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Michigan City High School Teams Reach Finals in Japanese Olympiad

Students from Michigan City High School showcased their Japanese language skills and knowledge at the recent Japanese Olympiad, with teams finishing second and third.

The Japanese Olympiad of Indiana is an annual, day-long academic tournament for high school students studying Japanese across Indiana. One hundred students from ten schools took part in this year’s competition, which was held February 25 at DePauw University. Participating high schools included Arsenal Tech (whose Japanese teacher, Michael Timm, is a MCHS graduate), Bloomington North, Chesterton, Connersville, Highland, Indiana Academy, Michigan City, North Central of Indianapolis, and Penn.

The Olympiad featured separate competitions for Level 2, 3, and 4 students, depending on how many years of Japanese students have studied. They competed in a playoff against other schools at the same level, with only the top three scoring teams advancing to the final. The competition was judged by Japanese professors, all of whom who are native speakers, from IU, IUPUI, Ball State, Purdue, DePauw, and Earlham College.

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At level 4, the MCHS veteran team of Shelly Enriquez and Eryn Sitar finished second in Indiana. “After missing the finals by a single question their two previous years, they prepared all year long to represent City, and have brought home a hard-earned state title,” said MCHS Japanese teacher Mike Tsugawa. “Our school and city should be proud of these two. They have never given up, even after two years of heartbreak.”

The MCHS Level 3 team, comprised of Sydney Kohn, Elizabeth LaFollette, and Lauren Werner, finished fifth in the state, narrowly missing qualification for the finals by a question and a half, losing to the eventual champions. Another level 3 team of Angel Darschewski, Samantha Lanier, and Brien Rissman placed seventh.

At Level 2, the MCHS team of Kendyl Adney, Natalie Parker, and Kiara Stansil placed third in Indiana. The rookie team of Tommy Komay and Charles Shaw placed Top 10, despite being a team of two, when three is the norm. Although they were unable to compete this year (there was no Level 1 competition) five Level 1 students made the trip to the Olympiad to help them prepare for next year: Trinity Clayton, Robert Lemon, Olivia Leary, Myon McGee, and Megan Steinhiser.

During the competition, competitors and spectators learned about various aspects of Japanese culture. They took part in a traditional Tea Ceremony, conducted by experts from DePauw in conjunction with the University of Illinois.

“I’m proud of all our competitors and finalists, and want to encourage all Wolves, regardless of their sport or skill, to take pride in what they do,” said Tsugawa. “When we work hard for our goals, we are as good as any students in the state!”

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