• March 6, 2023

    USCHS students earn high marks at Japanese contest

    Connor HyattUpper St. Clair High School students swept the Poster and Beginner Speech categories and placed first and second in the Advanced Plus and Intermediate speech categories respectively at the 2023 High School Japanese Speech Contest. The annual event was held on Friday, March 3, 2023, at the University of Pittsburgh.

    The following students earned top finishes in their respective categories:

    • Poster category: first place, Lindsay Ross; second place, Maxen Thomas; third place, Mazell McTeer
    • Beginner Speech category: first place, Connor Hyatt; second place, Evie Ellenberger; third place, Dhruv Dileep
    • Intermediate Speech category: second place, Arden McPherson
    • Advanced Plus Speech category: first place, Shrida Devaki

    To Upper St. Clair High School’s Japanese teacher, Chie Ramsey, all of the participating students are winners as she believes it is important to understand different languages and cultures.

    “I’m very proud of all participants. They should be satisfied to have chosen to undertake this challenge,” she said. “Their efforts to participate will help them build these skills going forward.” 

    In addition to the top finishers, the following USCHS students participated in the 2023 High School Japanese Speech Contest:

    • Poster (PowerPoint) category: Chihiro Brentzel, Sebastian Disipio, Ryan Hyatt and Yasmeen Zalloum
    • Beginner Speech category:  Aadi Markose
    • Intermediate Speech category: Celena Brentzel and Ari Henderson,
    • Heritage Speech category: Yuzuki Watanabe

    This year marked the return to an in-person event. The Japanese contest was held virtually for the last two years due to COVID. In addition to meeting students with a shared interest in world language and culture, students had the opportunity to experience several hands-on activities.

    “My students enjoyed the event, especially the culture booths such as Yukata (summer kimono) dress-up, calligraphy, origami and the taiko (Japanese drums) performance,” Ms. Ramsey said.

    The annual event, which draws more than 80 students each year, is cohosted by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center. Japanese language learners of all levels compete against other area students in the speech contest, and non-language students can compete in the poster contest. Students are required to write a speech on the chosen topic for the speech contest or make a presentation for the poster session. This year’s topic was "Meibutsu" Specialty Foods.