Prospect High School students take out first and second in graded competitions at the Japanese Speech Writing Competition

Language matters: Prospect High students Jesper Harrison, Imogen Baird, Loren Keena, Natasha Brown, Ryan Sullivan and Spencer Burt. Picture: Neil Richardson
Language matters: Prospect High students Jesper Harrison, Imogen Baird, Loren Keena, Natasha Brown, Ryan Sullivan and Spencer Burt. Picture: Neil Richardson

Faced with three judges and 15 lines of Japanese to memorise and repeat word-perfectly, six Prospect High students didn’t flinch.

They may have been nervous, but the results don’t show it – a first, a second, and two highly commended in their first attempt at the Japanese Speech Writing Competition held in Hobart last week.

Competing against mostly Southern schools, the students were surprised but delighted by their success.

Grade 10 students were required to prepare a 15-line speech in Japanese, practicing it for seven weeks in the lead-up to the competition.

In front of a panel of three judges, they then had to present their speech to demonstrate their Japanese language skills and confidence in speaking.

Younger grades had similar challenges with speaking the answers to questions.

Principal Vicki Mackrill said the school was very proud of the students’ accomplishments and their results in the competition, which is organised by JATNET and the Japan Foundation yearly for Tasmanian schools.

She said the school has had a 20-year exchange partnership with Kagawa Bank that brings Japanese students to Prospect High and sends the school’s own students to Japan.

“Learning the language is helpful when they go on that exchange,” she said.

Student Jesper Harrison said learning Japanese was a great opportunity to try something new, and Natasha Brown said the success of Prospect High’s team showed the strength of the small school against their stronger Hobart competitors.