Student Speakers Impress at Rotary Club of Castro Valley’s Youth Speech Contest

Left to right: Speech Contest Chair Jeff Moore, Theo Clausen (RCHS), Josiah Saavedra-Flores (RCHS), Xander Russell (RCHS - 2nd Place), Jennifer Mi (CVHS - 1st), Catherine Chen (RCHS - 3rd Place), Audrey Tang (RCHS), Rotary Club of Castro Valley President Dwight Perry.
Photo by Gary Bosley
On February 15, the Rotary Club of Castro Valley hosted the Richard D. King Annual Youth Speech Contest for Rotary District 5170, featuring students from Castro Valley High School and Redwood Christian High School.  All six student speakers spoke on the theme: “Serve to Change Lives.”   Speeches also had to include at least one principle of Rotary International’s 4-Way Test: Is it the TRUTH?  Is it FAIR to all concerned?  Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?  Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Castro Valley Rotary President Dwight Perry expressed what all present experienced: “Each year, the students impress our Club membership, not only by the quality of their presentations, but, more important, by the thought and preparation each invested in their topic, many from their personal experiences and challenges, and the joy that they received from putting others before themselves.  We are so proud of our students.
To watch the student speeches, click here.
First place was awarded to junior Jennifer Mi of Castro Valley High School, who won with "Black Garbage Bag."  She spoke about the foster care system, reminding everyone that foster youth deserve to keep their dignity when entering care, and encouraging all present to commit to supporting the emotional well-being of those navigating the system.  As the winner at the Club Level of competition, Jennifer advances to the next Area 4 level of competition on March 10 at Foothill High School in Pleasanton.

Second place was awarded to Redwood Christian High School senior Xander Russell, who spoke about three areas of his personal involvement: Vertical Children’s Choir (Castro Valley Community Youth Choir for 3rd through 8th grade that performs musicals hosted by Redwood Chapel Community Church), Crossover Basketball (a co-ed basketball ministry overseen by Redwood Christian Schools and jointly led by members of the Castro Valley area church community for students aged 2nd grade to 8th grade), and Operation Christmas Child (a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse International providing a Christmas Shoe Box gift for children around the world).  The title of his speech was “Being a Difference Maker for Future Generations.”

Third place was awarded to Redwood Christian High School senior Catherine Chen, who spoke in support of libraries, sharing specific services and opportunities provided by “our dedicated librarians as libraries have always adapted to adjust to what society currently needed at that time, such as creating a pick-up system for borrowing books; not everyone grew up learning how to use i-Phones, computers, and other technology and all people should have the resources and learn how to use them.”  Catherine also recognized and commended Rotary for their efforts to combat adult literacy and improve education on a global scale.  The title of her speech was “The Importance of Public Libraries.”

Other Speech Meet contestants were Redwood Christian High School seniors Theo Clausen, Josiah Flores and Audrey Tang.
Speech Meet Chair Jeff Moore Jeff Moore was impressed by all the contestants and stated, “The caliber of Castro Valley High and Redwood Christian School students never ceases to amaze me. All contestants were awesome and did a fantastic job in preparing and delivering a unique speech."
To watch the student speeches, click here.