The Big Valley Lions Club hosted an annual Lions speech contest for students. This annual contest is open to students (including foreign students) from grades 9 through 12. The stated purpose of the contest is to to provide an opportunity for competitive public speaking among students on a subject of vital interest to the contestants and to the American people as a whole. It is also intended to stimulate self expression, to present to the public through the student speakers the problems surrounding the maintenance of this commonwealth as a free nation and to consider the means at our disposal of meeting the present and future world problems. These words are from the official description of the speech contest by the Lions. This was the 69th Annual contest for the Lions.
The contest is held under very strict and formal rules. The topic is followed by all contestants throughout the nation, this year, "The Internet, Friend or Foe". The rules for both the contestants, the judges and the audience are very strict. This is to allow fair competition amongst all. Each speaker is allowed 10 minutes for the speech, no less then 5 minutes. There is a three minute silent period between each speech to give judges time to fill in their forms. No conferring with judges is allowed, no applauds until after all are finished, no eating or drinking in the audience and no noise emitting devices allowed. No one may enter or leave the room while the contestant is speaking.
It is a daunting experience for a person to speak before an unknown public audience and each contestant did very well, keeping their composure and not allowing their fear and nervousness to show. All speeches demonstrated a mature understanding and presentation of the subject. I was very impressed with the presentation and content of the speeches and could not help wishing that I could express myself as well as these young men and lady. Each gave a talk which was balanced, mature and showed an understanding of the subject.
There are cash and scholarship prizes awarded to winners of this contest. This was a "Club" event. The winner got $50 and each of the finalists got $25. The next stage is a "Zone" contest to be held March 4 in Burney. The winner there will get $75 and be eligible to compete in the Regional Contest which wins $125.
The next step is a District contest where each of 16 winners gets a $4000 scholarship followed by an Area contest for a prize of $6500 to each of 4 winners, then the Finals where each of 4 winners gets a $10,000 scholarship.
This year, the winner at Big Valley was Taylor Fulfer of Bieber. Congratulations Taylor. We wish you well!