Students compete in Rotary speech contest

QCHS sophomore Brooke Alsante won the Rotary Four-Way Test Speech Competition in a close contest with Emily Park, Ryan Mott and Richa Chawla.
Posted on 03/25/2022
Students, from left, Ryan Mott, Emily Parker, Brooke Alsante, and Richa Chawla pose for a photo prior to the competition.

By Gary Weckselblatt

In a close speech contest among four quality Quakertown Community High School public speaking students, sophomore Brooke Alsante captured the Rotary Four-Way Test Speech Competition.

“It’s the closest we’ve ever had,” Dave Freeman, President and Chief Executive Officer of QNB Bank, said of the competition. It’s his eighth year as director of the event. “We’re all about service to the community. This is a great way to get our message across. Having these students put their spin on it is a wonderful thing.”

Brooke, winner of the $100 first-place prize, edged out Emily Parker, Ryan Mott, and Richa Chawla, who finished second-, third- and fourth-place, respectively. Runners-up won $50, $25, and a gift card.

Brooke, who spoke about pay inequity among men and women, said “I’m really surprised to have won. I wasn’t expecting it. But this is something I’m passionate about.”

The purpose of the speech is to apply the principles of Rotary International’s Four-Way Test to a current ethical issue. The principles are:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Students identify a topic and take a point of view on which they seek to persuade others. Each part of the Four-Way Test should be addressed during the speech. The speech must last between five and seven minutes. Scoring is based on content (44 points), organization (24), and delivery (32).

In addition to Brooke’s pay inequity, topics included sexism and athletics (Emily), the need for public speaking classes (Ryan), and the opioid crisis (Richa).

“These students really know what’s going on in the world,” said Nicole Roeder, the high school’s public speaking teacher. “They know what’s happening and want to make a difference.”

Dr. Michael Zackon, QCSD’s Supervisor of Secondary Programs, said "Observing our students express themselves in such a challenging environment and format was impressive. I am so proud of their public speaking skills. We are incredibly appreciative of the Quakertown Rotary Club for supporting, running, and leading this fabulous activity."

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].

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