Rotarians host annual speech contest

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Special to The Trimble Banner

The Bedford Rotary Club has been conducting a Speech Contest since 1994 for young participants. A theme is chosen by the Rotary International President. Each year a group of high school students sign up to demonstrate their excellence in public speaking. They have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of ‘Rotary Club,’ learn about its history and its worldwide mission.

For this year’s contest Rotary International’s president, Sakuji Tanaka, chose the theme “Peace Through Service.” He noted that, “In Rotary, our business is not profit, our business is Peace. Through our service we learn empathy for others. We come closer to people who seem very different from us. And we begin to understand how alike we really are. However we define Peace, whatever peace means to us, we can bring it closer through service.”

Students are judged on delivery, originality, and content. The winner at this level will then proceed on to district competition. Cash award prizes are given to first, second and third place finishers. There are four levels of this contest and the winner of all four levels will accumulate a cash value over two thousand dollars.

On February 19th, the Bedford Rotary Club members held their speech contest and had three extremely talented high school participants: Trey Robbins, Brittany Garrison and Ashby Drake.

Trey, spoke about peace and service by reflecting back on his family discussing their impact on the community and how he feels strongly about helping others, just as his grandfather and numerous others had done throughout his life.

Brittany stepped back in time and spoke about the beginning of Rotary Club, how it all began and what Peace means to her. She also discussed the importance of incorporating Rotary Club with high school students and how beneficial it would be for Rotary. Ashby spoke about leaning on others and how all successful people needed a helping hand throughout their lives. She incorporated some historical facts about Bill Gates and how peace through service impacts everyone’s life. All of the speeches were extraordinary!

The Bedford Rotary Club provided lunch for the students and spent time getting to know them. June Ginn, president of the Trimble County chapter, began the meeting. Charlie Liston explained the rules and introduced the contestants. Included in the panel were judges, timers and fellow Rotarians. While waiting for the results each contestant was asked to stand up and introduce themselves and tell the club about their future plans and aspirations. At that time fellow members were allowed to ask questions. It became a bonding time between high school students and Rotary Club members.

Each student exhibited excellent speaking skills. Brittany Garrison received third place, Trey Robbins received second place and Ashby Drake received first place. Ashby will compete at the next level on Friday, March 29, at South Oldham Rotary Club in Crestwood.

The speech contest proved to be a positive and meaningful experience for each student, providing them with a new experience and a great fellowship opportunity. For any future inquiries please contact Denise Hall at the Trimble County Youth Services Center, 502/255-5110.