Three UF students were selected as finalists and one took home a second place award from the 17th Annual JASCO Japanese Speech Contest on Saturday, March 19. Sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio (JASCO) the contest is designed to highlight the power of foreign language communication at the high school and university level.
“The event was an interesting and worthwhile experience,” said Sumrestar Beauchamp, second place winner. “Practice was constant and the anticipation was intense, but that is what helped me make it even more of an adventure.”
Maleena Elliott and Jack Corle were both chosen as finalists at the contest. The group traveled to the competition in Dublin, Ohio with Hiroaki Kawamura, Ph.D., chair of UF’s Language and Culture Department, Kimie Kanno, graduate teaching assistant for the Japanese program, and finalists’ friends and family members. Beauchamp and Elliot presented their speeches, “To Make a Dream Come True” and “Important Dream” in the University Category I session. Competing in University Category 2, Corle presented “Are Gyoza Japanese Food?”
“Speaking in public is difficult, but doing so in a foreign language is much more so,” said Corle. Elliott added, “Throughout the process, from the first draft of writing the speech, to delivering it up on stage, it was a great confidence builder and test of a person’s Japanese skills.”
“It was a very meaningful day for us,” Kawamura and Kanno said. “Our students performed their speeches in front of judges and answered questions in Japanese only. Those five minutes were very intense and challenging for our students, but, their performance was amazing. We saw a lot of potential in our students.”