Monday, June 22, 2009

Gettysburg Address Contest

At the end of about a month and a half of practicing the Gettysburg Address with 13, and then 4 students over and over daily, the big day of the speech contest finally came. Despite my objections, I was forced to judge my own kids. All four of them did pretty well under pressure, though, so I was happy with how things turned out. There were thirty kids trying for 7 spots, with each winner receiving a free trip to Springfield for 10 or so days. Not too shabby.

This contest has happened every year for what sounds like quite a few years. This one had a small additional bit of importance due to this year being the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. It was mentioned several times that this was the only officially recognized Illinois Bicentennial Commision event being held outside of the United States.

While the scores were being tallied somewhere unseen, a bit of entertainment was provided for the audience. First a student group and then a couple of talented adults rocked out on their koto. Koto not only have 13 strings, but the bridges are moved during play to change the sound. It looks pretty complicated and sounds very Eastern.

After listening to the Gettysburg Address a total of 32 times, the dust settled and one the kids from Yamabe JHS, Hana, came out on top. Its funny how little emotion any of the winners showed while receiving their certificates up on the podium. I guess they are trained to do that. This victory combined with a winner in the last speech contest gives me a little record I can be proud about.

As you might be able to see, the participants numbered 29 girls and one boy(he didn't win). The contest is timed during the Springfield Sister Cities Student Delegation so that the chaperones from Springfield can serve as additional judges. I wonder if we are ever going to get to see the score sheets.


  1. Anonymous12:32 PM

    So only one of your four Yamabe students won a trip to Spfld?

  2. you are the only one wearing short pants! hehe "showing legs at the constest huh? maybe they considered that to make your kid win! lol!

  3. Anonymous: Well out of seven winning spots, only three were available for junior high students. The kids also gave another speech in Japanese that they wrote themselves, which I think accounted for 40% of their score. That was a big wild card. I was hoping for two sptos but I think I did ok all things considered.

  4. Angelica: Shorts are an important part of my people's culture.

  5. That's pretty cool. You don't even hear kids doing that here in America. Pretty cool they are doing that in Japan. Do they know the story behind it or what it means?