Freshman wins Russian contest

T.J. Gerlach

Sixty years after the defeat of Nazi Germany an essay contest was held to commemorate the victory, and one Missouri Southern student won the contest.

The Russian Consulate in Houston and the Central Association of Russian Teachers of America sponsored the contest.

“The theme of the contest was ‘The Soviet Union and the United States as allies during the second world war,'” said Dr. Tatiana Karmanova, associate professor of foreign languages and director of the International Language Resource Center.

Thaddeus McCleary, freshman international business major, was announced as the winner April 2 at the CARTA conference in San Antonio.

McCleary said he was “shocked” when he found out.

“When I entered the competition, I didn’t expect to win it,” he said.

Karmanova said she was exhilarated for McCleary, especially because the second and third-place winners were from Baylor University and the University of Tulsa.

“That’s a great recognition,” she said. “I think he has great potential.”

McCleary entered the competition voluntarily.

“Dr. Karmanova told me about it, and nobody else was interested,” he said. “I told her I’d go ahead and try it.”

“It was his initiative,” Karmanova said. “I just announced it in class.”

The essay contest was open to students in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.

McCleary said he entered because he thought it would be a good way to learn about Russian history.

“I want to go to graduate school to get a master’s degree in Russian studies,” he said.

He sent his essay in by mail in mid-March.

“I focused on skepticism between the East and the West,” McCleary said. “Although there was some cooperation, there was obviously some skepticism.”

McCleary said he worked on the nine-page research paper in the course of one month.

McCleary said he will receive his award at a ceremony May 6 in Houston.

He will receive a certificate and a “special prize.”

Karmanova said McCleary’s win helps put Southern’s name on the map.

She said McCleary, as a freshman, is goal-orientated and has plans for his future.

“I just have great hopes for Thaddeus,” she said.