The Los Gatos Rotary clubs—morning and afternoon—have been busy working with area students to encourage participation in the annual Richard D. King Youth Speech Contest.
The morning club, which meets at 7:15 a.m. Wednesdays at the Los Gatos Lodge, held its competition this week with students from Los Gatos and Santa Teresa high schools participating at the preliminary club level.
Los Gatos High School English teacher Sharon Smith sponsored contestants and LGHS students Victoria Jones and William Butler, with Jones winning and proceeding now to the area-level competition to be held between Jan. 28-Feb. 8.
Second-place winner, Annika Hudak, was accompanied by parents Mona and John. She was sponsored by the San Jose East/Evergreen Rotary Club, and is a junior at Santa Teresa High School. Butler finished third.
The afternoon club, which meets at 12:15 p.m. Tuesdays also at the Los Gatos Lodge, will host its competition at 11:55 a.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Four LGHS students will present five-minute talks on the topic of this year's Rotary International theme, "Peace Through Service."
Cash prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place winners. The first-place speaker advances to the next level of the competition. A $1,000 prize is awarded to the Rotary District 5170 winner at the District Conference at the Meritage Resort, Napa, on March 24, 2013.
Competing will be LGHS students Krystopher Weeton, a sophomore; David Zhang, a junior; and Kevin Luu and Olivia Flechsig, seniors.
The students also come from Smith's speech and debate program. Smith was LGHS Teacher of the Year for 2011-12.
Smith oversees an ambitious program that has produced state and national winners in a broad array of speech and platform events.
This year there are nearly 50 students on the LGHS speech and debate team, from freshmen to seniors.
They compete in 12 different individual events and three types of debate (parliamentary debate, policy debate, and congressional debate).
Last year they won second in the state in parliamentary debate. They also won the Stanford invitational, the Martin Luther King Invitational, and the California Cup in parliamentary debate.
Los Gatos took fourth in the nation in congressional debate last year as well.