Wooster Students Excel in Russian Language Competition

Three of seven participants finish first in Olympiada of Spoken Russian

April 3, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Vy govorite po-russki (Do you speak Russian)?

Turns out that several students from The College of Wooster do, including five that converse with such fluency they managed to dazzle the field at the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Olympiada of Spoken Russian last Saturday (March 31).

The competition, which featured students currently enrolled in Russian classes at an Ohio college or university, took place at Ohio State University. The students competed in three rounds during the event — each designed to showcase different aspects of their language ability — and the Wooster participants did exceptionally well.

Leading the way was senior Arielle Neu, who placed first in the competition for students who have taken four years of Russian. Junior William Burkhart was next, finishing second among students who have had three years of the language. Junior Kellen Safreed and senior Mark Russell followed by placing first and second, respectively, among students with two years of Russian, while first-year student Daniel Fivenson was the top finisher in the category of students in their first year of studying the language.

“Wooster students are very industrious, very involved in studying Russian language and culture,” said Evgeniya Gerdt, a native-speaker and a language assistant at Wooster. “They work really hard throughout the year, not only learning the language in class, but also practicing it at a variety of events hosted by the Russian Suite at The College of Wooster. They were very motivated and excited to compete in Olympiada and show everyone what they are capable of.”