The Rotary District 6710 Speech Contest is now in its 27th year. Since its inception, the annual topic for the Speech Contest has been the annual Rotary International President's chosen 'Theme'. This year’s RI President Holger Knaack (member of the Herzogtum Lauenburg-Molln Rotary Club not far from Hamburg Germany) has selected the theme for 2020- 21, Rotary Opens Opportunities, and asks Rotarians to create opportunities that strengthen their leadership, help put service ideas into action, and improve the lives of those in need.
President Knaack states that “The year 2020 has brought monumental changes that have already included a global pandemic and a renewed call for social justice around the world. We are reminded that we are living in a constantly changing world, and that Rotary is a reflection of that world. We must be ready to listen and adapt, always drawing upon our core values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. If we live these values and apply the Four Way Test to all aspects of our lives, we will be prepared to lead at all times.”
“It is fascinating to imagine how we will find new ways to adapt and stay nimble this year and beyond” continues President Knaack. “But I am also inspired about what has not changed and what never will in Rotary: the friendship, the networking, the ethics, and the service. Indeed, these are the values that make Rotary attractive to all.”
Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris said “we have to be revolutionary from time to time.” Now is such a time. Rotary Opens Opportunities – countless ones – for us to embrace change that will strengthen us even as we remain true to our core values”.
One of President Knaack’s goals is to bring Rotary and Rotaract closer together. This has been a passion of his during his Rotary life, as he has been a strong advocate in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program and has hosted hundreds of students throughout the years. Many of his students have been blessed by the doors he opened to opportunities. “The world needs Rotary now more than ever. It is up to us to make sure that Rotary Opens Opportunities for everyone for generations to come.”
President Knaack further states “The tools to make Rotary more inclusive, more relevant, and more fun for everyone are at our fingertips. Let’s use them now and we will see how Rotary Opens Opportunities for ourselves and for those yet to discover us”.
The District 6710 Speech Contest is open for all Kentucky High School Students who reside within the District's service area, which is basically the western half of the state. Students should prepare their speech by addressing this year’s Topic. This can be applied to the student's personal observations and experiences, or to Rotary or other organizations who have similarly engaged and had a significant impact on a personal, local, national, or international level.
Speeches may, but do not have to, reference Rotary and/or its purpose and past accomplishments. The real objective for each speech is for the student to address this year’s topic on a personal level. What feelings, memories or insights does the student have from past experiences. What has the student or someone the student knows done that has really made a difference in their life or community? How has that contributed to the betterment and/or unity of the world with and without?
Speeches may not be read, although cue cards or notes will be permitted only at the local club level contests. Speeches must be memorized for all advanced contests. There will be speeches at the Club level in February, and three advanced levels – Sectionals in March, Regionals in April, and Finals in May 2021. Prize values increase with each advanced contest. The District Winner will have finished first at all four contest levels with total winnings of $2,200.
Detailed questions may be directed to your local Rotary Club or to the District Speech Contest Coordinators listed below. Additionally, on the District 6710 Website, you can find the detailed packed of information. Any changes in the contest schedule will be posted. You will be able to track the contest as it progresses, review any contest clarifications, updated contest schedules, times, locations, prizes and reference links and materials that may be helpful to you as student contestants.
It’s time to get started on your speech! A preliminary schedule is in the Speech Packets. Be sure to review all information included in the Packets.
1. WHY THE CONTEST:
The District Speech Contest offers high school students an opportunity to speak on a meaningful topic, to sharpen their speaking skills, and to gain recognition in addition to monetary rewards. By participating in the Contests, students will learn about Rotary, its history, and its worldwide mission. Students will also be presented with the potential of establishing a more meaningful relationship with Rotary through one of its Interact or Rotaract Clubs or through direct involvement with its local Rotary Club. Rotarians will benefit by having a club project that provides an opportunity for local high school students to showcase their talents and that contributes to the student’s continuing education. Club members learn more about Rotary and their local high schools and students. A good partnership for club and student.
2. WHO IS ELIGIBLE:
Any high school student (freshman through senior) residing within District 6710's boundaries (Generally the Western half of Kentucky) is eligible. Students of Rotarians MAY NOW PARTICIPATE in their parent’s or relative’s Club Contest if that club is their school’s closest Rotary Club, providing their parents or relatives do not serve in any capacity in the staging of the club contest.
Private, public, and home taught high school students are eligible to compete. They should enroll in their nearest club holding a contest. Students may enter only one Rotary Club contest. Students entering more than one club contest will be disqualified from both and will surrender any prize money awarded to them. An alternate based on finish in each affected club will be selected to fill the disqualified slots. Clubs are to open their contest to all high school students in their service area. Students from more than one school and more than one student from any one school may end up competing in a club’s contest.
3. HOW TO BECOME A CONTESTANT:
Students should enter the Speech Contest of the nearest Rotary Club having a contest in their area by completing an application / release form for the contest. These forms should be available in their high school office, guidance office, speech teachers office, their local Rotary Club or on the Rotary District 6710 web site ( www.rotarydistrict6710.org ) under the youth services and speech contest tabs. Entry forms must be competed and submitted or a student will not be allowed to compete. It is highly recommended that all students interested in the contest enroll as early as possible and no later than the start of the Winter Holiday Break. Students should verify the contest date with their local club.
4. COMPOSING & DELIVERING THE SPEECH:
Students are expected to read and become familiar with the contest rules included in the speech packets. Students are to read the Speech Contest Topic sheet that is part of the Speech Contest Packet. They are also expected to research and address the speech topic. Students may consult teachers, parents, Rotary members or others for information, coaching or assistance, but each student must write their own speech. Any part of the speech from other sources must be acknowledged in the speech delivery. Students should become familiar with the contest rules and scoring system. Time limits for speeches is 5 to 8 minutes.
Students may use notes or cue cards while delivering their speech at the club level contests however, students will be down-scored if they read their speeches. Student Contestants who win their club contests must deliver their advanced contest speech (levels beyond the club level) without reading or using notes or cue cards. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Students who read or use notes at advanced contests will be penalized points, which will significantly affect their scores and jeopardize their chances of winning.
5. CONDUCTING THE CONTEST:
The Local Rotary Club Director responsible for Vocational Service, or a person designated by each club, shall serve as Club Speech Contest Chairperson. The Chair is responsible for contacting schools, gathering applications, managing and scheduling the club speech contest, reporting the contest winners, and enforcing contest rules. The Chairperson will be in-charge of the club contest which will be held at a regular or special club meeting. Only one contestant per club may advance to the next contest level. The second place winner shall serve as an alternate, in the event that the club winner cannot participate at the next contest level. Each sponsoring club is responsible for seeing that their winning contestant is advised of the location, time and date of the next level (Sectional) contest.
For fairness, contestants should be introduced as Contestant A, B, C, etc., not by names or schools. After the speeches, while Judges, Timekeepers, and Tellers are at work, contestants should introduce themselves and their guests and provide a few words about their background, interests, and what they intend to pursue in their future studies and careers. No one should be allowed to enter or leave the room during a speech. No speech should be applauded, as this may influence scoring. Applause can take place after all contestants have delivered speeches and contestants are asked to introduce themselves. The club may conduct club business or advise the parents and visitors of what they are doing in their community or otherwise during the time it takes the scores to be tallied and winners confirmed.
7. JUDGING AND SCORING:
If contestants use notes at any advanced contest level, there will be a deduction of 25 points off their score. Judges shall weigh each speech on basis of 1 to 100 points using these criteria: 1-30 for Delivery; 1-35 for Originality; 1-35 for Content. Score sheets are included in the Speech Packets and shall be used by each judge. In addition to the quality and delivery of the speeches, the Judges will be scoring on whether the speech addresses the assigned topic or theme. At least 3 Judges, 2 Timekeepers; and 2 Tellers should be on hand for each round of the Speech Contest. At least one of the Judges should be a Rotarian, whether from the club conducting the contest or from another club. Other candidates for Speech Contest Judges include teachers, administrators, government officials, etc. Contestants shall be allowed to have their parents or family members on hand at all contests. Timekeepers will time the speeches, and Tellers will compute the scores and assign penalties, if any. Final scoring will be calculated on a weighted point system per judge with 5 points going to each judge’s highest score, 3 points to 2nd place and 1 point to 3rd.
8. CONTEST MANAGEMENT:
Club Speech Contest winners shall advance to the club’s area Sectional Contest. The winner from each of the 6 Sectional Contests will advance to one of the three Regional Contests and Regional winners advance to the District Finals, which are held at the annual district conference each year in May. Regional Speech Contest Coordinators shall be responsible for coordinating the Sectional and Regional Contests in their Region. The District Speech Contest Chair will manage all levels of the contest and conduct the Speech Finals Contest. Area Assistant Governors are requested to assist the advanced contest coordinators when asked, and may be asked to serve as Judges at any contest level.
Each participant Rotary Club shall be responsible for their club’s cash award prizes of $300 to first, $200 to second and $100 to third place finishers. At each club’s discretion, additional prizes may be offered if there are more than three contestants. All prizes for contests beyond the club level will be provided by the District. Advanced Contest Prize amounts shall be determined yearly and published in the Speech Packets.
Each Club Speech Contest Chairperson/Coordinator is responsible to see that all High Schools in their service area are contacted and provided speech contest packets and entry forms or advised how to download them from the District Web Site. Contest posters should be provided for posting in each High School. Assistance from the principal, assistants, guidance counselors, speech teacher, debate coach, or other faculty members or parents is essential for the success of the students and of the program. The Club Speech Contest Chairperson is also responsible for publicity - providing press releases to the local media (radio, television, newspapers, web) about the contest and announcing and reporting contest winners. School newspapers and announcements should also be used to get the word out.
11. DISTRICT WEB SITE:
Contest Packets, resources and up to the minute information will be available at the District 6710 web site, www.rotarydistrict6710.org throughout the contest. Look under Youth Services and the Speech Contest tabs.
Currently I am enrolled at the above named school and wish to enter the Rotary District 6710 Speech Contest. It is my understanding that I am to present a 5 to 8 minute speech on this year’s Rotary Speech Contest Topic by participating in a locally sponsored Rotary Club Speech Contest. If I am successful, I will advance to a Sectional Contest, followed by a Regional Contest and then a District Final Contest. I also hereby consent to Rotary District 6710 publishing my photo or speech delivery to local newspapers and to the District Web site to publicize the winners and promote future Rotary Speech Contests. If I am not 18 years old, my parent or guardian gives their consent by signing below.