Harley Imamura – Student Spotlight

Every name has meaning, but some seem more suitable for their owner than others. Bales Intermediate fifth-grader Harley Imamura has a name that carries with it unique significance. His first name “Harley” comes from his father’s love of motorcycles; an ode to Harley Davidson. “Imamura” originated in Japan and means “new village.” Much like the root of their surname, the Imamura family moved from Hawaii to their “new village” of Friendswood, TX at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

For most students, a drastic change (like moving to a completely different state) would be challenging to handle, but Imamura said found peace in the move.

“I had to leave my friends and school and everything I knew in Hawaii and just move here,” Imamura said. “Being in a new space can be uncomfortable, but I’m finding where I’m supposed to be.”

Bales fifth-grade teacher Crystal Mille said she would have never known Imamura was even slightly nervous when he first walked into her class.

“Day 1 when he walked in, he was not afraid to raise his hand or anything,” Mille said. “He was very quick to include everybody in the group and socialize and wasn’t leaving anybody out. He felt comfortable voicing his opinion and it was a very nice flow for the class.”

Imamura feels strongly about using his voice for good.

“A voice can reach great distances,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter where you are, you just have to bring who you are with you to a new place.”

Mille said Imamura’s positive, bold spirit has interested the other students.

“During our morning meetings, we always try to talk about things that matter and he always has good ideas,” Mille said. “He always has a way of valuing things as important, and he’s always the kid who raises his hand when it’s silent. I think he makes other kids feel brave too.”

She continued.

“He never talks down to anybody, he never makes anybody feel stupid,” Mille said. “So, the kids think they can be themselves in front of Harley, and you see that.”

Imamura said he just tries to be kind and hopes for kindness in return.

“Making friends comes naturally to me,” Imamura said. “I like to surround myself with people I like and can trust and look up to; people who are good.”

Mille agreed.

“He can work with anybody, it doesn’t matter who you put him with,” she stated. “He’s always helping and asking others to join and he’s the kid who is always positive.”

As she looked at Imamura, Mille gave him some advice.

“Don’t change who you are, especially as you go over to middle school next year. I know sometimes it’s like everybody has this need to fit in and have people accept them, and we feel like we have to be a certain way, and I think who you are right now is amazing. I think you should grow that person. It’s great to be bold and confident and outspoken, and be okay with caring for and checking on people, even if everyone else isn’t doing that,” she said. “Keep standing out because what the world needs is more Harleys.”