For the News-Gazette
Yuni Sakurada, 19, is a Japanese-American living in Osceola County. Born and raised in Orlando by two native Japanese parents, Sakurada is always finding ways to stay connected to her culture.
“I feel very connected to my culture even living in this county,” said Sakurada.
She said she has enjoyed volunteering for the Asia Trend / YESS Center near Orlando Fashion Square since middle school, and loves to eat at authentic Japanese restaurants.
Growing up, Sakurada attended Celebration’s Montessori School. She has never attended any of Osceola County’s public schools and is currently taking a year off to work and intern before moving on to higher education. She hopes to become a certified teacher for Montessori School.
“It is all coming full circle,” said Sakurada.
While Sakurada plans to stay and work in Osceola, she’s not opposed to some extended traveling in future years.
“I never thought I’d leave home,” said Sakurada. “But I recently visited cities such as New York City, Washington D.C. and Atlanta, and realized there’s a great big world out there.”
She said she wouldn’t leave home forever, but hopes to travel, grow and learn in other cities to see what she can do to positively impact Osceola County.
Sakurada has noticed an increase in diversity throughout her years in Osceola County. What was once a large Hispanic population is looking to become more of a melting pot.
“More and more families are moving into town, and my town’s population is becoming more and more diverse,” said Sakurada. “There used to just be a few other kids who shared my culture, but I’m finding more young adults to connect with.”