WCU hosts 35th annual World Language Contest

Clay Fowler, 17 year-old, representing Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy. Photo By: Daniela Gamboa

The Ramsey center was packed on March 21 as 221 students from 10 high schools and one middle school throughout Western North Carolina came to WCU for a day of learning, hands-on experience and friendly competition at the 35th Annual World Language Contest.

For Clay Fowler, a 17-year-old from Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, it was a way to break into his future profession.

“I chose French because it’s a beautiful language, a challenge that can be beneficial in a future career,” said Fowler. “Today, I represent my school and my French teacher, Madame Lloyd. Ultimately, I want to work in northern Africa as a foreign diplomat, and hope to be going to Morocco next year to learn Arabic.”

Participating schools were Asheville Middle School, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, North Henderson, Smoky Mountain, Tuscola, Enka, Towns County, Franklin, Franklin School of Innovation, Fletcher Academy and Robbinsville high schools. These students ranged from 12-18 years old and competed in Spanish, native Spanish, and French contests.

Asheville Middle School preparing for the Spanish musical performance. Photo by: Daniela Gamboa

“It is a type of service we do in this region that helps offer students a day that will give them the ability and chance to use their language skills to show their talents. They are able to spend a day at Western and see what all we have to offer,” said Dr. Mark Couture, WCU Spanish professor.

The contests revolved around students reciting memory-based poetry while being timed, musical events, and foreign-language trivia. The biggest categories were Spanish poetry, native Spanish poetry, French poetry, Spanish quiz bowl, native Spanish quiz bowl, French quiz bowl, and musical skits.

“Teachers and students get really excited about coming and competing against each other. There are quite a few schools that have the same teachers that are really familiar with the competition. So they are in it to win,” said Melissa Allen, secretary of the WCU Department of World Languages.

The winners for the Spanish Quiz Bowl were Tuscola High School. Photo By: Daniela Gamboa

The overall winners for the events were Marshall Ledford of Towns County,  Spanish poetry; Melissa Lugo-Mejia of Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, native Spanish poetry; and Austin Hullen of Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, French poetry.

The winners for the Spanish quiz bowl were Tuscola High School; in native Spanish quiz bowl was Enka High School, and Franklin High School in French quiz bowl.

The winner of the Spanish music competition was Tuscola High School.

In French music, Thomas Gabriel Turner from Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy was declared the winner.

“It doesn’t matter if our school won or lost, we had a good time and got a chance to represent our school,” said a Tuscola competitor.