Four students from Howland High School competed last month in the Howland Rotary Club's 4-Way Test. The winner of the competition, Heather Johnson, went on the compete in the District 6650 competition March 31 in Canton.
Competitors are judged on their speeches in several categories, particularly the four provisions of the test, which are: 1. Is it the truth 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Students were judged by Rotary members based on a point system from 1 to 5 with 1 as poor and 5 as excellent, as well as the content of their speeches including originality, organization, clarity, clear relationship to the 4-Way Test and their use of supporting examples. Competitors were judged on delivery, which included poise, enunciation, bodily expression, use of voice and their ability to impress the audience. Speeches were to be at least four minutes long but no longer than seven minutes. A two-point deduction was given if the speaker went over or under the time limits, which included a 30-second grace period.
Howland Community News / Kathleen Evanoff
Students from Howland High School competed in the Howland Rotary Club’s 4-Way Test at Rotary’s March 12 meeting at Shepherd of the Valley. Based on the provisions of the Four Way Test, students delivered speeches that answered the questions: Is it the truth?; Is it fair to all concerned?; Will it build goodwill and better friendships?; and Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Competitors pictured from left are: sophomore Emily Kapp, 15; senior Emily Bednar, 17; junior Christian Cholcher, 16; and senior Heather Johnson, 17.
Christian Cholcher drew the first position as presenter. In his speech, he addressed the concepts of fear mongering and group-think. Stating several sources to back up his claims, Kapp stressed the need to be independent thinkers rather than base our fears and assumptions on what is seen or heard from celebrities, politicians and other role-models.
''As independent thinkers, we are less likely to be afraid,'' Cholcher said.
The second speaker was Emily Kapp, who said a breech of etiquette committed by many people today is based on a lack of class. Kapp said that television has evolved to more crude and violent programming, the public has become lazy in how they dress and how they act toward others.
''Many of us go through life ignoring signals that can make someone's day better,'' Kapp said, ''even if it's just opening a door for someone.''
Kapp said that lack of class can be solved by taking more time in the way we dress, how we present ourselves to others and how we treat others through our speech and gestures.
''Others will look at this generosity and be more apt to practice it themselves,'' she said.
Emily Bednar, compared using maps and compasses to get to a destination to following others versus using freewill to reach our goals.
''Why would anyone want to follow the maps of others and be stuck in a rut?'' ? said. ''The sum total of our personal experiences is the best map of all,'' she said.
Heather Johnson's speech stressed the dangers of living in a two-toned world with her comparisons of black and white versus gray.
''On a census form, we are asked to choose one box that defines us,'' Johnson said. ''We can not be defined by only one box.''
Explaining that people tend to see things in black or white when discussing politics or religion, Johnson told Rotarians the 4-Way Test demands that we abandon black and white and embrace the gray.
With the highest number of points, Johnson took home the prize of $100. The remaining three students received a participation prize of $50 each.