The 77th annual Lions Student Speakers Contest began this month. This year's topic was: Community Service: What does it mean and why does it matter?
Each high school student was required to speak at least three minutes and no more than 10.
Under the guidance of Ellen Peterson at Yosemite High School, students have been preparing for this competition. Peterson is also the onsite advisor for the YHS Leo Club, which is sponsored by both the Bass Lake and Sierra Lions clubs.
Five students participated in the first event sponsored by the Oakhurst Mountain Lions Club on Feb. 12 at the Best Western Restaurant. Participating students were Tyler Pierce, Evan Diehl, Kiersten Riggs, Torree Riggs and Kaitlyn Sikora. As the winner, Torree Riggs, will move on to the next level the zone competition.
The Bass Lake Lions Club held their club competition on the same day at Ducey's Bar & Grill. Jayda Grossi was named the winner and will compete in the zone competition to be held at 3 p.m. on March 12 at the Sue Rhu Room of the Oakhurst Library.
The winners in each competition move on to compete with other winners. Following the "club" competition, contests are zone, region, district and the final competition, the area, in which the three best in California speak.
Last year, a participant from the North Fork Lions Club took second place.
"It's very exciting to see these students speak, and at the final event, because the student has won a monetary amount at each level, the final winner could conceivably walk away with $25,000," Oakhurst Mountain Lions Club President Wayanne Markley said.
The purpose of the competition is to provide student scholarships.
The Lions Club connects 1.3 million men and women in more than 200 countries and regions all working together to benefit their communities. Known for working to end preventable blindness, Lions participate in a vast variety of projects that range from cleaning up local parks to providing supplies to victims of natural disasters.