We consider every student who is learning and using their Native language to be winners!
- All students who perform at the Fair or who submit a book, video, essay, or poster art receive a Fair t-shirt.
- All students who present or have a pre-submission and attend the Fair receive a medallion.
- Students who the judges feel should receive special recognition for their language use and effort in language learning receive a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.
Teachers are encouraged to display the trophies at their schools. This recognizes the effort that the teachers put into their teaching.
The medallions and t-shirts recognize the students for the effort they put into continuing their languages and cultures. If we could give a prize for every evening a family turns off the tv and listens to or tries to use their languages, we would!
Judging is a part of the Youth Language Fair in order to inspire a bit of friendly competition and to provide additional personal or class goals to work towards.
Our judges are elder fluent speakers who are language teachers. We also have 2nd language learners who are active language teachers. In some categories, we include Native specialists for that area, such as artists, poets, and writers. Our judges represent almost every Tribe and Nation in Oklahoma, and we often have judges from other states as well. The judges volunteer to spend a day or two at the Fair encouraging the students.
We do not judge on correctness or perfection. We want students to feel comfortable using their languages at whatever stage they are at. And in fact, students will probably not even have a judge who is from their own Tribe or speaks their language. Why? Many times the active speakers are all closely involved in the language program, so they are excluded from judging their own students or relatives. Instead, we judge on the amount of language students are able to use, their poise and presentation, and the spirit of their performance or effort put into the submission. See the individual category descriptions for how each is judged.