the American students who made the trip with Paparella is coming to Crown Point for a visit next week.
Paparella is home now, but shes anxious to travel again. As a People-to-People Student Ambassador Program alumnus she is now eligible for future trips. She has an eye on a visit to Australia and New Zealand next summer. She would also like to return to Japan as a college student.
I love to travel, Paparella said. There are so many neat things to see and cool people to meet.