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K-State Today

April 17, 2018

K-State student wins collegiate division, two named finalists in Japanese Language contest

Submitted by Stephanie Jacques

From left to right: Riforgiate, Fletcher, The Honorable Consul General of Japan in Chicago Naoki Ito, and Finch

Kansas State University student Calum Fletcher, senior in communications studies, Leawood, won first place in the collegiate division at the 32nd annual Japanese Language Speech Contest on March 17 in Chicago. Two Kansas State University students, John Riforgiate, junior in computer science, and Makayla Finch, senior in applied music, both from Manhattan, also were finalists in the contest. 

Hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan, the contest aims to promote Japanese language education in the Midwest and deepen mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States. Kumiko Nakamura, instructor of modern languages, helped all three students prepare for the competition. 

Fletcher presented "One best friend is better than 1,000 bullies." 

"My result was a payoff of hours of revision, practicing and coaching from Professor Nakamura," Fletcher said. "Getting to spend time practicing with and performing alongside my Japanese language classmates was a fantastic experience."

In Riforgiate's speech, "We are not in America anymore!," he shared his experiences in Japan while he was studying abroad spring 2017 and spoke about the importance of mutual respect and urged the audience to participate in cross-cultural communication.

Finch talked about her personal experiences and interaction with her family on the election in 2016 and sent a message to encourage people to go to vote in the future. Her speech was titled "That's right! Let's go to vote!"

"I am very proud of the quality of my students' performances at the speech contest, Nakamura said. "They all worked very hard, not only in the classroom but also spent hours after hours memorizing and rehearsing the speech at late night as well as in the weekend together."


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