The Ken Weiss Annual Youth Speech Contest is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake. The Rotary Club of Cheat Lake (home club of Ken Weiss) sponsors the yearly Youth Speech Contest in the schools we partner with: University High School & Trinity High School. All high school seniors in the Cheat Lake Area are eligible to enter the speech contest in their affiliated Rotary club.
Each student may select their own topic which they feel is timely and of interest, and the speech must be the original work of the contestant. The content of their speech must relate to the Rotary International President’s theme for the year. This year’s competition addresses the 2021-2022 theme, “Serve To Change Lives” In addition to this theme, the speech must also illustrate how youth is able to reach out to others utilizing the Rotarian’s 4-Way Test:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The contest provides opportunities for the students to increase their personal knowledge and awareness of the importance of being able to speak effectively before a group. In addition, it provides an opportunity to increase public knowledge of what Rotary is and does throughout the world, especially among young people. Through this knowledge, we hope that they will learn, as we have in the past, “He who serves best profits most.”
Two finalists from each of our sponsored schools will present their speeches at one of the Club’s weekly meetings. Community leaders — both Rotarians and non-Rotarians — act as judges, and financial prizes are award, with the hope that they will be used to further the student’s education. Criteria and guidance are provided to the students, including the annual theme, and constraints such as speech length, and any rules around what may be used or mentioned on stage. Judges are provided with evaluation criteria to be used during the competition. Club winners move on to the Area contest, and winners continue to move on to the Regional and District levels.
The Youth Speech Contest is a highlight for many Rotarians, in a variety of ways: they have the opportunity to hear the thoughts of today’s youth, to witness high-quality, engaging presentations, and to share in the accomplishments of students they know through their work with the on-campus organizations.
Students have the chance to address community leaders in a professional venue, while learning valuable skills that are needed across all types of careers and activities. This is a great opportunity for them to hone their speaking skills in a friendly and competitive environment. Our goal as Rotarians is to recognize and support these young people that will become tomorrow’s leaders.
For more information, contact our Youth Speech Contest Chairperson.