By Abril Pereznegron ’18
On Saturday March 17, Pritzker juniors and seniors traveled to the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign(UIUC) for the annual Russian Olympiada.
Students were asked to meet at Pritzker around 6:30 to then take a bus to UIUC. The bus ride lasted around two hours and a half. The bus was not your typical yellow school bus, in fact, as Edwin Arrollo, junior, stated “we got to the unexpected, a travel bus.” The bus also provided Wi-Fi. On the way there, some students took advantage of the time to study material while others slept.
Once students arrived on campus, teachers directed them to a building where they would compete. Faculty attendees were Philip Stosberg, 11/12 IB and senior Russian teacher, Lauren Nelson, IB 11/12 IB and junior Russian teacher, and Gina Portelli, Resource teacher.
This event began with an introduction from the university followed by lunch. The university provided Indian food, something most students had not tried before. Junior Ruben Guzman commented the following: “I was a bit nervous to try the food because I never had it before, but once I tried it, I realized that is was actually really good.” Immediately following lunch, the evaluation began.
The evaluations were conducted by three judges, all staff of UIUC Slavic Languages staff, who evaluated the student’s proficiency within a given topic. Students had texts to prepare, which they needed to discuss.
The evaluation for juniors consisted of two sections. The first section required students to prepare a speech about themselves ahead of time, which consisted of things like their name, age, and school. The second section was about Russian cultural knowledge, ranging from topics that included Russian composers, authors, geography, and folk art/souvenirs.
Although most of the content was taught in class, students were required to prepare material outside of class. Guzman stated, “The hardest part to prepare for was the cartography of Russia.” Both Arrollo and Guzman commented that it was harder to practice on topics that they had little to no prior knowledge about.
After all of the students were evaluated, the university gave a presentation that focused on department offerings of Slavic and Eurasian languages for students. The event was finalized with an award ceremony where the names of students and their medals were called out.
Juniors took home 13 gold medals, 6 silver medals, and 1 bronze medal.