Josh Blackard and Cindy Mendez were Charter Oak's participants in this year's Rotary speech contest. Photograph by Helena Castrejon.
Charter Oak High School

Charter Oak Charger places in Covina Rotary 4-way Speech Contest

During the week of March 26, two students from Charter Oak, junior Cindy Mendez, and sophomore Josh Blackard, participated in the Covina Rotary 4-way Speech Contest. They attended a lunch at the South Hills Country Club where they presented their speeches to the judges. Along with Cindy and Josh were three other students from South Hills High School and Northview High School. Fortunately for our Chargers, Blackard came home winning third place in the contest along with a $100 prize.

The students were required to write a speech that was six to eight minutes long that addressed the questions provided by the 4-way test created by the Rotary Club. This year’s theme was “Be a Gift to the World;” the questions students were expected to answer within their speech were: “Is it the truth?” “Is it fair to all concerned?” “Will it build goodwill and better friendships?” and “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” The winner of the speech contest will move on to compete at the Group Level. If the winner should advance, they will compete at the Regional Level and the four Regional winners will compete at the District 5300 Conference in May.

Dr. Ayro chose Blackard to participate in the contest because he felt he would be a good candidate.

“Dr. Ayro thought I would be good at it because I read the daily bulletin and he pretty much volunteered me. It was fun to participate, though. I was proud and pleased that he asked me to participate. At first, I did not really want to do the speech but after the deadline was extended, I decided to do it. I’m glad I did,” said Blackard.

After sitting down one day and writing out his speech, Blackard had Dr. Ayro along with Mr. Stites and Mrs. Bauer help him perfect his speech, which helped him in the long run as he won third place.

“I was a little nervous at first to deliver my speech, but I got to eat right after so I was just looking forward to that. Once I got up to deliver my speech, however, I saw how nice the judges were and my nerves went away,” said Blackard.

Along with Blackard was Mendez who received a participation award.

“Even though I did not win, it was a great experience to have. The feeling of contributing and being able to express what you think is a great prize. If asked to participate again, I will do it again because now I have experience, and I know what the judges want to hear,” said Mendez.

Both students were honored to be chosen and agree that the experience was worthwhile. They hope to return to the Rotary Luncheon Speech Contest again next year and hopefully bring home more awards.

–Natalie Rodriguez

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