Yellowjacket speakers take 1st and 3rd at Rotary Speech Competition

Andrew Diaz and Matthew Duran headline group of 10 CHS juniors who gave speeches at the annual community service organization’s event


J. Dollins

Andrew Diaz, Angela Santana (BHS), and Matthew Duran show off their winnings in the annual Rotary Club 4-Way Speech Competition.

Jeremiah Dollins, Pepper Bough Adviser

Colton, CA—Denny’s on Valley Boulevard played host to much more than a Grand Slam on Friday, March 17. The Colton chapter of the Rotary Club held their local 4-Way Test Speech competition in the restaurant’s banquet room.

Colton’s Andrew Diaz took first place and Matthew Duran took third place out of the field of 15 participants from across Colton Joint Unified School District. Students delivered speeches about mental health, the dangers of corporate data collection, taking a break from social media, the value of offering programs like the HEAL pathway at more schools, making amends, and the power of hope.

All of the speakers unite. Back row: Santiago Benitez, Mauricio Apodaca, Andrew Diaz, Matthew Duran, Juliette Echauregui, Jasmine Rodriguez. Front row: Mia Zamora, Angela Santana, Nicole Valadez, Joany Moreno-Gomez, Kai Pacheco, Rosario Ornelas, Melanie Franco, Natalie Diaz, Jennifer Puga (J. Dollins)

Second place went to Bloomington High School’s Angela Santana. Winners received cash prizes, with first place taking home $200, second place receiving $100, and third place receiving $50. All other participants received $25.

Diaz, one of the ten CHS students participating from Ms. Lucy Leyva’s AP English class, was excited about the victory. “I wasn’t expecting to win here at all,” he said. “I said the speech as best as I possibly could.”

Matthew Duran was also surprised by his third place win. “My topic wasn’t the most important, or most emotional out there,” he said, referring to his speech about data collection and the invasion of privacy. “I feel like I was so passionate about my topic that I did what I had to do to come in third place.”

The 4-Way Test Speech Competition, a staple of Rotary Club International since 1984, invites high school students nationwide to participate by showing how the Rotary’s “4-Way test” applies in their daily lives. Student speakers were given the flexibility to choose their own topic through the lens of the 4-Way Test. This includes recognizing the truth of the speech, its fairness, ability to spread goodwill, and provide benefit to those impacted.

Diaz will now move on in the Rotary Club competition to the next level, where he will face a larger group of students in the region. Date, time, and location to be determined.

Colton participants included: Mauricio Apodaca, Andrew Diaz, Natalie Diaz, Matthew Duran, Juliette Echauregui, Melanie Franco, Rosario Ornelas, Jennifer Puga, Nicole Valadez, and Mia Zamora.

Bloomington High participants included: Santiago Benitez and Angela Santana.

Slover Mountain participants included: Joany Moreno-Gomez, Kai Pacheco, and Jasmine Rodriguez.