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[YRP Students' Essays] Keep Doing It!

I sent an e-mail to my father, who lives in Thailand now, to ask about this assignment: when was there a time when he was surprised by my action, my ability to do something, which he thought was impossible? I already had another idea to write about for my homework. However, it is also nice to know what other people think. My father said that he was surprised by my actions in a speech contest when I was in junior high school. I got first place in that contest, and what is more, I got it for two consecutive years. The school that I went to for those two years did not have many students; still, my father praised me. The reason is that to be first place twice is actually quite difficult. My father told me, "Keeping on top is extremely hard." To succeed I took action in three ways.

First, I knew my weak points and strong points, that is, what I could do well and also where I was making mistakes. Then I improved my mistakes. Even though I had gotten good results the previous year, there were many ways in which I could make my speech better. For example, not reading too fast, looking at the audience, and so on. Making better sentences was also important. To improve upon last year's mistakes was the easiest way to keep on top.

Second, I knew the judges might compare the content of the speech with last year's. For that reason, I changed the content a lot the second time. The first year the title was "Japanese Language is Terrible Now," and I talked about the lack of use of correct Japanese and the way of speaking. Then, the second year the title was, "Decide on Your Own at Last," and I talked about the importance of the ability to make decisions. Also, I changed the end of my sentences from a polite style to a more assertive style. The judges knew my speech from the last oratorical contest. That was why I made extreme changes to my speech, in order to make them interested in the content.

Third, I tried to speak persuasively and steadily. Actually, in the second oratorical contest, I first tried to write about the importance of time. However, it was so hard to write concretely and lucidly. I almost gave up while I was trying to write. I realized that I could not write about this theme well, so I decided to change to the topic of "Decide on Your Own at Last". I erased everything that I had written about time and began to write a new speech.

I made a strong effort in all these different ways, and again I achieved first place. The most important action is to keep trying, and try steadily. To be successful in some hard experiences requires a strong heart. My experience taught me the importance of trying. I am still not good at doing this all the time, so I need to try more to get better at continuing some activity until I achieve the successful outcome that is my goal.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Eiko Uchida, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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