By Katelyn Yang, Clarion Staff
On Saturday, April 29th, Isabelle Fontanilla and Christopher Wong, juniors at Kennedy, competed against other high schoolers in the Sacramento area in a Japanese Speech Contest. Fontanilla and Wong, who are in their third year of Japanese, won the Consulate General of Japan’s Special Award and 2nd Place for their speeches, respectively. 10 students total competed from seven different high schools, including Kennedy.
Fontanilla’s speech, “My Important People”, was about the prominent people in her life who helped her to get through hardships and struggles, as well as give her courage and support. When asked about her experience and feelings from taking part in the speech contest, she said, “I was disappointed because I was expecting more than just a Special Award, but I guess it was fine.” She described the whole experience as “nerve-wracking” and “scary” but recommends that more students participate next year. “It’s a good experience, and they can have that speech contest written down on college applications. That’s a good thing to do.”
“Band Is My Family”, spoken by Wong, was about his experience growing up in high school and having to get used to certain situations. In the speech, he states that after joining the school band he formed many relationships that he knows will last a long time. Wong brought his marimba sticks as props to use during his performance. “I was pretty surprised [that I won second place], I guess. The whole experience was pretty cool. The people from the other high schools were pretty friendly, and the people from the college division gave some really powerful speeches.” When asked if he would recommend this to students, he said, “Yeah, I totally recommend it. It’s a good way to get a more practical use of your Japanese and actually use it. It’s a pretty good way to really get into it [Japanese].”
Mr. Suzuki, Kennedy’s Japanese Language teacher, said, “I’m very happy [with the results of the contest]. They deserved the award because they practiced a lot, almost two months.” He expressed that he was very proud of both their performances and hopes they continue to learn and enjoy the Japanese language.
There were also two college divisions for those who had been studying Japanese for less than two years and those who had been studying Japanese for two years or more. Students from Sac State, Sac City, UC Davis, and UC Reno competed against each other.