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Students compete in speech contest

On March 15, five Whitehall High School and two Catasauqua High School students spoke during Whitehall Area Rotary Club’s annual 4-Way Test Speech Contest.

As articulate as Rhodes Scholars, these seven high school students each presented a topic of their choice, as they tried to persuade the judges and audience using the Rotary 4-Way Test. The 4-Way Test asks the following questions: Is it the truth Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Club members and Fellowship Community staff participated as judges, moderators, timekeeper and teller.

Contestants were challenged to stay within the five- to seven-minute limit. They were judged on originality, content and delivery. The student with the highest points wins $250 and the opportunity to compete in the Rotary north region contest. All contestants receive $50 each. Topics varied but were delivered with equal passion and intensity.

Several students focused on current health care issues. The first speech, “Gun Violence in Schools,” was delivered by WHS senior Mikayla Warren, who set the stage for serious and thought-provoking topics. Other topics included “Peer Sexual Assault,” given by WHS Senior Megan Walitsch, and “The Consequences of Spending Too Much Time on the Phone,” given by WHS student Olivia Mrazik, a topic that gave pause to the audience.

WHS senior Syenna Young spoke about “Normalization of Sexual Phrases,” and WHS senior Andy Lora Pimental, this year’s winner, spoke about “The Injustice of the Health Care System.” He won the regional contest April 1 and will participate in the district-level contest in early May. Pimental plans to attend college and eventually work for NASA.

CHS seniors Ashley Price and Kayla Cunningham spoke about “The Real Threat to Women’s Rights” and “The Mental Health Crisis in Adolescent Youth,” respectively.

The WHS faculty adviser is Michelle Abbadessa, and CHS’ faculty adviser is Ashley Schmidt.

PRESS PHOTOS BY JENN RAGO Whitehall High School student contestants in Whitehall Area Rotary Club's 4-Way Test Speech Contest gather with their student adviser and friends March 15.
WHS student Olivia Mrazik gives her speech before the judges and audience.
Andy Lora Pimental and Rotary President Dianne Frana display the big check awarded to Pimental. He is the 2023 winner of the club's competition. Pimental also won the regional contest April 1 and will participate in the district-level contest in early May.