Turkish language is spoken by over 250 million people in the world. Today Turkish is taught in 115 countries as a second language in many leading high schools and colleges as well as in United States. Moreover, Turkish is supported by Department of Education, Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under a program called NSLI.
Houston hosted the third annual Turkish Language Olympiad on February 28 at George R. Brown convention center. Over 2,500 students who are taking Turkish lessons at universities, public schools, and branches of Raindrop Turkish House in 14 cities of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kansas, Louisiana, and Arkansas participated in the first round of eliminations. In order to encourage Turkish language training, Raindrop has been organizing Turkish Language Olympiads since 2007.
Houston hosted 300 finalists from these six states who competed in 7 categories including singing, poetry, talent, picture and figure, folklore, and state exhibition contests. The winners will represent the "Lone Star State" in Turkey among the representatives of 110 countries.
Nehan Shujaat from Fort Worth was awarded with 1st place in art contest. 1st place was given to the student group representing Austin. Sheenna Flemins from Lubbock won the first place in the language test for K-5. For language test among the 6-12 graders Joanna Mendoza from El Paso took the 1st prize. Winner of the poetry reading contest was Junelyn Gamao from San Antonio. Best singing award went to Ebyln Pineda of Houston. Finally, the group from Dallas took the first place in folk dance contest.
Besides more than 2,500 spactators, politicical, academic, cultural notables as well as Harris County Judge Ed Emmett attended the event. ABC, FOX, and NBC local channels broadcasted the event during their evening news.
In order to contribute to the mutually enriching relationship among Turkish Americans and their friends, as well as between the people of the United States of America and the Republic of Turkey, Raindrop Turkish House has been organizing for the last three years and will continue to organize and support cultural activities like Turkish Language Olympiad.