Submitted by Lisa Kelly
On a Saturday in February, students from Plumas Charter School and Quincy High School competed in the annual Rotary Speech and Music Contests. Adhering to COVID protocols, the talented students put forth their best efforts speaking and performing, not in front of a live audience as has been the traditional mode of delivery, but directly to a camera lens. Both speech and music contests were held online the following two Mondays during Rotary meetings on Zoom. While the contests’ context was far from “normal” the entries surpassed expectations!
The theme for this year’s speech contest was appropriate. “Turning challenges into opportunities as we create transformative change.” The topic was prefaced by the following: “As we all know, life is a journey with many challenges. Rotarians turn the challenges they encounter into opportunities for transformative change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. What opportunities does Rotary open for young people to make transformative changes?”
The task of judging was challenging and the point spread was narrow. First place went to Kayla Thackeray, second place went to Kate Baker, the third-place winner was Lexi Baumgartner and fourth place went to Teagan Lopez-Schrammel.
There were six music contest entries including brass, strings and percussion. In first place was Tristan McMichael playing the sax; second place was awarded to Lilah Washburn on the mandolin and third place went to Emma Beatley on the piano.
Again, judging was an arduous task as all entries were impressive. Accolades and acknowledgements were given by the students to both Jane Brown, PUSD music teacher and Greg Willis, music teacher at Plumas Charter School. According to Rotary President Kory Felker, “Youth service is a high priority in Rotary, and by organizing club, area, and district competitions, we serve our students and hope to inspire creativity, public speaking and performance skills as well as instill self-confidence.”
Both first place winners, Tristan and Kayla, will progress on to the Area contests and the winners of each Area will compete at the Rotary District Conference on May 1. The winners of the District Conference will each be awarded $1,000.