University of Pittsburgh
March 11, 2008

University of Pittsburgh Announces Winners of Annual High School Japanese Speech Contest

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center, in collaboration with Pitt's Japanese Speaking Society and the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, held the annual High School Japanese Speech Contest at the William Pitt Union on March 7. More than 70 students from 10 area high schools participated. Sponsors of the event included Westinghouse, Sumitomo Corporation of America, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.

Special guests were Yuko Suzuki, consul from the Consulate General of Japan in New York, and Siddharth Chandra, director of Pitt's Asian Studies Center. Dale Huffman, chair of Carlow University's art department, presented a lecture and demonstration on Japanese ceramics as part of the program, accompanied by visiting Japanese artists Hiromu and Mieko Okuda.

Judges included faculty from Pitt's Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Shaler High School student Megan Hirsh won first place in the level four category of the High School Japanese Speech Contest. Hirsh, whose teacher is Ritsu Shimizu, also received the Consulate Award. Michael Nite, also a Shaler student taught by Shimizu, won first place in the level three category of the contest.

Joshua Burd is a private student of Butler Senior High School teacher Masami Schaper and shares first place in the level two category of the contest with Brenda Metro, a private student of Yuka Tieren.

Tyler Pullekines of Norwin School District won the poster session portion of the contest, under the instruction of Hiroko Maekawa. The poster session is for first year students of Japanese.

For more information, contact the Asian Studies Center's Brenda Jordan at 412-648-7763 or

The Asian Studies Center is part of the University Center for International Studies.