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It was during the fall of 1992 that my mother sent me a letter to the editor from the “Holland (Michigan) Sentinel” submitted by a YO-HI alumni from Clarksville, TN soliciting responses from alumni of Yokohama American High School and Nile C. Kinnick High School, both affectionately known and remaining in our memories as YoHi.  I responded and so began my reconnection with the YoHi world that I left on July 3, 1970 as I returned to the U.S.A. to begin my college studies.  Little did I know what wonderful things would transpire in the ensuing years, culminating in a Las Vegas reunion during this past July (2000) for which I’m still at a loss for words to describe.

When Jim Hyatt asked me to join Jan Bready Smith ’70 in succeeding him and his lovely wife, Iva, as caretakers, managers and, in Jan’s case, webmistress of the Yo-Hi world, I was humbled and extremely gratified.  My experience in reconnecting with Yo-Hi alumni, particularly at the reunion in Las Vegas, has made me realize that we who comprise the YoHi world were privy to a most special experience.  It would be tempting to come to the conclusion that our particular years at YoHi were a unique moment in time.  As I speak with alumni from various generations, however, I have come to recognize that the Yo-Hi experience transcends classes and generations.  We are indeed a breed apart!

            To say that I accept this new responsibility as a sacred trust runs the risk of overstatement.  Nevertheless, I stand in awe of and am deeply appreciative for, what Jim and Iva Hyatt have done.  Without their time, energy, hard work and personal resources, the Yo-Hi world as we now know it would not exist.  We who comprise that world owe them a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid.  I’m confident that during these next years, Jim’s and Iva’s invaluable counsel, wisdom and guidance will be forthcoming and very much needed.  I also am profoundly grateful that Jan Bready Smith has agreed to be a partner in this significant endeavor.  Her demonstrated leadership encourages me to also aspire to such a level of service.

            What of the YoHi world’s future?  Only time will tell.  At this juncture, all I am able to do is to pledge my enthusiastic dedication to this cause so dear to all of us.  I welcome your suggestions; I encourage your involvement.  And, whatever your years at Yo-Hi may have been, I hope that we’ll have the occasion to meet.

Steve Norden ‘70

A Yo-Hi Red Devil and very proud of it!