Rotary clubs announce annual speech contest

Susanville’s Rotary Club and Sunrise Rotary announce the annual Rotary Speech Contest for students in the 9th though 12th grade.

The club contest is held on March 1, and the top two advance to the Area 1 Contest March 29.  The winner of that contest will advance to the District competition at the Rotary District Conference on April 29th in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  The winner at the district level will win $1,000.  The second place winner will earn $750 and third place $500.  At the club and area level, the firs place winner will receive $150 and second place $100 and third place $75.

Interested students can touch base with the counseling office at the high school or one of the various program advisors or the charter schools for a copy of the entry form, or Jim Chapman at or call (530) 251-6828.

Speech contest information
The theme for the 2023 Rotary District 5190 Speech Contest is “How have you imagined working together to better the lives of others, and how did you implement your idea?”

This contest is open to all students in grades 9-12, attending school and residing within the District 5190 boundaries. Each area will hold individual contests with the winners from the club contests. The Rotary Club of Susanville and the Rotary Club of Susanville Sunrise will hold a joint club contest at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. The top two winners of the Club contest will advance to the Area 1 contest at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, which will include the winner of the club contest held by the Rotary Club of Chester.

The club and Area 1 contests will be held at the Lassen Union High School District Board Room, 1000 Main Street in Susanville. The winner of the Area 1 contest will advance to the District 5190 contest that will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 29, at Harrah’s Hotel, Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

The winners of the Club contest will receive for first place, $150; second place, $100; and third place, $75. The third-place finisher will serve as the alternate for the Area 1 contest, if the first or second place finisher is unable to participate. The winners of the Area 1 contest will receive for first place, $150; second place, $100; and third place, $75. The second place finisher will serve as the alternate to the District 5190 contest, if the first place finisher is unable to participate. The winners of the District 5190 contest will receive for first place, $1,000; second place, $750; and third place, $500. All fourth place finishers will receive a $50 cash prize for their participation. Students must be available for all three levels to enter the competition.

Contest Rules
Your speech should be five to seven minutes in length. Penalties will be assessed for speeches less than five minutes and more than seven minutes.

Contestants may use written notes at the club and area contests only, speeches must be memorized at the District level.

A microphone must be used at the District contest.

No displays, props or prompting is allowed.

Use of four judges and one tiebreaker judge at all contests.

Arrival Time
All contestants must arrive at contest location no later than 10 minutes before the start of the contest. Late arrivals will be disqualifed. No exceptions.

Judging will be based on the following — Delivery. Enunciation and pronunciation — can you understand the speaker’s words easily, without straining? Does the speaker pronounce words clearly and correctly? Expressiveness and Poise —  does the speaker change pace, sentence structure, and volume levels? Does the speaker stand straight, maintain eye contact, and gesture appropriately? Sense of Humor — is there a light touch? Does the speaker enjoy the topic? Is the humor poignant? Sincerity and Tone — does the speaker believe what he or she is saying or is the speech just so many words?

Delivery is the tiebreaker, so pay close attention to your delivery. Originality. Uniqueness, have you heard these points before, or is this a new way of approaching the topic? Imagination — are the illustrations unexpected, fresh? Is this creative, original and unconventional? Engaging, is the audience rapt? Are they really tuned into the speaker or merely listening politely? Content. Relevance to subject — is the opening relevant to the development of the topic or is it merely dramatic? Are the stories and anecdotes critical to the main idea of the speech, or are they merely colorful? Logical development — could you easily outline the speech? The opening and conclusion should consolidate the approach to the topic. Clarity of ideas — are the major points clear, and are they supported by convincing data or logic?

This is a serious competition that provides you an opportunity to build and test your skills, earn some serious cash and wow your friends, teachers, family and the community. For more information or to submit your Student Entry Form, contact Rotarian Jim Chapman, at or call (530) 251-6828.