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Sarah Clara Smith
Sarah Clara Smith.jpg
Born (1851-03-24)March 24, 1851
Died February 18, 1947(1947-02-18) (aged 95)
Occupation educator, missionary

Sarah Clara Smith (1851–1947) was an American teacher and missionary from New York state. She started Smith Girls' School (now called Hokusei Gakuen Girls Junior High/High School (Japanese: 北星学園女子中学高等学校 Hokusei Gakuen Joshi Chugaku Koutou Gakkou) in 1887 in Sapporo, Japan.

Early life in Japan

Smith came to Tokyo in 1880 with her missionary group, Association of Presbyterian Mission International. In 1883, she became sick from the weather, so she went north to Sapporo, Hokkaido. She became healthy again because the weather was like the weather in New York.

Smith Girls' School

Hokusei Gakuen Girls' Junior and Senior High School
Hokusei Gakuen Girls' Junior and Senior High School

Smith wanted to start a Christian school in Sapporo because it was a new town. Sapporo didn't have many churches then. But her group didn't give her money, so she went to Hakodate. Hakodate was bigger than Sapporo. In 1886, she got an English teaching job at the Public Teacher’s College of Sapporo. The next year, she could start a Christian school by herself. It was called Smith Girls' School (Japanese: スミス女子学校 Sumisu Joshi Gakkou).

Farming and Lilacs

In the Meiji Era (1868–1912), Hokkaido was a new land in Japan. Also the land was big, so there were many farms. Most schools were farming schools. Smith Girls' School had some farming and Christian education. In 1890, Smith introduced lilacs to Sapporo from the United States. Now, lilac is the official tree of Sapporo and the city has a lilac festival every year in downtown Odori Park.

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