Posted on Apr 15, 2022
Plano West Rotary Club (PWRC) members believe in investing in the development of youth, as well as supporting their education, which is one of Rotary’s Areas of Focus. One way the club accomplishes this is by awarding scholarships to local high school students who excel in the preparation and delivery of a speech based on Rotary’s Four-Way Test.
Created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932, and adopted by Rotary International in 1943, the Four-Way Test asks four ethical questions about the things that Rotarians think, say and do:
  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
PWRC’s speech contest is actually part of a larger series of contests. First, all students in Plano ISD are invited to participate in the All-Plano Four-Way Test Speech Contest. To be eligible, each student must write an original speech of 5-7 minutes in length, applying the Four-Way Test to an issue in their everyday relationships.
On March 26 the All-Plano contest took place at Plano Senior High. Community members Kelley Thomas, Mary Jacobs and David Adams served as judges. Students ranking in the top 12 were then divided to participate in contests led by Plano West, Plano Sunrise, Plano East and Plano Metro Rotary Clubs based on their availability and which Interact Club they are associated with.
Judges Kelley Thomas, Mary Jacobs and David Adams
On March 29 three students presented their speeches at the Plano West Rotary contest. The same three judges gave their time. The students spoke on issues that mattered to them, covering social media, bullying and extra-curricular classes.
Ayan Sharma placed third, winning $100. Ravi Pitta placed second, winning $150. Madhalassa Iyer placed first, scooping up $250 and also qualifying to move on to the third speech contest – District 5810’s contest. The first-place winner there receives a $1,000 scholarship.
Altogether nine volunteers served a total of 45 hours for this project. Our club also donated $585 toward the scholarships, which included the $85 registration fee for our first-place winner to attend the District 5810 contest.
Beginning in January, club member Julia Lin took charge of planning both the All-Plano and PWRC speech contests. While also a full-time student at University of Texas in Austin, Julia coordinated logistics of the event days, helped advertise the contest to solicit competitors and rounded up judges. Fellow Rotarian and college student Zain Kalson took over the in-person duties here in Plano on both event days, and Rotarian Glen Thornton also assisted.
This is a service project close to Julia for personal reasons. Last year she was the winner of the PWRC and All-District speech contests while she was still a student in the Plano Senior High Interact Club. Impressively she also helped co-organize the contests last year.
“Students have voices, and we should listen to them. Their message is important, and we want to support them by listening and providing scholarships so they can achieve their goals,” said Julia.