Three top Juneau-Douglas High School students prevailed among 75 total competitors in the American Council of Teachers of Russian's annual statewide Olympiad of Spoken Russian competition held March 19 at the University of Alaska Southeast.
Because all Thunder Mountain High School competitors were beginners this year, only upper-level JDHS students qualified to compete for a trip to Russia. The six top students who competed in the second round were Laurel Messerschmidt, Mark Sullivan, Alex Gendron, Collin Sielbach, Olivia Pitesa and Nolin Aisworth. The three finalists, Gendron, Pitesa and Aisworth, were named after second round.
Accordig to Russian teacher Jana Lelchuk, the judges had a difficult time deciding who will be first.
"Finally, they made a decision to award the trip to Alex Gendron with the other two as a back up in case there is a vacancy," she said. "All three also will receive gold medals and will be recognized as state winners."
Other gold medalists were JDHS level 1 students, Victoria Legue, Hanna Schempf and Isaac Martin; and TMHS level 1 students, Kiera Clark, Tiana Massey, Sheryce Marschall, Noe Hernandes and Timothy Mesdag.
"We would like to thank all parents for their support and donations," Lelchuk said. "Special thanks go to JDHS parent Becky Roth and TMHS parent Jean Eyre, for volunteered to help during the competition; as well as Jeremy Gleason, Andre Khmelev and Anatoly Khmelev, for special presentations about Russia."
Lelchuk and her students also would like to thank the judges who put in their personal time into this event: native Russian speakers Natalya Aksyonova, Alevtina Bitkova, Valentina Jimmerson, Oksana Midgett, as well as UAS Russian class students Sandy Warner, Roald Simonson, Pierre Bernard, Racheal Byrd, John Malaby, Brian Felix and last year state winner Shaun Nesheim from JDHS. Also would like to thank UAS for providing space, Discover Alaska Tours for helping with transportation, Affordable Auto Sales for donating and delivering Russian food and Alaska Pacific Bank for donating supplies.