On March 4, 2017 5 Marysville students competed in the 18th Annual JASCO Speech Contest in Dublin, Ohio.
The following were the speech topics of our students:
Meghan Bradley (12th grade , MHS)" My trip to Japan"
Garrett Brown (12th grade, MHS) "My Japanese Experience"
Eve Hawley (10th Grade, ECHS) "My life"
Zack Dumbauld (10th Grade, MHS) "Photography"
Zach Shafer (10th Grade, MHS): "Singer"
I have attended the speech contest ever since I was a student teacher, and I love watching how it has grown with various levels. When I was student teaching one of the students in our class ended up placing in the top 3. I remember how proud I was of my students even though I wasn't their real teacher, and how it felt when all the practice sessions finally paid off.
Last year we had 4 students make it in the top 10 to compete in the contest, after only studying Japanese for 1.5 years and being in the their second year Japanese 2 class. It was so cool to see them up there competing with upper level students. Even though they didn't place in the top 3, one of our students won the pronunciation award.
Learning a second language takes courage, as it makes us vulnerable, and sometimes unsure of ourselves. Making mistakes and forcing yourself to be uncomfortable and nervous in front of people is not always easy. When things aren't easy, we usually either shut down and give up, or choose to attempt to conquer. Persevering is harder because it means that we might try, and in the end still fail. That experience in itself is worth entering the contest. Knowing that you wrote something worth performing, and then getting up on stage in front of family, strangers, teachers, and judges is both amazing and terrifying at the same time.
When preparing for the speech contest students memorized their essays chunks at a time, and then performed them for me, for other people, for their parents, friends, and classmates. We also practiced answering questions pertaining to their essay in order to prepare for the question/answer session from the judges at the speech contest. This is essential so that students know their speeches in and out as well as feel comfortable answering questions. But truthfully, if Japanese or any foreign language is taught communicative in a proficiency-oriented setting, students will be exposed to hearing the language and be used to speaking it on a daily basis. Therefore, the question-answer session for us was not that challenging. Nerve-wracking, but not impossible.
This year, 2 of our students ended up placing in the speech contest. Zach Shafer won the Consul General Award, which is a special prize which the Consul General awards to his favorite performer's speech. Zack Dumbauld won 2nd place in the contest. I could not have been more proud.
I am excited to see what next year has in stock for us!
I am a high school Japanese teacher developing my own comprehensive and communicative Japanese program in Marysville, Ohio.