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Abbie O'Neill Wins Rotary Speech Contest

March 17, 2012

BENNINGTON - With a hushed but excited decision, the four judges at the Rotary Speech Contest awarded Abbie O'Neill the top prize in the Rotary's annual Four-Way Test Speech Contest in Bennington. A senior at Mount Anthony Union High School with plans to follow pre-medical studies in college, O'Neill analyzed the Four-Way Test directly, looking also at its historical development.

As the contest winner, O'Neill will receive $300 and a trip to the regional contest in Henniker, N.H., in April. O'Neill spoke comfortably in her presentation to the audience of Rotarians and community members. Judges rank the speeches for content, organization, and delivery.

Robert Murphy, a junior at Mount Anthony, was awarded second prize of $200 for his speech promoting an orientation to community service over a focus on making exclusively self-serving choices.

The contest is sponsored by the Bennington and Catamount Rotary Clubs to highlight the importance of civil discourse. Speakers must address the Four-Way Test, a set of values that Rotarians use to translate high ethical standards into actions.

The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions: "Of the things we think, say or do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"

The contest is open to high school students in grades 9 through 12, living in Arlington, Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, and Woodford.

Students choose their own topics, and deliver a short 5 to 7 minute speech. Speeches cannot be memorized nor read. Only note cards are allowed so that students must have thought through their topics.

The contest was held in the Rotary Room of the Bennington Free Library.

Author: Banner Staff
Compliments of: The Bennington Banner

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