For 15 years now Mason’s Russian and Eurasian Studies program has hosted the Virginia State Olympiada of Spoken Russian. Sponsored by the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR), the Olympiada draws on the long-established tradition of oral competitions within the Russian educational system, and provides high school students of Russian an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in speaking the language by competing before a panel of judges comprised of faculty and upper-level university students. Just as in the Olympic sports competitions, students can earn bronze, silver and gold medals for demonstrating proficiency at their particular level of study.
Hosted by Mason's Russian program every year since 2006, the Olympiada typically attracts over 200 students from five Virginia high schools: Forest Park High School, Heritage High School, C. D. Hylton High School, Langley High School, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Each year 25-30 of Mason’s advanced students of Russian, along with Mason’s Russian-speaking faculty members, serve as judges. Students in lower level Russian classes, who may not yet have the language expertise to serve as Olympiada judges, also play important roles, staffing the registration table, escorting students to their assigned judging rooms, assisting in the judging rooms, and offering traditional Russian hospitality to our guests!