Baylor Students Excel in Japanese Language Regional and State Speech Competition

March 22, 2016
Sean Nixon

Winner Sean Nixon at the competition award ceremony

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WACO, Texas (March 22, 2016) – Sean Nixon, senior Baylor Business Fellow and finance major, who is minoring in Japanese, won first place at the Texas State Japanese Speech Contest earlier this month at Rice University in Houston.
“Sean has a strong work ethic and a natural aptitude for language,” said Yuko Prefume, Ed.D, senior lecturer in Japanese. “I have worked with students to compete in the Japanese speech contest since 2007, and he was the student who needed the least help. I think his experience studying abroad in Tokyo in addition to his hard work helped to improve his proficiency. I am so happy to see him win first place.”
Nixon competed against students from schools including University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and University of Texas at San Antonio.
Leading up to the state competition, Baylor sent four students to the Dallas Regional Japanese Speech Contest in February. Nixon placed first; Grace Lu, a senior media business major and Japanese minor, placed second; and Jimmy Ta, a senior film and digital media major, placed third. Yinjiao Li, a senior media business major and Japanese minor, also competed.
Nixon and Lu moved on to the Texas State Japanese Speech Contest. Nixon placed first and received a $1,500 scholarship.
Nixon, from Eagle, Idaho, started preparing his speech for the competition at the end of the fall semester. Once the speech was written, he worked on memorization and pronunciation. As the regional competition drew near, he met with Prefume daily to practice.
After placing at regionals and moving to state, Nixon prepared for the Japanese Q-and-A portion of the competition. “It was definitely the hardest part,” Nixon said. “I had no idea what they might ask me, but I tried to prepare to answer all different types of questions in Japanese.”
Nixon enjoyed interacting with different people who study Japanese because of the rarity of Americans who study the language.
“The moment right before they announced the results was actually the most stressful part of the competition,” Nixon said. “Finding out I had won first place was an incredible feeling. It felt great to have all the hard work pay off.”
“In the end, I am very proud of every one of the students who even attempt to compete in the rigorous Japanese Speech Contest,” Prefume said.
by Bethany Harper, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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