Why Participate in the Rotary Speech Contest?


Contestants hold awards for participating in the 2023 Rotary Speech Contest (Samantha Anderson, Nadia Liberatori, Cadence Day, Danielle Cline, Grace Natoli, Alayna Winters, Chelsea Radaker, Violet Motch Bella Walls, and Addy Ruiz)

Emily McCracken, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 22, students from Clearfield Area Jr/Sr High School had the opportunity to participate in the 2023 4-Way Rotary Speech Contest at Lock Haven Clearfield. Clearfield has been involved with the contest for twelve years thus far. The purpose of a rotary speech is to address an ethical issue, with a topic of a student’s choice, to prove whether it either passes or fails the test. Each year, the top three contestants from Clearfield receive an additional cash prize, and those who advance can win up to $2,000! This year’s top three contestants were juniors Alayna Winters (Third), Chelsea Radaker (Second), and Adelyn Ruiz (First).

In the first round of the contest, students exclusively from Clearfield High School are permitted to participate in the Club Contest. The third-place participant receives $25, the second $50, and the first $100! The first-place winner from Clearfield will advance to the Regional Contest where they will compete against other schools in the region. Finally, the first-place winner of those qualifying regions will move on to the final District Contest. The final three contestants from the District Contest will be awarded $500 (Third), $1,000 (Second), and $2,000 (First)!

In the past, we have had a few honorable participants that have advanced to the District Contest. “We have been to the district finals three times. Malav Patel made it to the finals in 2015 and 2016 for District Finals but didn’t take the overall title. However, in 2021 Ben Leighow made it to the District Finals and won the entire contest, which was the first ever win for Clearfield!” says Mrs. Borden, English Composition and Public Speaking teacher.

Although participation is a requirement for those taking English Composition & Public Speaking, Mrs. Borden wants to encourage students to challenge themselves. She explains, “I think it is an incredible, authentic, and real-world speaking experience that goes beyond the classroom. This contest is something students can add to their resumes to set themselves apart from other students for college acceptance and scholarship applications. The skills learned in class and the confidence students gain from this contest are transferrable for years to come.”

This year’s second place winner, Chelsea Radaker, would also like to urge students to participate in future Rotary Speech contests. “It was a bit nerve racking before the actual contest started, but the overall results of presenting my ideas in front of a wider community was something that I enjoyed doing. The impact such things can have on the community is something that I feel strongly about, and if possible, I would recommend that all people give opportunities like this a try,” she explains.

While to some it may seem like a waste of time to invest effort in an optional challenge outside of the classroom, the Rotary Speech Contest provides students with lifetime benefits and skills that prepare you for a successful future. Plus, who doesn’t want an extra $2,000 dollars in their pocket?