The regional level of the Lions Club speech competition took place last Saturday at Minarets High School in O'Neals, with Minarets senior Mikayla Kopp, 17, taking top honors. She is sponsored by the North Fork Lions Club.
"Mikayla's fantastic," past president of the North Fork Lions Ken Goodwin said. "What else can I say? I went to the finals last year with our contestant, and Mikayla's presentation is so good if not better than the contestants competing last year."
The other two competitors were Chowchilla High senior Kyle Hansen, 17, sponsored by the Chowchilla Lioness Lions, and El Capitan High freshman Rose Chang, 15, sponsored by the Merced Breakfast Lions Club.
This is the 77th annual Lions Student Speakers contest, with this year's theme being Community Service: What does it mean and why does it matter?
Participants were judged on content (logical introduction and content development with supporting materials), delivery (clear enunciation, appropriate gestures and body movements, speech pace), and overall effectiveness of speech (was it persuasive or merely delivering a talk, did personality show).
The competition progresses from region to district to area and then to final contest, in which the three best in California speak. It is possible for the final winner to walk away with a combined total of $21,325 in scholarship monies.
The purpose of this speech competition is to provide an opportunity for high school students to speak on an important topic, which stimulates both self-expression and independent thinking.
"I'm just happy to be moving on," Kopp said, "and to continue my experience with the Lions Club." Kopp will now move on the next level the district competition, which will be held Saturday, April 26, at the Marriot in San Ramon.
"I was proud to host the regional finals," Chris Baker, Bass Lake Lions Club member said. "These young ladies and gentleman presented themselves in a calm and professional manner, and are a credit to themselves, family and communities. I look forward to seeing Ms. Kopp compete at the district convention."
In last year's finals, a participant from the North Fork Lions Club took second place.