Tom Groendal, a Hope College senior from Whitehall, has won first place in the Japanese Consulate General Michigan 2000 Speech Contest held in Detroit on Saturday, March 4.

          Groendal competed in a category for college
  students who have been studying the language for more than
  one year.  Of the 10 finalists for the award, he was the
  only one from a liberal arts college; the others were from
          It was the second time in four years that a Hope
  student has earned first place.  Brandon Hayashi, a 1997
  graduate from Kaneohe, Hawaii, won in 1997.
          Michigan is one of only five states in the United
  States in which the contest is held, so the competition is
  regional in nature.  Selected other countries are also sites
  for the contest, including Japan.
          The students chose their own topics, speaking and
  answering follow-up questions from the judges in Japanese.
  Groendal presented "The Heart of Internationalization."  He
  plans to become a coordinator for international relations
  for Japanese prefectural offices next year.
          First-, second- and third-place winners were
  named.  The contest also featured two other categories:  one
  for high school students with less than three years of
  Japanese, and the other for high school students with three
  or more years of the language, or college students and other
  adults with less than one year.
          Groendal is a Japanese and Spanish major.  He
  studied at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, during the
  1998-99 school year through the Institute for the
  International Education of Students (IES).
          He is the son of Michael and Martha Groendal of
  Whitehall.  He is a 1996 graduate of Whitehall High School.