Old Mission Rotary hosted the Sub-Regional Round of the District 5340 Four Way Test Speech contest on February 16th.  In this round of the competition they heard from four high school students from clubs across the district.  

The rules for the competition are all the same throughout the district and students have between five and seven minutes to deliver a talk that is judged on content, organization, delivery and application of the of the Rotary Four Way Test.

Year after year, our Four Way Test Speech Contests have been flawlessly organized and executed at Old Mission Rotary by Eric Benink.  Nancy Vaughan of the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Club was recognized for her multi-year service as chair of the District 5340 Four Way Test Speech Competition. District Governor Steve Weitzen and District Governor Elect Dan Gensler also attended our Zoom meeting.
Speaker A: Zoe Wong

The first speaker noted that we live in a place where others come to vacation. One of our biggest attractions in San Diego is the ocean and our beaches. However, the stability of the world’s oceans is in jeopardy and we should all be alarmed. All life on the planet depends on the healthy balance of the seas. The oceans regulate our climate, create food for all life on earth and provide oxygen. In addition, all people benefit from clean beaches and the recreation opportunities they provide. The world economy depends on healthy oceans.  Local beach clean ups are a wonderful way to keep our beaches beautiful. Plastics are the biggest danger to the environment so please use re-usable bags! Every drop of water we drink and every breathe of air we take are connected to the sea.

Zoe was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo Sunrise and attends Scripps Ranch High School. She loves physics and is a softball player. She is looking at west coast colleges to study civil engineering.
Speaker B: Blake Bergener

The second speaker asked us if we were ever the new kid in town? Blake recalled his first day at Coronado High School when he sat down at a lunch table and was immediately taunted and teased by other students. Fortunately, he was strong enough to defend himself and soon felt comfortable at his new school. However, this moment of being victimized was a game changer. Our speaker then committed himself to stand up for others and to intervene to stop bullying whenever he saw it. He noted that the lifetime damages from being bullied as a youth include loneliness, isolation and lead to many other psychological problems in adulthood. 

Speaker B challenged all of us to stand up to stand up for what is right and true!  Blake was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Coronado and attends Coronado High School.  He likes math and physics and loves to play water polo.  He is interested in studying business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Speaker C: Yen Lam

The third speaker openly confessed to the biggest regret of her life. In First Grade she met a best friend in a young classmate with a wonderful smile, blue eyes and golden locks. They were inseparable companions and even pretended to be girl friend and boy friend. As the school year was ending, the boy mentioned that he was going to die at 18 but speaker C took no note of this comment.
In second grade the boy began missing school regularly and when he did show up he was mercilessly taunted and teased. Speaker C relented to peer pressure and  turned against him as well. She joined others in ostracizing and making fun of him. Later she found out that her friend suffered from Cystic Fibrosis and he soon left the school and Speaker C never saw him again. Ever since, she has felt remorse over abandoning her friend. Speaker C states that important to forgive yourself.  It is the act that leads to the understanding your wrongs so That you can make amends She still searches in vain to find her friend to apologize but notes that life gives you chances to move forward by learning from mistakes.
Yen Lam was sponsored by the  San Diego Downtown Rotary Club 33 and attends Hoover High School.  She is a member of the Interact Club and likes English and likes to draw and sew.
Speaker D: Guarish Gra

The fourth speaker opened his talk by proclaiming “Let the children fall!” He noted that over the course of his lifetime, children’s playgrounds have evolved from challenging and very physical to safe but boring structures. He fondly recalled how traditional “dangerous” playgrounds create a sense of wonder. He even broke a leg on a playground as a young boy.  Society, in an effort to make everything safe and sterile is afraid to promote wonder and adventure. As a result, we fall victim to the mundane character of everyday life. At the heart of this issue is the difference between hazard and risk. 

Hazards we know will cause damage but risk is important to development. For young children, the power of play and adventure playtime develops critical thinking skills and social skills. Challenging play structures promote problem solving and creativity. Society must promote wonder, imagination and curiosity among the next generation.

Guarish was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo and attends Del Norte High School.  He likes math and history and enjoys public speaking and has participated in Rotary Model UN Program.  He is interested in a UC School.
Old Mission Rotary Judges were: Don Krupp, Lee Kaminetz, Michelle Malin and Steve Nuñez. Old Mission Rotary Four Way Test Speech Chair Eric Benink praised all of their speakers and noted that the scoring was extremely close.
Blake Burgener and Yen Lam were our two runner ups and were each awarded $75.  Second Place and $150 was presented to Gaurish Gar.  First Place and $200 was presented to Zoe Wong.
Guarish and Zoe will advance to the next round of the District 5340 Regional Round of competition.