Mar 15, 2023
ROTARY SPEECH CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Rebekah McGivern, a sophomore at Washington High School, was the first-place winner of a Rotary speech contest for Jefferson County students held the evening of March 14 in the ballroom of Charles Town's Charles Washington Hall.
Rebekah received a trophy and a $100 award and will go on to compete for an additional $300 award at a Rotary regional speech contest to be held in Hancock, MD, on a date in April to be announced. If she wins again there, she will compete for a $2,000 award at a Rotary district speech contest to be held May 20 in Muncy, PA.
The second-place winner of the March 14 speech contest was Kaitlyn Hartzell, a junior at Washington High. She received a $50 award. In third place was Brennen Satterfield, a junior at Washington High. He received a $25 award.
In all, six Jefferson County students participated in the contest. The others were Chase Davis, a junior at Washington High; Nicolas Doza, also a junior at Washington High; and William Stacpoole, a homeschooled sophomore who is enrolled in the Air Force Junior ROTC at Jefferson High School. All the contestants received a certificate of appreciation and gift baskets that included an iconic motivational book, "Make Your Bed," by Admiral William H. McRaven.
The accompanying photo shows all the contestants, from left to right, as follows: Kaitlyn Hartzell, Brennen Satterfield, William Stacpoole, Rebekah McGivern, Chase Davis, and Nicolas Doza.
The contest was sponsored by the Charles Town and Shepherdstown Rotary clubs, and the Wild and Wonderful Toastmasters Club of the Eastern Panhandle. The Rotary clubs organized the event and provided the awards, certificates, and gift baskets, and Toastmasters members helped the students prepare for their speeches.
The two Rotary clubs have held their own speech contests for years, but this is the first time they have worked together on a county-wide contest and brought in the Toastmasters as mentors.
All Rotary speech contests are focused on four Rotary criteria, known as the "Four-Way Test," for evaluating situations and actions. These criteria take the form of four questions: "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?" Contest participants are asked to construct and deliver a five- to seven-minute speech that uses these criteria to assess an ethical issue of their own choosing.
From its earliest days, the Rotary organization has concentrated on promoting high ethical standards, and its Four-Way Test criteria are intended to foster such standards in business, the professions, and everyday life. Rotary's speech contests are intended to help youngsters appreciate such standards as well, and to help them sharpen their speaking skills.
"We appreciate members of both Rotary clubs coming together to make this a bigger event for the county's students," said Cara Keys, who chairs the Shepherdstown Rotary Club's Youth Services Committee. "We're also thankful for the Toastmasters' mentorship."
"We commend the students for their courage to put themselves out there," said Julia Yuhasz, past president of the Charles Town Rotary Club. "Public speaking can be scary for many people, but it is an important skill to master. We use it in our daily lives whether it's presenting at a business meeting, leading in your church, or serving your community. Developing this lifelong talent will serve them well and we’re proud that Rotary can provide fertile ground to that growth."
The Toastmasters who mentored the March 14 contest participants were Vicky Fields, Tiffany Hine, and Alison Mee.
The judges for the event were Leo Kessler and Christy Kessler, community volunteers from Shepherdstown, and Fredonia Stewart, a member of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club. John Sherwood, of the Charles Town Rotary Club, was the timekeeper, and his wife Patti, was tabulator.
About three dozen family members, friends, and members of Rotary and the Toastmasters attended the event.