March 5, 2015
Contact: Brandon Locke
ASD World Languages Director
Phone: (907) 742-4848
Nearly 300 ASD students who have learned another language in school, put their knowledge and authentic use of speaking skills to the test at the Alaska State World Language Declamation Contest, held on Feb. 28.
“This contest is the equivalent of a statewide athletic tournament or musical concert,” said Brandon Locke, ASD World Languages director. “For more than 30 years, this contest has provided an opportunity for world language students to compete in a variety of events, showcasing their language skills and providing a venue in which to perform.”
This event, sponsored by the Alaska School Activities Association, brings high school students from across Alaska together to compete in a variety of language events: poetry recitation, cultural trivia, impromptu speaking and dialogue speaking. For the poetry, impromptu speaking and dialogue competitions, students compete in front of a panel of judges, many of whom are native speakers of the respective language.
The contest is open to high school students of Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish. Students who study Russian compete in a separate event, called Olympiada.
This year, approximately 275 of the 400 competitors were from ASD.
Students showcased their abilities in more than 100 events spread across five categories and six different languages.
Spectators said they were encouraged to see so many students excited about their academic work.
“I was very impressed with the skills of the students, and the professional way in which the students were rated. As an educational researcher who conducts federally sponsored studies of quality education systems throughout the U.S., I was delighted to witness the fine work of Anchorage¹s World Languages Program,” said Judy Alamprese, an audience member visiting from out-of-state.
Alamprese went on to say, “I had the opportunity to meet several students who were very enthusiastic about their language studies and the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in the contest.”
In order to reach the statewide competition, students had to advance from the regional contest which took place on Feb. 7. This year, for the first time, the middle school equivalent, called the Multilingual Marvels, ran concurrently with the regional contest. Locke said this allowed middle school students to see the progression of the contest and hopefully gave them something to look forward to participating in when they get to high school.
Separate from helping students with their poems and coaching with the impromptu and/or dialogue speaking, many ASD world language teachers volunteered countless hours to support the event.
Special recognition goes to co-directors Elizabeth Dick from South High School and Kristi Senden from Chugiak High School. Both first-time directors who worked to make the declamation contest a success.
“Their professionalism and dedication is the epitome of an outstanding world language teacher!” said Locke.
Locke also commended South High School staff, where the event was held, for its support and flexibility provided while hosting the statewide event.
PHOTO: Brandon Locke, ASD World Languages Director, congratulates students as they are recognized for their placement in the top three positions of each category in the competition.