Recently, the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Study Center hosted the 2016 High School Japanese Speech Contest. Three of Shaler Area’s seniors all placed in the most advanced category of the contest, the Advanced Plus level.
To get into this contest, all contestants had to write and perform a five-minute speech about friendship and its role in human relationships all in Japanese.
Seniors like Nick DeBortoli, Zach Hughes, and Nick Harn all competed in this competition and placed in this advanced level.
Nick DeBortoli placed third in the competition. To go along with his third place, he received a book to continue his practice with writing Japanese characters.
“I felt like not only did all of my hard work pay off, but I also felt of proud of my school district” Nick DeBortoli said when talking about his placement at the contest.
DeBortoli plans on continuing learning Japanese independently after graduation.
Zach Hughes placed second in the competition and was awarded with the same book to practice his Japanese characters along with a cloth that Japanese people use to wrap everyday items in.
“I honestly felt very surprised, but that’s not to the discredit of our program. On the contrary, the students from our school were very well prepared and the other students in the advanced plus category were skilled as well, so it was very stiff competition” Hughes said.
Hughes also plans to study Japanese independently after graduation and hopes to study abroad in Japan during a summer in college.
Placing first in the Advanced Plus level was Nick Harn. Along with the satisfaction of winning the highest division in the contest, he also received an engraved award, an electronic English-to-Japanese dictionary, Japanese flash cards, a mug, and some candy.
“I was overjoyed when I found out that I won. I knew that competition would be stiff this year, especially within the AP Japanese class. Everyone in the class is skilled at using the Japanese language” Harn said.
Harn plans on continuing studying the Japanese language and culture at the University of Pittsburgh.
”I was really proud of them. To be able to do what they did is impressive, and I feel it is not something many other people could do. It felt good to see their hard work pay off” Mr. Balsomico, a Shaler Area Japanese teacher, said.
They plan on continuing to do this competition in the future and they plan on crushing their competition, or doing the best they can.