2020 4 Way Test Speech Contest
February and March-Contests in your Town, at your club
March 21, 2020-Semi-Final for East at Norwich Free Academy
March 28, 2020-Semi-Final for West at Trumbull Library
April 25, 2020-Finals at Mystic District Conference 1 PM Mystic Marriott
District 7980 Contacts 2019-2020
At the District Conference:
Contact: Jack Solomon (914) 309-3904
District 7980 Conference;
Date: Saturday April 25th 2020 at 1PM, Arrival Time: 11:00am
Location: Mystic Marriot Conference center,
Prizes: Winner 1st $500, 3 runner ups $300.00
For semi finals they are broken down as follows at this time due to an increase in club participation may affect area semifinal location.
Local Contact: Areas 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9
Mark Davis / Chair Person
Semi Final: (contact at Library Judy)
March 28th, 2020 9am-12noon
Main Library, Starts at 10am Trumbull
Local Contact: Areas 10/11/12
James (Jim) Troeger
March 21, 2020 9am-12noon Norwich Free Academy, Slater Hall starts at 10 am
District 7980’s Four Way Test Speech Competition continues to be successful — and
will be even more so as more clubs participate and sponsor their local high school(s).
The competition is open to every high school student in the district, subject only to a
club sponsoring the student.
The contest requires that each contestant write and present a speech of five to seven
minutes — about 750 to 1,000 words — on a topic of their choice, to which they apply
the Four Way Test. The speech can be personal — a decision the student had to
make, a situation they were involved in (bullying seems a popular topic because schools
are working very hard to eliminate it). Or it can be broader — global warming, capital
punishment, school shootings, gun laws, mental illness, lack of parental role models. All
of these meet the tenets of the Four Way Test. Rotary will not censor talks other than to
assure they are in good taste.
The following are the tasks you will need to complete be successful:
Identify Club Coordinator(s) — Start as soon as you can. This should be a simple
request at a meeting. Seek out a member who is a high school parent, a teacher or
administrator, or even a Board of Education member. Include a new member to assist,
to build engagement. The task of overseeing the process is only intermittently
demanding, and then only for short periods.
Identify an In-School Faculty Adviser — The Club Coordinator should meet with your
best contact(s) — a Principal, Assistant Principal, a senior teacher or administrator. If
you sponsor an Interact club, club members or the Club Adviser could help. While
being a Faculty Adviser also requires only intermittent work, you may want to offer an
honorarium. Invite the Adviser to a meeting at the end of the process as a thank you,
and honor them in front of the club. While Speech, Debate and Language Arts (what we
used to call English) teachers are the most obvious, a previous Staples Advisor is a
Health teacher, and she was excellent. The Wallingford advisers are Social Studies and
Identify sources for potential student participants — The same classes and
activities whose teachers/advisers are the best sources for program leadership are the
best sources of participants — Language Arts, Speech, perhaps Drama classes, and
extra-curricular activities such as the Debate Team, Pre-Law club, and Moot Court
Recruit Student Participants — Ask the Faculty Adviser to hold in-school meetings to
get the word out as soon as you can, perhaps in the Fall semester, to get activity started
early. Recruiting a student who writes for the student newspaper to publish/post a story
should help (we will help with this if that helps). If your high school has a relevant
Facebook page, a Twitter or Instagram presence or any other active social media
activity — or if your Adviser has a social media presence for his/her role as a teacher —
use that to get the word out (do not seek to use teachers’ personal social media
Your objective should to recruit four to six students at the start. Don’t be surprised if
one or more drops out. While the benefits of competing are substantial, more so if
the student wins at any level, researching, writing and practicing is a non-trivial task.
It is essential that every student contemplating participating understands that if (s)he
wins your local competition, (s)he must be able to attend the Semi-Final. And if they
win there, they must be able to represent their school and your club at the Final, so
we are assured of four speakers.
Write, Prepare and Practice Speeches — Students should start research and writing
during the Fall semester to get as much as they can out of the way as soon as possible
(recognizing this runs counter to human nature). They don’t need a finished product
then, but semester exams typically begin after Winter Break.
Let me suggest that as students start to practice their speeches, they use their
phones to video themselves to see how they look and sound, to assure their speech
is between five and seven minutes, and to help them learn their speech. The more of
their speech they memorize, the better their presentation. They’ll figure this out.
Local competition — The number of participants you attract may define how you
select your club finalist. If you have five or fewer competitors you may want to invite
them to speak at one of your meetings, and so allow your entire club to see the
speakers and act as judges.
Staples, which has participated for many years, has had as many as nine competitors.
They hold an in-school competition to select three winners, who then compete to
select a speaker to represent Westport at an off site competition in the Semi-Final.
Most clubs offer cash awards to each of the local finalists.
1 st $150, 2 nd $75, 3 rd $50 and 4 th $50 as examples.
This competition can be judged in several formats. The more informal (or direct) is to
hold the competition at a club meeting and have members choose the winner, (using
either the Judging Form or a simple majority choice). The more formal — a great way
to get some local publicity for your event — is to hold the competition at a location like
a school auditorium or Town Hall and seek out (as many as) five community leaders
— teachers, religious leaders, your mayor or first selectman, School Superintendent,
or the like as judges.
When you judge at the club level, the key points should be how well the student made
their argument, how persuaded were you by that argument, and how well they applied
the Four Way Test.
Semi-Final — The fee for a student who wins the local competition to participate in the
Semi-Final is $150.00, payable by sponsoring club. Students give the same speech,
typically better than before. The Semi-Final for Areas 1-9 will be held at the Trumbull
Library, on March 28, 2020, and at Slater Hall, Norwich Free Academy for Areas 10-12,
on March 21, 2020.
District Final — The winners from each Semi-Final will compete immediately after
lunch at our Mystic District Conference on Saturday April 25, 2020, at The
Mystic Marriott Hotel in Groton, Connecticut. Arrive at 11am. The event may
be video recorded. Rotary will provide lunch for students and parents.