Judge Todd Eid, back left, second place winner Neil Growdon, judge David Teeter, Charity Richards, front left, third place winner Therese Bertotti, first place winner Elise Giles, District Attorney and judge Melyssah Rios, Charles White, Kay Oring and Lewis Oring pose for a picture following the Susanville Rotary Speech competition with the theme: “Making Connections as We Create Lasting Change.” Photo by Glenda Svendsen

Giles nabs first place in Rotary speech contest

Four local teens recently competed in the Susanville Rotary Speech competition with the theme, “Making Connections as We Create Lasting Change.”

The competitors were Lassen High School seniors Neil Growdon, Charity Richards, Elise Giles and junior Therese Bertotti, who is home schooled.

Each student shared meaningful examples of connections in their own lives while judges David Teeter, Melyssah Rios, Charles White, Kay and Lewis Oring and Todd Eid took notes on delivery and poise among other criteria.

This year marks the 19th year Eid has served on the judges panel.

He encouraged the students at the conclusion of the event saying, “You are all remarkable for competing in this contest. I admire your courage because I know how difficult public speaking is. I wish that I had the confidence at your age to pursue public speaking. This skill will prove valuable throughout your life and is an asset that will equip you to move forward in any pursuit. Participating in this competition takes guts and you are all winners in my eyes.”

Giles took first place, Growdon won second and Therese Bertotti was awarded third.

Giles and Growdon will move on to the area competition and the winner of that round will go up against a dozen other speakers in Reno on April 25 where they will compete in front of an audience of hundreds for a cash award.