The West Coast Finals of the Annual Cultural Performing Arts Contest were held at the Cashman Center Complex in Las Vegas on May 4th, 2014. The event was organized by the Turkish Language Institute (TLI) with the participation of over 200 students from across the western United States, including Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. Performance categories ranged from song to poetry to skits and folk dances.
Murat Akbaş, President of the Turkish Language Institute, congratulated the teachers who worked so hard to spread and introduce the Turkish language in the United States, as well as the parents who provided their support. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval delivered a message for the event, in which he indicated that he is pleased that the organization took place in Las Vegas. Governor Sandoval also stated that these kinds of events contribute to the multiculturalism and are very effective for introducing and keeping the Turkish language alive. He then thanked the event organizers.
One of the competing students, Netanya Wright, who attended from Tucson, Arizona, took first place in the poetry category with the well-known poem “Âtiyi Karanlık Görerek.” In the song category, student Kristin Anglesey, who attended from Salt Lake City, Utah, took first place with the famous song by Sezen Aksu, “Büklüm Büklüm,” which means. In the folk dance category, the state of Arizona was the frontrunner. The jury admitted that it was a tough decision, but the Tucson city team ended up taking first folk dances that belong to the Skopje region of Macedonia. The 2nd and 3rd places were also taken by student teams who attended the contest from Arizona. Students from Salt Lake City, Utah, took first place in the skit category. Students impersonated a robot that fluently spoke various accents from different parts of Turkey. In the native poetry category, Esra Aydoğdu from Las Vegas took first place with the emotional poem “Babam,” which means “my father.” The Turkish Olympiads ended with the song “Yeni Bir Dünya,” a famous song that means “a new world.” For this last song, all students who participated in the contest performed it together.