Old Mission Rotary conducted its club round of the District 5340's Four Way Speech Contest on February 16th.  They look forward to this important and impressive event every year and this was their first time ever to have the contest on Zoom!

Old Mission Rotary is one of many clubs across Rotary District 5340 to sponsor a first round contest. The rules 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, this event has been flawlessly organized and executed at Old Mission Rotary by Eric Benink.  As is their club’s tradition, students from the Reality Changers Program participated in Old Mission Rotary's club round. 

Reality Changers was founded in May 2001. The program gives students living in areas targeted by gang culture an opportunity to become the first in their families to attend college and provides a positive peer culture. Many Old Mission Rotarians have served as mentors and tutors over the years.

The founder, Chris Yanov, used money he won on the TV game show Wheel of Fortune to launch his dream! Reality Changers has a 98% success rate of getting participants into college and many are the first in their family to do so!
Speaker A: Mokhinabonu Nuriddinova 
Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name?”  Speaker A has a foreign and very different five-syllable name and noted that not all names are treated equally in our society. 

Names are our labels and conjure up stereotypes in people’s minds. This can affect the quality of a person’s life if they do not have common names.  Challenges arise at school and at work. Conversely, names can be a source of great source of pride of family and cultural identity. Speaker A noted that the Four Way Test can be applied to the idea that individuals should not be judged by images conjured up by a strange or different name.

Mokhinabonu (silent k) was born in Uzbeckistan and has been in the US for 12 years. She enjoys reading and math. She attends Patrick Henry High School and hopes to study business at UC Santa Barbara or the University of San Diego.

Speaker B: Rekik Fikre

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Speaker B’s little brother wants to be the basketball great LeBron James. She used this example as her little brother has autism and struggles with daily life. Unfortunately much of society, including school's teams and clubs, do not know how to integrate children with learning disabilities. The Four Way Test clearly leads to the conclusion that we must create an equitable environment for people with autism and Speaker B implored us to not forget to be “Fair to All Concerned.”

Rekik attends Scripps Ranch High School and plays volleyball and enjoys exploring San Diego and travelling. She love science and hopes to study nueroscience at either UCLA or UCSD.

Speaker C: Ananely Alonso Baltazar

Speaker C discussed the phenomenon of  the “white lie.”  Human nature allows us to use white lies to make other people feel better and wriggle out of embarrassing situations. The main question that Speaker C asked was “Can people handle the truth?” White lies allow temporary relief from confrontation but do not create a foundation of trust. In the final analysis,  a white lie is still a lie. Speaker C noted that if we feel pressured to use white lies with our friends then maybe we need new friends!  The Four Way Test directs us to simply tell the truth. All of us benefit when others are honest and direct with us and do not tell us what we want to hear.

Ananely attends Gompers Preparatory Academy charter school. She enjoys working out at her backyard gym.  At school, she loves math and hopes to attend UC Berkeley, Stanford or UCLA.

Speaker D: Jayla White

During the pandemic, Speaker D observed that the obstacle of racism was worse than ever in American society and must be challenged. Racial division manifests itself in many ways such as education, health and wealth. Speaker D noted that the only way to be heard is to demand change by taking such actions as protesting, petitioning, and using social media. She noted that racial division is not simply a black problem. The Four Way Test demands equality for all. and Speaker D is determined to make change happen.
Jayla attends the Bishop’s School in La Jolla and loves math. In her spare time she is a dancer and loves Hip Hop and Contemporary Dance. At school she enjoys math and hopes to study Mechanical Engineering at Stanford, UC Irvine, or UCLA.

Club judges  were Rotarians Lee Kaminetz, Michelle Malin, Don Krupp and President Gary Collins. Eric Benink served as moderator and time keeper. This year was very difficult to rank the speeches as they were all were so well prepared and powerful.  The winners were:
  • First Place: Rekik Fikre- $150 She will go on to the next round of the district competition.
  • Second Place: Jayla White- $100 
  • Runners Up: Mokhinabonu Nuriddinova and Ananely Alonso Baltazar -$75 each
Photo caption:  Tamara Craver (L) is Reality Changers’ new President and Chief Executive Officer. Craver has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and executive leadership. She excused herself from an important meeting to attend the Zoom speech contest.  Jordan Harrison  (R)  from Reality Changers was part of our Zoom meeting.  His title is Vice President, Community Impact & Partnerships Jordan is a member of the San Diego Rotary Club 33.