The Warren Central Japanese Olympiad team, comprised of 3rd and 4th year Japanese students, attended the Japanese Olympiad for the first time since 2007 on Feb. 22.
At the Japanese Olympiad, schools in Indiana take their students to compete in a series of activities that will test their knowledge of Japanese language and history. This year, the competition was held at Purdue University.
“It’s a quiz bowl style tournament where they are asked questions about grammar, vocabulary [and] culture,” Japanese teacher Tyson Fritts said.
The Olympiad supplies participating schools with a study guide that covers the basic materials participants will be quizzed on, along with an explanation of how the competition will work. Some categories include kanji, geography and history, but there are 11 categories total. The questions are grouped into three types: team questions, toss-up questions and open questions. Each group has certain rules and procedures that the team must follow in order to gain the point.
Thirteen Warren students, which were broken into three teams, prepared for the competition. Two groups were made up of third-year students and the other of fourth-year students. The teams were led by their senior captains, Joshua Priest and Samantha Derisse. Since it is the first time Warren Central has competed in the Japanese Olympiad in over a decade, the team is looking for an experience more than anything: looking to have fun rather than win.
“Some of my responsibilities [as captain is] organizing the materials that we’re going to use to study for the competition and keeping the morale of the team up,” Derisse said.
To prepare for the competition, students had a few after school meetings to study the materials provided by the captains, and despite the team not winning the competition, they are still proud of what they did. As for the captains, they went in with a positive attitude and are proud of both the team and their progress, especially since it is the first year of their program in a long time.
“I [didn’t] really expect us to get too far [since] this is our first ever doing it, but I just want to have a good time, learn a little bit [and] meet other Japanese students,” senior Alexio Doloso said.
Considering this is the students the first year attending, this was a big learning opportunity for later years. The students got to learn more about the activities, and Japanese teachers are able to better prepare themselves and their students for next year. The teachers also learned what to expect from their competition and see what level they need to perform at to be better next year.
“This year, we didn’t know how serious the other teams were, [but] now we know,” Fritts said. “I think if we just prepare a little harder we might be able to get on the podium.”