The theme of this year's Rotary Club of Campbell's Speech Contest was "Building Communities, Bridging Continents," and contestants incorporated this into their speeches.
A swimmer from , an Advanced Placement student from Leigh High School and a home-schooled piano player all participated in this year's contest, with speeches on cancer, the benefits of war and the importance of the little things in the greater picture.
Cooper Dauer's speech on smaller things, such as individuals and their importance in the greater scheme of things, was the winning speech.
Cooper is home-schooled, plays the piano and is involved in various extra curricular activities and community service, including his time with Live Action, a pro-life club, as well as with the Boy Scouts.
Zoe Demertzis's speech on a girl she met with cancer, cancers' impact on lives both locally as well as globally, and the organization Relay For Life came in second.
Zoe takes various AP classes at Leigh High School, is involved in multiple clubs and was asked by Campbell Rotary if she'd be interested in starting a new Interact club on campus. She says she's interested.
James Serassio's speech on the Afghan War and its benefits to both Afghanistan and the U.S. came in third.
James was on the varsity swim team his freshman, sophomore and junior years at Westmont High School. This year, he says he took a break from the sport to pick up a job to save money for college. He hopes to work for the FBI in the future.
The three take home checks for $100, $50 and $25 respectively from the Rotary Club of Campbell.
"The prizes are awarded with no strings attached," says Janine Payton, Rotary member and emcee for the event.
However, it is hoped that the award may be used to further the student’s education.
"Our goal as Rotarians is to recognize and to support these young people who are tomorrow’s leaders," Payton says.
The next leg of the contest will take place March 1 at in Campbell. The winner of this Area contest will move on to the Regional on March 22 at Los Gatos Lodge, and the winner of that will move on to the district-wide contest on April 6 at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose.
Campbell Patch Editor Mayra Flores De Marcotte was a judge at this event.