For the third time since the competition began four years ago, New Trier High School students are heading to the National Japan Bowl in Washington, D.C., after taking first place at the Illinois Japan Bowl on March 10 at North Central College in Naperville
At the Illinois Japan Bowl, 47 teams of second-year, third-year, and fourth-year high school Japanese students competed in academic competitions that tested mastery of Japanese language, culture, history, geography, arts, current events, and pop culture. Among the high schools represented were Northside College Preparatory High School, Whitney Young Magnet High School, Lane Tech College Prep High School, Glenbrook South High School, Streamwood High School, Lockport Township High School, and University Laboratory High School
New Trier seniors Colleen Furth, Elliot Jung-Beeman, and Josh Lariosa won first place in the Level 4 category. All three are top-performing students in the school's Japanese program and members of the popular Japanese Culture Club that meets each Wednesday after class. The students were coached by teacher Naomi Suzuki, known by her students as Suzuki Sensei, who leads the Japanese program at New Trier. The team met on several occasions during and after school to prepare for the competition
Now, New Trier's team is studying for the National Japan Bowl Competition that will take place in the nation's capital on April 12 and 13, at the same time as Washington's popular annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, which is a part of the famous National Cherry Blossom Festival. Japan America Society of Chicago is covering the expenses of the team. At the National Japan Bowl, New Trier will compete against schools from around the country
In 2016, the New Trier team captured 5th place trophies at the National Japan Bowl. This year's team hopes to compete just as hard, and savor the opportunity to meet Japanese students from around the country, and take in the sights, tastes, and sounds from the Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin.