Collegeville Rotary Club Holds ‘Four-Way Test’ Speech Contest
This year, the Collegeville Rotary opened the contest to Methacton High School students.
The Collegeville Rotary Club held its first Four-Way Test Speech Contest featuring Methacton High School (MHS) students on the evening of March 20. The speech contest took place at Ursinus College’s Pfahler hall in Collegeville.
According to the Rotary Club contest rules, the Four-Way Test speeches are rooted in the Rotarian concern with promoting high ethical standards in professional life. The contest asks high school students to demonstrate principles of ethics through public speaking on a topic of their choice. During their speeches, the students incorporate the Rotarian Four-Way Test questions as a barometer to how strong their subject matter adheres to such ethical principles as:
- Is it Truth?
- Is it Fair to all concerned?
- Will it build Goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?
“We like to support our high school students in our community,” Joy Miksic, Collegeville Rotary Club president, said.
She added that public speaking also presents students with an opportunity to practice leadership skills.
The Collegeville Rotary Club is part of the Rotary District 7430, which started participating in the Four-Way Test Speech contest at least five years ago, Miksic said. This year, the district has 45 district Rotary clubs participating in the contest. However, Miksic points out that the contest is new to the Collegeville Rotary. She said last year, the Collegeville Rotary invited Perkiomen Valley High School students at their high school, but this year, for the first time, the club is now working with MHS students.
MHS Interact and Electric Car Club
“It was natural for me,” Karthik Pillutla, MHS senior, said of participating in the speech ethics contest. “Environmental responsibility means a lot to me.”
During his speech, he talked about the goodwill and benefits of being environmentally responsible, such as investing in renewable energy to help bring new jobs. After being told about the contest by his seniors gifted students teacher Susan Cattie, Karthik said that he wanted the opportunity to speak to a new audience about environmental pitfalls, such as a dependency on fossil fuels, and the growing popularity of alternative energy, such as the 200-thread comments and advice he received on how to construct an electric bicycle.
Karthik is also member of the MHS Electric Car Club, and said that the club has been a major influence in his life.
“The goal of our club is to educate people one car at a time,” Karthik said.
The evening’s program listed Karthik and another MHS student as the contestants, but the other contest was not able to attend. However, by chance, another MHS student was in the audience and readily stepped forward to create an impromptu speech that seemed a natural fit for the occasion.
“I knew Interact club would be easy to talk about, because it applies to the 4-Way Test,” Sasha Kurumety, MHS junior and first Interact Club president, said.
According to Rotary.org, the Interact Club is a service-oriented youth organization, sponsored by a local Rotary Club. Sasha, during her speech, explained that she wanted a way to bring community service opportunities to her fellow classmates, and this summer, went on to create the high school’s first Interact Club under the sponsorship of the Collegeville Rotary.
She said that students have the opportunity to support both local and international goodwill causes through the Interact Club. By the start of the 2012-2013 school year, Sasha said that approximately 50 students had signed up to become members.
“I pushed for the club, because I knew it would be beneficial to all concerned,” Sasha said, during her speech. “It would help get the students at Methacton more involved with their community.”
Leadership Skills and Monetary Prizes
Three judges, using a speech rubric, helped decide the winner of the first MHS and Collegeville Rotary Club 4-Way contest:
- John McCarthy, customer relations at Iron Mountan
- Dr. Andrew Economopoulos, professor at Ursinus College
- Thomas Kennen of Keenan, Esq. of Ciccitto and Associates
As the first place student, Karthik won $100, which was sponsored by Larry Hoak of State Farm Insurance in Collegeville. Karthik is now eligible to compete in the regional contest, which will ultimately lead to the Rotary District 7430 speech contest on April 27, whose grand prize is $1,000.
Robert Burns, the Collegeville Rotary Club chair for the 4-Way speech contest, said hopes that more MHS students will participate in future competitions. He said he plans on reaching out to the school’s public speaking teachers and other faculty to help entice student participation.
“You have a chance to develop leadership skills,” Burns said. “And a chance to win monetary prizes.”