Japanese Department Brings News of Joi

Mike Tsugawa, Japanese Instructor at MCHS


Japanese Olympiad of Indiana is a day-long academic tournament for high school students of Japanese all over the state of Indiana, held once a year. This year’s tournament was held Saturday the
21st at Purdue University, with 11 schools and at least 100 students
participating, including Carroll, Penn, Elkhart Memorial, Chesterton, Connersville, City, Valpo, Muncie Central, Bloomington North, North Central, and Highland.

In the competition, there are separate competitions for Level 2, 3 and 4 students, depending on how many years of Japanese the students have studied. They compete in a playoff against all other schools at the same level with only the top 3 scoring teams advancing to the final. The competition is judged by Japanese professors, who are native speakers

from IU, Ball State, Purude, DePauw, and Earlham College. It is
nerve-wracking for the students to speak in front of them!

At level 4, Rachael Hennessy, Allen Murray, and Steven Siegmund formed one team, and Becca LaFollette, Preston Mahaffey, and Joanna Warnke (who competed at Level 4 despite being in 3rd year Japanese!) formed another. Hennessy, Murray, and Siegmund advanced to the final, taking third in state, with Chesterton taking first and Valpo taking second. The other Michigan City team only missed the final by one question (!!) and placed
fourth in state.

The level 3 team of Jennifer Banda, Sarah Lynch (who missed making the final last year by one question) teamed with Zach Weis this year, placing first among all teams in the preliminary round, and then placing 2nd in Indiana in the final ahead of Chesterton, while Connersville placed first.

At Level 2, where all the members were making their competition debut, Dylan Kennedy and Andrew Werner-Boklund formed one level 2 team and placed 7th in state, while the team of Shelly Enriquez and Eryn Sitar missed the final by a mere two questions and placed 5th.

During the competition, competitors and spectators alike had the chance to learn about and enjoy various aspects of Japanese culture, notably performances of traditional Japanese dance, sparring and practice by Purdue’s Kendo Club, and a traditional tea ceremony (the attached pictures of include MC’s Zach Weis, who volunteered to take part in tea)

Tsugawa Sensei is proud of all our competitors and finalists, and want to encourage all Wolves to take pride in what they do. When we work hard for our goals, we are as good as any students in the state!

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