Art and speech competition strengthens Sister City bond

Students say arigatou gozaimasu and celebrate Japanese language

Kepnock State High School Year 7 student Natalie Ephraims and Bundaberg State High School Year 7 student Kodyi Thomson at the Regional Japanese Speech and Art Competition.

Students from the Bundaberg Region gathered at the Civic Centre last night in an annual art and speech event to tighten the bond between two Sister Cities.

The Regional Japanese Speech and Art Competition is in its seventh year and involves all schools that teach Japanese.

The event showcased the students' Japanese-inspired artwork, and also gave them the opportunity to give a speech in front of a number of Japanese-speaking judges.

Artwork consisted of drawings, painting, bookmarks and dioramas all with the theme of Japan.

But it wasn't just students' artwork on display.

The evening also gave Bundaberg Regional Council the chance to display the artwork gifted to it by one of Bundaberg sister cities, the community of Settsu.

Last year the Sister Cities celebrated the 20 year relationship.

Seven years and going strong

Bundaberg State High School Japanese Head of Department Sarah Themsen said the evening was well attended and the combination of art and speech worked well.

“We include the art to help ease the students for the speeches,” Sarah said.

“The reason we do the speaking component is because it gives the kids a chance to get up in front of an audience.

“And it builds their confidence.”

Sarah said it was really important for students to learn a language other than English.

“I find learning Japanese helps with their English skills as well,” she said.

“They also get the chance to look at other aspects of the Japanese cultural.”

Students full of excitement before speeches

Kepnock State High School Year 7 student Natalie Ephraims said learning another language was fun.

Stepping up in front of the crowd she took the microphone with confidence as she spoke about her family.

For those in the audience who couldn't speak or understand Japanese, Natalie made a PowerPoint presentation to help them understand.

But if that wasn't enough, in a first for the event, Bundaberg State High School Year 7 student Kodyi Thomson was there to translate.

Kodyi travels to Japan a number of times each year and will attend school while there.

Although, she was a little nervous before the event Kodyi said she was only worried about one thing.

“If anyone has an accent because it will make it difficult for me,” she said.

“I'm excited to translate, just a little nervous,” Kodyi said.

“My mum is a judge each year, so it's nice to have this opportunity.”

After the speeches, judges asked a number of questions in Japanese and the students were quick to respond.

They finished the saying “arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you).