Students from 15 Montgomery County schools showed off their speaking skills in Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish at the 40th annual James J. Doyle Oral Proficiency Contest held recently at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

“I really enjoyed getting to see so much language diversity and overall interest in learning foreign languages,” said PWHS sophomore Natalie Dyck, who competed in Level 3 Spanish. “In a country where being multilingual isn't particularly standard, it was so amazing to just look around the room and see how many people are passionate about becoming fluent in another language.”

Students competed through a one-to-one interview in their target language with a judge who is a World Language professional. The competition includes five levels. Participating schools could send one student to compete at each level. 

“I think the biggest reward in participating was getting to know that there are so many people in this part of PA that have the same love for languages that I do,” said PWHS ninth grader Ace Cratin who competed in Level 2 Spanish. “It also helped me know what I, as a language learner, need to work on so that I can get better in the languages I take.”

The event is named for former PWHS Spanish teacher James J. Doyle, and the PWHS World Languages Department takes pride in hosting the event annually.

“My favorite thing about the event is the enthusiasm, energy, and commitment that I see in the students who are learning second languages in the county,” said PWHS Spanish Teacher and contest coordinator Patty D’Annunzio.

The competition is open to schools whose teachers participate in the Montgomery County Association of Teachers of Foreign Languages. 

Large room with students at tables talking slide says welcome in different languages