PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A number of students here were recognized recently for their participation in Hangeul Day, or Korean Writing Day, during an awards ceremony at the Tin Barn Oct. 6.

The event recognized students in two categories. The first, an essay- or poem-writing contest for foreign nationals, was sponsored by the Yonsei University in Seoul. The second category was a video contest sponsored by the Defense Language Center Foreign Language Center here.

The day is an annual celebration in Korea of the invention of the native alphabet of the Korean language. The language goes back to 1446 when Hangeul was invented by King Sejong the Great. The actual date is disputed, so the day is observed Oct. 9 in South Korea and on Jan. 15 in North Korea.

This contest is run every year at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, explained Sgt. 1st Class Carl Barfuss, Asian School II (Korean) Military Language Instructor. "We have participated for 10 years now as a partnership with the Yonsei University Alumni Association of Southern California."

He explained that the contest is open to all foreigners learning Korean and is used to promote the continuing study and development of foreign language learning of Korean.

"The version that we run is held on the same day as the contest in Korea that is open country-wide to all speakers of Korean," Barfuss said adding that "we run our contest only for basic-course Korean students currently attending DLI."

Prizes are awarded to the top three tiers of students: $300 for the winners, $200 for second place and $100 for third place. There was actually one winner, two second-place finishers and three third-place finishers, as well as six fourth-place finishers in the writing contest. In addition to monetary incentives the students are recognized within the school for the participation and performance.

Entries are with a poem of the student's choice with a generic topic, such as "nature," or a short 1-2 page essay about a topic predetermined, Barfuss said.

Winners were decided by a panel of judges that the university selected, Barfuss said. "This year, there were over 250 submissions in total with 72 being selected for further judging and 12 people were the finalists."

The second half of the program dealt with an annual video contest, which was unrelated to the writing contest, in which the students created a short video in the target language, he said, explaining that the video showcased their ability to understand and speak Korean as well as being culturally relevant.

Barfuss said the video contest "is a more fun activity that we judge internally to the school with our own selected panel of judges [from] faculty here at the Korean school house."

The winning team in the video contest was Department E's Team 5, class KP50111.

To view photos from the ceremony visit