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Students Compete in UW’s Annual World Languages Day

March 24, 2022

One hundred sixty-eight students and six teachers representing six junior high and high schools from across Wyoming participated in the University of Wyoming’s annual World Languages Day (WLD) competition March 4.

WLD is Wyoming’s state championship of foreign language study, hosted by UW’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages. For the past two years, WLD has been a virtual event. This year’s theme was “community.”

“We believe high school students should be given opportunities to excel in their talents, be it football, cheerleading, marching band or world language learning,” says WLD co-Director Rebecca Steele, an associate professor in the UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages. “WLD not only provides this opportunity for friendly competition, but it also allows students to learn from experts from around the world.”

One hundred fifty-one students competed in language competitions, while 19 shared their artistic talents in a People’s Choice Award art competition. Students submitted writings -- poems, essays and short stories -- as well as videos in two categories: one-take and edited. The one-take videos replicated the traditional poetry and drama contest. The edited videos allowed students to show their artistic and technology talents while presenting culturally significant information. Awards were presented at a virtual, live ceremony March 4.

Ahead of the awards ceremony, teachers were able to access 36 different workshop materials on the WLD website ranging from culturally relevant crafts to games and cultural presentations in and about the following languages: Azeri, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Latin and Spanish. Participating schools received boxes with materials to make the crafts in class.

Steele and Mark Person, WLD co-director and UW senior lecturer of German, led this year’s event alongside 35 UW student, faculty and staff volunteers.

This year’s winners, listed by schools they represent, are:

Buffalo High School

Fischer Kirven, Spanish Short Story Advanced, first place; Alexalynn Horn and Wyatt Waller, Spanish Essay Novice, first place (tie); Isobell Kerckaert, Spanish Essay Novice, second place; Sydney Rutt, Spanish Essay Novice, third place; Tavin Hampshire, Spanish Essay Intermediate, first place; Tennessee Hahn and Madison Leighton, Spanish Essay Intermediate, second place (tie); Ayva Duarte, Spanish Poem Novice, first place; Makayla Maddox, Spanish Poem Novice, second place; Briley Farris, Spanish Poem Novice, third place; Brycen Mahoskey, Spanish Poem Intermediate, second place; Connor Dunn, Spanish Poem Intermediate, third place; Laura Cots Ayuso, Spanish Poem Advanced, first place; Paula Sanchez, Spanish Poem Advanced, second place; Kylee Hart, Spanish One-Take Video Level 1, first place; Lilian Ruby, Spanish One-Take Video Level 1, second place; Sienna Lulias, Spanish One-Take Video Level 1, third place; Carly Norman, Spanish One-Take Video Level 2, first place; Madison Ludwig, Spanish One-Take Video Level 2, second place; Holland Stowe, Spanish One-Take Video Level 2, third place; and Gabriella Grabin, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, third place.

Burlington High School

Adison Haslam, Spanish Edited Video Level 1, first place; Emma Bullinger and Naomi McNiven, Spanish Edited Video Level 1, second place (tie); Brikton Wardell, Spanish Edited Video Level 1, third place; Alex Perez, Spanish Edited Video Level 2, first place; Camden Jones, Spanish Edited Video Level 2, second place; and Jessie Michaels, Spanish Edited Video Level 2, third place.

Campbell County High School, Gillette

Julitza Garcia, Spanish Essay Advanced, first place; Jennifer Estrada, Spanish Poem Advanced, third place; Savannah Shippy, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, first place; Tate Ellsworth, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, second place; Jennifer Estrada, Spanish One-Take Video Level 4, first place; Small Group: Nakkia Crumm, Riley Orchard and Kalysta Petticrew, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, third place; Large Group: Jack Bouzis, Lemm Cooper, Maurion Hopson, Lawson Luchen, Jacob Pelton, Rylan Robertson, Codi Roice and Trenton Rosenau, Spanish One-Take Video Level 1, first place; Large Group: Dany Castro, Wilberto Cortez Ruiz, Noe Cruz Ortega, Jesus Olivas Hermosillo and Berne Rodriguez Rodriguez, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, first place; Large Group: Hayden Eldridge, Tate Ellsworth, Kylee Lilly Emerson, Patricia Hill, Yasmin Rodriguez and Gabriella Tracey, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, second place; Large Group: Ximena Martinez, Jennifer Sanchez-Contreras, Alma Tello Urbina and Jazmin Zacarias Lopez, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, third place; Large Group: Luis Alonzo, Yuleisi Lopez, Julian Loya Parra, Jocelyn Lujan, Sandra Robledo Alderete, Angel Talavera, Marcos Thomas and Silvia Varela, Spanish One-Take Video Level 5, first place; Orchard, Art 2-Dimensional, second place; Yelitza Torres, Art 2-Dimensional, third place; Emerson, Art 2-Dimensional, honorable mention; Lily Simmons, Art 2-Dimensional, honorable mention; and Hannah Starr, Art 2-Dimensional, honorable mention.

Cheyenne Central High School 

Elizabeth Stump, French Essay Intermediate, first place; Ash Kercher, French Poem Novice, first place; Andrew Lance, French Poem Intermediate, first place; Mark Murray, Art 2-Dimensional, first place; and Ryan McNees, Art 3-Dimensional, honorable mention.

Dean Morgan Junior High School, Casper 

Small Group: Libby Smith and Rachel Smith, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, first place; Small Group: Jace Butler and Peyten Wilhelm, Spanish One-Take Video Level 3, second place; and Small Group: Sofia Groce and Eliana Smith, Spanish One-Take Video Level 4, first place.

Laramie High School 

Alicia Oler, Spanish Poem Intermediate, first place; and Small Group: Carson Krueger and Grace Zhou, Spanish Edited Video Level 3, first place.

The event was supported, in large part, by grants from the UW College of Arts and Sciences, the UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages, and Wyoming Humanities.

For more information about the annual WLD competition, visit www.uwyo.edu/modlang or email Steele at rsteele4@uwyo.edu.

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