March 24, 2021
Two place first in Japanese contest
Two Upper St. Clair High School students placed first in their respective categories in the 24th Annual High School Japanese Speech Contest, sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania (JASP) and the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center. Senior Alex Carlson earned top honors in the poster category and senior Stephanie Lu took the gold in Intermediate Speech.
Four additional students were recognized for their work. Placing second were senior Ryan Welch, Poster category; junior Roehl Benedicto, Beginner Speech; and senior Maddie Nolen, Intermediate Speech. Senior Gabrielle Caudill earned a third-place finish in Beginner Speech.
This year’s competition was held online the week of March 1, and the awards ceremony was broadcast to YouTube on Friday, March 12.
“The students worked so hard to prepare for the event,” Chie Ramsey, Upper St. Clair High School Japanese teacher, said. “For me, all of them are already winners because they've accomplished so much! This year was especially challenging under the COVID-19 condition. I'm very proud of them.”
Other participating Upper St. Clair High School students included:
- Poster category: Keaton Bench, Maksym Devlysh, Ari Henderson, Arden McPherson and Lucas Pash
- Beginner Speech: Celena Brentzel, Christian Farmerie and William Schultz
- Advance Speech: Hunter Bench
This year, 37 students from Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Shaler Area High School and Upper St. Clair High School competed virtually in spite of the difficulties of the last school year. Japanese language students of all levels and students who are involved in Japan-related cultural activities participated in one of four speech levels – beginner, intermediate, advanced and advanced plus – or the poster contest.
Established in 1986, The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania is an association of individuals, corporations and organizations that seek to promote local understanding of and mutually beneficial participation in the changing U.S.-Japan relationship. The Society provides informative, innovative programming in order to encourage a better understanding of the business, cultural, social, educational and political practices and customs of Japan and the United States.