By: Staff Writer Andrew Choi
On April 4, four MSJ students competed at the 2015 Bay Area High School Japanese Speech Contest where they swept first place in all three categories. The event was held at Los Gatos High School where students from eight different Bay Area high schools competed for a chance to win a trip to Japan.
The California Association of Japanese Language Teachers (CAJLT) organized the contest and each school was allowed two representatives for each difficulty level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The representatives from MSJ were selected after holding a school speech contest open to all Japanese students.
Four total students were selected to move on to the larger contest: Sophomores Alisha Agarwal, Charlotte Yuan, and Katrina Vuong, and Junior Miranda Zhou. Agarwal and Vuong placed first and third respectively in the beginner category. Meanwhile, Yuan placed first in the intermediate category and Zhou placed first in the advanced category.
The first place winners for each category were entered in a lottery to see which one of them would win the trip to Japan. Agarwal won and will be travelling to Japan in the summer of 2016.
After the contest, students also participated in cultural activities, which included making onigiri, a traditional Japanese food.
Yuan’s winning speech was about one of her role models who she truly respects and what she learned from her. Yuan said, “I made a lot of great friends and was able to enjoy Japanese culture at the same time, so I had a really enjoyable time.”
Agarwal said of the experience, “I was really surprised by the amount of Japanese students, culture, and talent the Bay Area has when we all come together. It made for a really enjoyable and educational experience. I’m also super proud of all the MSJ competitors and I’m thankful for the help that Ms. Okamura and Konishi have given me. Oh, and of course, winning the trip was equally as surprising, but it’s a dream come true for me!”
Photo Courtesy: Mariko Okamura