Pupils shine in global competition

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Outstanding... West Gore School pupils Charlotte Malcolm (11), Aria Ramezanzadeh (10), Arastou Ramezanzadeh (10), Keshia Morrison (9), Mikaela Morrison (11), Aria Wilson (11), Holley Eaves (9) proudly display their certificate from the International Language Championship Competition in Japanese. Absent: Ashley Lithgow (8). PHOTO: JENNY DILLNER

To look at the statistics of what these children have done is mind-boggling– West Gore School pupils have come third, after recently entering the International Language Championship Competition in Japanese.

This was a worldwide competition with 150,000 participants, and they have come third in New Zealand in the 1-50 students category (out of 96 schools) answering 51,446 questions in eight days.

Teacher Bridget Balloch said the pupils opted to learn Japanese as part of the school’s academy programme.

“These children were up against high schools and universities worldwide.

We were one of only two primary schools in New Zealand participating, and came third in the small school category.

“I am so proud of the effort and diligence these pupils have shown.”

The children had been learning Japanese for two terms (some only one term) and were up against other schools who had been learning for years, Miss Balloch said.

“To put it in context, I learnt Japanese in high school and didn’t get a silver until year 11.

“Three of these pupils at 10 and 11 years of age achieved silver.”

Brothers Arastou and Aria Ramezanzadeh (10) answered about 7000 questions each.

Eleven-year-old Charlotte Malcolm answered about 6500 questions.

Arastou (10) said he had been learning Japanese for one term.

“At first doing the questions it was hard and I had to memorise them a lot,” he said.

“During the time I made the biggest improvements in my learning of the language.

“I did not realise I had answered that many questions, and was happy and proud when I found out.”

He said too that he would like to learn more about the culture and language, and visit Japan.

Charlotte said that the first term of learning Japanese was easier as the class was smaller.

“The questions started easy and got harder as I went through,” she said.

Miss Balloch is a very good teacher.”