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Valpo and Chesterton Sweep Japanese Olympiad

Valparaiso High School won the state championship in the second-year and fourth-year divisions and placed third in the third-year division at the Japanese Olympiad of Indiana at Indiana University in Bloomington on Saturday. Chesterton High School won the third-year division and was runner-up in the fourth-year and second-year divisions.

The Japanese Olympiad of Indiana is an academic competition for second, third and fourth-year students with categories including speaking, culture, kanji (Chinese characters), proverbs, listening, and history.

The Valparaiso fourth-year team of Autumn Venekamp and Bria Walker narrowly defeated two-time defending champion Chesterton and Bloomington High School North in the final round of the thirteen-team division. Chesterton’s runner-up team consisted of Chris Maatouk, Lily Hull and Matt Lutze.

CHS’s Michelle Stramel, Elena Levi and Alaina Pamintuan won the seventeen -team third-year division defeating Indianapolis North Central and Valparaiso in the final round. Sara LaBarbera, Kayne Hertaus and Cara Hescher competed for Valpo.


In the second-year division Valpo’s team of Eavan O’Brien Cleveland, Gabi Rodea and Anna Venekamp won the state championship. Gena Wallz was the team’s alternate. Valpo narrowly defeated Chesterton’s team of Kyle Krol, Sydney Ghoreishi and Xaundra Rodriguez who tied Indianapolis North Central for second place.

Matt Battista, Mercedes Farias, Jeremy Reeves, Hannah Podell and Chris Nusbaum also competed for Valpo, while Nathan Poczekay, George Romero and Sydney Shrum made up Chesterton’s other team in the competition.

Forty-three teams from ten high schools competed in this year’s competition. During the competition, team members had an opportunity to participate in Japanese modern and traditional cultural activities, including movies, traditional games, musical performances and a karate demonstration.


  • CHS Japanese Olympiad team: Chesterton High School Japanese Olympiad team winners, front row, left to right, Elena Levi, Alaina Pamintuan, Michelle Stramel, Kyle Krol, Nathan Poczekay and Sydney Shrum. Back row, Matt Lutze, Chris Maatouk, Lily Hull, Sydney Ghoreishi, Xaundra Rodriguez and George Romero.
  • VHS Japanese Olympiad team: Valparaiso High School Japanese Olympiad team winners, front, left to right, Autumn Venekamp, Bria Walker, Jeremy Reeves, Chris Nusbaum, Sarah LaBarbera, Cara Hescher and Eavan O'Brien-Cleveland. Back row, Mercedes Farias, Matt Battista, Kayne Hertaus, Anna Venekamp, Gabriel Rodea and Gena Wallz.


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