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Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Japan-Wizards Competition!



Congratulations to the 60 students who represented 14 high schools from Oahu, Hawaii and Maui at the 18th Annual JASH Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC)! Teams were comprised of three students each, with a total of 20 teams competing. The student-teams were tested on their knowledge of various Japan-related topics such as art, culture and tradition, food, geography, history, Japan-U.S./Hawaii ties, literature, politics and government, sports, contemporary Japan, and of course language. Students were divided into two levels: Level A or Level B, depending on their current Japanese language level. Level A students were enrolled in Japanese I or II, and Level B students were enrolled in Japanese III or IV.

This year, the JWC was completely revamped to adhere to social distancing guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic and took place in two rounds held virtually on separate days. The Preliminary Round took place between March 5 and 7, 2021 through an online quiz that each team member individually took. Individual test scores were combined towards the total team score to determine the teams that would advance to the Final Round of competition held virtually via Zoom on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

Each year, JASH awards trips to Japan to the top scoring public and private school teams in each level. We are pleased to announce the JWC Japan trip winners:

Level A: Hanalani Schools (private) and Mililani High School (public)

(Left) Hanalani Schools Level A, top scoring private school for Level A, winner of the Tateuchi Memorial Award and International Christian University Special Award ; (Right) Mililani High School Level A, top scoring public school for Level A

Level B: Hawaii Baptist Academy (private) and James Campbell High School (public)

(Left) Hawaii Baptist Academy Level B, top scoring private school for Level B; (Right) James Campbell High School Level B, top scoring public school for Level B

Hanalani Schools Level A team was also awarded the Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the International Christian University Special Award for achieving the highest score of the Finals.

In addition, King Kekaulike High School Level B team was awarded a trip to Japan donated by a retired public school teacher, who chooses to remain anonymous. The donor expressed how her former students benefited from the JASH Japan Wizards Competition and requested that a second public school from Level B travel to Japan.

Finally, JASH Board member and Youth Education Committee Chair Jean E. Rolles sponsored a sixth award for a trip to Japan in honor of her friend and fellow JASH Board member, Dr. Michael Leineweber, who passed away in 2014. Dr. Leineweber was a loyal supporter of JASH who strongly believed in the educational programs that JASH conducts, especially those programs that encouraged exchanges between people from Japan and Hawaii. In his memory, Ms. Rolles sponsored a team chosen through a random drawing during the JWC awards ceremony. To qualify for this drawing, the team must have been in the top 10 scoring teams during the Preliminary Round of competition. The five teams who had already won Japan trips were not eligible for this drawing.

The winner of the Dr. Michael Leineweber award was: Kapolei High School Level A.

These six teams of three students and their advisors will travel to Japan when, of course, it is safe to travel again to experience firsthand what they studied in the classroom and through independent research.

Thank you to our title sponsor Hawaiian Airlines and other major supporters – ABC Stores; Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation; Freeman Foundation; Halekulani Corporation; International Christian University; The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles; Jean E. Rolles; License Academy; Temple University Japan Campus; and our anonymous donor – who through the JWC encourage high school students to study Japan and the many fascinating topics associated with it.

Also, a HUGE mahalo to the Competition Panel volunteers who helped the JWC run smoothly and also volunteered their Saturday a few weeks ago for a training session. Volunteers were from organizations that included the Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association of Hawaii, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapiolani Community College, and Hawaii Tokai International College, just to name a few. Without their tremendous support, the JWC would not have been possible.

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