Students from Walnut Hills, Shroder, DePaul Cristo Rey, and Carpe Diem high schools performed their speeches in front of hundreds of Rotarians on Thursday, Februtary 18, 2016, in Cincinnati Rotary Club’s “Four-Way Test Speech Contest” at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel.
The winner was Melan White of Walnut Hills High School, the daughter of Wendy and Larry White of Bond Hill. Ms. White will go on to compete in a district-wide Rotary speech contest at Wright State University. The other finalists were Jesse Escobedo (DePaul Cristo Rey High School), resident of Finneytown, Lindon Sims (Shroder High School), resident of Evanston, and Amir Thurman (Carpe Diem School), resident of Northside.
The four student finalists were awarded cash prizes and letters of commendation from Cincinnati Rotary. Melan White received $125, and $100 went to the 2nd place finisher, $75 to 3rd place and $50 to 4th place.
In a 4-6 minute speech, the students had to apply the ethical standard used by Rotarians worldwide to the personal or community issue of their choice. The Rotarian 4 Way Test recited at every meeting:
“Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Faculty from the four participating high schools attended to support their students: Walnut Hills – Mr. Jerron Gray, Assistant Principal and Mr. Kyle Scudder, Faculty Advisor; Shroder High School – Principal Larry Williams, Dr. Audley Smith, Assistant Principal; DePaul Cristo Rey High School – Principal Andrew Farfsing and Ms. Spring Pillow, Faculty Advisor, Mr. Pat Brennan, English Teacher; Carpe Diem School – Mr. Lee Sanders, Assistant Principal, Mr. Michael Principato, Faculty Advisor.
The esteemed panel of judges for the contest included: D. Lynn Myers, Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director; Eric Vosmeier, Know Theater and Cincinnati Fringe Festival Founder; Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., New Jerusalem Baptist Church Pastor and civil rights activist; Rotarian Mark Reckman, Wood Lamping Attorney; and Rotarian Laure Quinlivan, President of LQ Consulting, and former Cincinnati Council Member and Ch. 9 I-Team Reporter.
“This year’s speech contest was a great collaboration between high schools and Cincinnati Rotary, allowing students to develop their public speaking skills and apply ethics to challenging issues,” said Brett Lebhar, Co-Chair of the Rotary 4 Way Test Speech Contest Committee. “We look forward to ongoing partnerships with these schools and commend students for their thought-provoking speeches.”
Walnut Hills’ Melan White will represent the Rotary Club of Cincinnati as she competes against students from more than 30 high schools in southwest Ohio in the April 10, 2016, district contest.