The Kings' Speeches (and a Few Queens).

I attended the 61thst (oops, typo on the program) Junior High School English Speech Contest in Soma today. Over the last month, I'd spent several hours with 13 students from my JHSs coaching them and listening to their speeches. Admittedly, my esteemed colleague Dan also contributed to their training.

Of the 19 Recitation participants, I had high hopes for one gal whose "Kiki's Delivery Service" was very well delivered and in my completely unbiased opinion should have walked away with the top prize. She didn't even place in the top 6! (Boy, was her mom ever pissed!)
On the other hand, two of my lads read the incredibly lame script of "Roy Brown, Boy Detective" and walked away with 1st & 3rd!! The winner was a Dark Horse who blew away his competition though I expected him to land third, not first. Kudos!
2nd place was taken by one of the other schools yet I must say her speech was pretty good.
Two more gals orated  "Tom has to work on Saturday" & "Christmas Presents" and placed 4th & 6th. I am doubly proud of 4th place because she proudly proclaims that she has been studying English for eight years. Her first teacher was ME when she attended the Day Care Centre at which I taught 8 years ago! She still remembers the songs we used for the Christmas Pageant!
We had 2 out of 7 participants in the Original Speeches category and I'm sad to say that they came 6th & 7th. They weren't brilliant by any standard but I truly feel that they should have ranked much higher.
The boys who took 1st & 2nd were (no hyperbole intended) TERRIBLE. Their intonation was all over the place, their pronunciation incomprehensible and the content was merely average. There was a definite bias towards male winners for of the only 7 boys participating, 4 of those walked away with top prizes.

Ah well, it was still a fun day. I can remain proud of all the kids, even those from other schools (except the aforementioned winning lads) and the Dark Horse lad will be moving on to represent Soma in the Fukushima Prefectural contest next month! Hey, maybe I'll be able to scam a free trip out of it!


Perogyo said...

That's really sad. I've judged a couple of speech contests as a native speaker off the street, and my input has never been taken. Usually such criteria as "this school hasn't won for three years" and "this is a very popular speech" are taken into consideration more than pronunciation or confidence. Really sucks for the good kids.

I don't even think my kids will be allowed to participate due to having me as a mom. Grrr.

But good for you and your students for the effort put in!!

Michael Jones said...

In my neck of the woods, there isn't much competition so there no standouts in the competition.
I've seen several cases where a "half" or a child who has lived abroad for several years just walks away with the top prize and in one case, she didn't even have her script memorized.
All-in-all, it was a good contest; it could have been much worse!


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