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University of Iowa News Release

Release: March 12, 2003

Des Moines-Area Students Win Prizes In UI Japanese Speech Contest

Students from Valley High School in West Des Moines won the top prizes in two levels of competition at the 7th annual University of Iowa Japanese Speech Contest Saturday, March 8.

Among high school students, Justin Green won first place in Level I and Rachel Lenz won first place in Level II. Maya Katzir of Roosevelt High School and J.T. Norton of East High School took second and third place, respectively, in Level II.

The students were judged on content, grammar, pronunciation and delivery of a 3-7 minute speech about a topic of their choice. High school students competed at two levels and college students competed at four levels, depending on how long they have been studying Japanese.

Green's speech was "Pond of the woods," and Lenz's was "Protesting Valley High School's budget cuts." Each was awarded $200, Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, and a one-year subscription to Nihongo Journal. Their Japanese teacher is Yurika Kanai-Molloy. Katzir's speech was titled "Communication," and Norton's was, "My guitar and I." Katzir won $150, "Japan: The Profiles of the Nation," and "The Elephant Vanishes"; Norton won $100 and "Japan: The Profiles of the Nation." Their Japanese teacher is Sachiko Murphy.

Other Des Moines-area students participating in the high school contest were Jade Johannesen from Lincoln High School, Matt Lewis from East High School, Leigh Harmon from Hoover High School, Dylan Raife from Roosevelt High School, and Joe Wiese from Valley High School.

The contest is sponsored by the department of Asian languages and literature in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with support from the Japan Foundation, Japan Forum, Consulate General of Japan, UI International Programs, UI Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ALC Publishing, and Aoeshe Japanese Restaurant.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: Yukiko Abe Hatasa, UI associate professor and coordinator of the Japanese Program,