Posted by Matt Risi
On Tuesday, February 20, the Old Mission Rotary Club hosted a Four-Way Test speech contest for high school students from the Reality Changers program.  The competition is part of the larger Rotary District 5340 contest.  Winners of each Rotary club will compete at sub-regional events and the top candidates will compete at the District level and beyond.  The Four-Way Test speech contest encourages high school students to prepare and give speeches that apply the Four-Way Test to everyday activities and issues. 
 
Ariana Bermudez is a 10th grader at Patrick Henry High School and she talked about growing up fast in the inner city.  Her neighborhood was full of drug addiction, domestic violence and the working poor.  To Ariana, school was a welcome refuge.  She is looking forward to studying engineering in college.  Blair Garcia is an 11th grader at Hoover High School and grew up in Central America without parents.  As a young boy, he escaped the hardship of day-to-day life in comic books.  His epiphany was realizing that each individual must aspire to be "superman" and that the world  needs heroes.    Salvador Bravo is a 10th grader from Madison High School and discussed living with a disability.  He is hard of hearing and has been the victim of bullying over the years.  He refuses to let a handicap hold him back and he would like to study engineering so as to improve life for the deaf and hearing impaired.  Daniel Areola is an 11th grader at Helix High School.  He discussed how his love of music brought joy and inspiration into his life in the tough inner city.  He would like to be a social worker after college. 
 
The judges selected Blair Garcia and Ariana Bermudez to continue on in the completion.   Rotarian, Erick Benink organized the Old Mission Rotary Club contest and served as the program moderator.  The club judges were Michelle Tondreau, Judi Copeland, Gary John Collins, Brian Dempsey and Steve Nunez.  Mark McAnelly, dressed in a fluorescent lime green shirt, served as the official timekeeper!    Alex Reyes, Chief Inspiration Officer of Reality Changes accompanied the contestants to the competition.  Reality Changers offers a way out of the inner city and dangers of drugs and gangs.  The non-profit is focused on inspiring and educating first generation college students through mentoring and tutoring. 
 
Photo: (L-R) Alex Reyes of Reality Changers;Daniel Areola of Helix High; Salvador Bravo of Madison High; Blair Garcia of Hoover High; Ariana Bermudez of Patrick Henry High; Old Mission Rotary Reality Changers, Liaison Steve Nunez; and Old Mission Rotary Four-Way Speech Contest Chairman, Eric Benink.