On Saturday, February 13th, Japanese language students from the Greater Houston area gathered at the University of St. Thomas to compete in the 2016 Houston Japanese Speech Contest. 58 participants competed in 6 divisions, including the new haiku division. The competition was presented by the Japan-America Society Houston (JASH) and the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston. Additional support was provided by the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas; The Center of International Relations at University of St. Thomas; All Nippon Airways (ANA); and Ms. LaVerl Daily, Former President of Ikebana International in Houston.
During the Opening Ceremony, participants and guests were greeted by JASH Executive Director, Ms. Patsy Brown; Dr. Hans Stockton; and Deputy Consul-General from the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, Mr. Atsushi Iwasaki. Mr. Iwasaki thanked JASH for their hard work in organizing the competition, as well as all of the Japanese teachers present for greatly encouraging students.
After the Finals were held, closing remarks were given by JASH President Mr. Bill Weiland. Mr. Weiland thanked all of the parents and teachers for supporting students in their endeavor to learn Japanese. After his remarks, Mr. Weiland handed out certificates to the top placements in each category. Each contestant also received a participation certificate from the Speech Contest Committee, as well as a participation prize from ANA which included study materials like USB sticks and erasable friction pens.
The Consulate-General of Japan in Houston is pleased to announce the top placements in each of the six divisions. The top two candidates in each division will be invited to participate in the State Contest taking place in March.
Division I: Poetry, Beginner
First Place: Khanh Vu ( Morton Ranch H.S. )
Second Place: Alice Liu ( Bellaire H.S. )
Third Place: Gustavo Rivera ( Westside H.S. )
Division II: Haiku
First Place: Yu Sun ( Bellaire H.S. )
Second Place: Tin-Yi Lii ( Bellaire H.S. )
Third Place: Camilla Chen ( Cinco Ranch H.S. )
Division III: Skit
First Place: “Unexpected Result”: Susan Yu, Eunice Valenzuela, Anthony Hoang, Harvey Goa ( Bellaire H.S. )
Second Place: “Nina’s Heart”: Yenny Nguyen, Emma-Leigh Crooks, Anh Nguyen, Alan Barron ( Bellaire H.S. )
Third Place: “Untitled”: Hana Bryson, Kendra Shelvin ( Bellaire H.S. )
Division IV: Free Speech with Text
First Place: Bernice Tsao ( Bellaire H.S. )
Second Place: Daniel Hingco ( Westside H.S. )
Third Place: Indah Rahmadina ( James E. Taylor H.S. )
Division V: Free Speech AURORA Preliminary
First Place: Fiona Yeung ( Bellaire H.S. )
Second Place: Danna Najjar ( Cinco Ranch H.S. )
Third Place: Aisha Aslam ( Westside H.S. )
Division VI: Free Speech College and University
First Place: Jessica Ramirez ( Texas A&M University )
Second Place: Amanda Petty ( Texas A&M University )
Third Place: Yves Perez ( Lone Star College )