By McKenna MIDDLETON, intern
The local competition of the 77th Annual Lions Club Student Speakers Contest took place at the Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club meeting in Montrose on Feb 19. The theme for this year was community service, which was particularly fitting when considering that Lions International is the world’s largest service organization.
The contest was created to provide an opportunity for competitive public speaking among high school students. Winners of the competition receive varying amounts of scholarship money.
There are six levels of competition ranging from the local club level to a multiple district level. The overall winner will accumulate over $20,000 in scholarship money. The winnings increase for each level of competition. The winner of the local club competition walked away with $75 and the runner up won $25.
The contest began at 7 p.m. with a reading of the contest rules and regulations by Lions Club member and 10-year contest chairman Art Rinaman. Each speaker was allowed 10 minutes to present their speech with three minutes for judges to mark their comments between speakers.
Each speaker took their own twist on the topic, focusing on aspects that were relevant and important to them individually. First place winner and 10th grader Selena Zchang used a Thanksgiving meal as a metaphor for community service, making her speech creative but informative.
“What will you bring to the table this Thanksgiving?” Zchang asked as she stressed the importance of individual strengths in community service.
Second place winner Adriana Cho focused on the role of young people in community service, pulling from her own experiences as a Teen Line volunteer.
The speeches were evaluated by four volunteer judges based on originality, delivery, and other criteria.
Both the first place winner and the runner up attend La Cañada High School. They were given several weeks to prepare the content and execution of their speeches – a conquerable task for the two speech and debate teammates.
Zchang will move onto the Zone level of the competition on March 16 to compete for the next level of scholarship money.