Baylor Student Places First at Texas State Japanese Speech Contest

March 20, 2012

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A Baylor sophomore was awarded first place at the 23rd annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest on Saturday, March 10, at Rice University in Houston.

As the winner of the free speech college and university advanced level competition, Gus Holdrich, a university scholar major from Bethesda, Md., was awarded a round-trip ticket to Japan. He beat out students from other highly ranked universities, including the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

Holdrich and two other Baylor students were named finalists in the 15th annual Dallas Japanese Speech Contest, hosted by the Dallas Japanese Association and the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas, last month.

Ryan Smith, junior language and linguistics major from Temple, was awarded first place; Holdrich was awarded second; and Miki Wang, freshman biology major from El Paso, was named third at the Feb. 11 contest in Carrollton, Texas. Since the competition, Smith has been selected by the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship Program to study in Japan this summer.

In preparation for the contest, the students met with Yuko Prefume, lecturer in Japanese at Baylor, and Yoshiko Fujii Gaines, lecturer in Japanese at Baylor, and decided on speech topics.

"After drafting and revising several times, they memorized their speeches," Prefume said. "Then, they practiced their speech delivery, including intonation and pronunciation."

Other students who participated in the contest are: Emma Perry, senior mathematics major from Paris, Texas; Jonathan Tingle, junior university scholar major from Whitfield, Miss.; and Blake Yanez, junior international studies major from Richardson, Texas.

"I am very proud of all six of them," Prefume said. "In addition to their already demanding schoolwork, they went above and beyond to challenge themselves. I want to commend every one of them for their dedication and hard work."

For more information, contact Yuko Prefume at (254) 710-4283.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805