On February 23, the Rotary Club of Castro Valley hosted the First Round of the Rotary District 5170  Richard D. King Annual Youth Speech Contest for students attending Castro Valley High School (CVHS) and Redwood Christian High School (RCHS).  Due to the current Shelter-in-Place orders, the contest was held virtually under the outstanding leadership of Bernie Kempen, who served as the Speech Contest Chair for the Club.  
Each student's speech was recorded live on Zoom prior to the meeting according to the Speech Contest rules.  The theme of this year’s contest was "Rotary Opens Opportunities,” which had to be clearly identified in the speech.  Each student had to clearly relate, apply, or interweave one or more of Rotary’s Four Way Test principles into the speech:  
  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Is it BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The speeches were then scored according to the Speech Contest rubrics and guidelines by Rotarians Realtor and President-Elect Murline Monet, and Attorneys Jim Phillips and Mark Poniatowski.  After showing the speeches, Bernie Kempen announced the winners:
  • 1st Place (Prize $100) - Olivia Fryling (RCHS, 12th Grade) - “A Homage to the Heroes Behind the Scenes”;
  • 2nd Place (Prize $50) - Jonathan Burckin (RCHS, 12th Grade) - “The Forgotten of Society”;
  • 3rd Place (Prize $25) - Rohan John (RCHS, 12th Grade) - “The Opportunity of Growth.”
Other students participating in the Speech Contest included Nathaniel Calvert (RCHS, 12th Grade) - “Building Bridges Internationally”; Quentin Hansen (CVHS, 9th Grade) - “Together Though Apart”; Rayah Miller (RCHS, 12th Grade) - “The Importance of Education for high-risk Women”; and Kaitlin Tchang (CVHS, 9th Grade) - “Opening One Opportunity at a Time.”
Olivia Fryling, daughter of Pastor Larry and Arlene Fryling of Hayward, and Jonathan Burckin, son of Mark and Becki Burckin of Castro Valley, will move onto the Area 4 Speech Contest, which includes the eight (8) Rotary Clubs in Castro Valley, Dublin, Hayward, Livermore and Pleasanton, on March 8.  The winner of the Area 4 Speech Contest will then compete in the District 5170 Speech Contest.

The Speech Contest is one of the many ways Rotary promotes Youth Service among its members.  The 61 Rotary Clubs of District 5170 sponsor the Richard D. King Annual Youth Speech Contest with three goals in mind for the Club Members and each Speech Contest Participant:
  • To increase the personal knowledge and awareness of the importance of being able to speak effectively before a group.
  • To increase public knowledge of what Rotary is and does throughout the world, especially among young people. Through this knowledge, we hope that they will learn, as we have in the past,  “He who serves best profits most.”
  • To increase participation in the contest and to provide all high school contestants an opportunity to win prizes as top speaker, or runners-up, in District 5170.
Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as RotaractInteractRotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.
Richard D. King for whom the contest is named has served in leadership roles in the Rotary Club for 35 years, as a Club President, District Governor, Trustee of the Rotary Foundation, International Director, Chairman of the Executive Committee, and last year as the world President of Rotary International. King’s term produced the single largest growth year in Rotary’s 98-year history. From July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002 some 75,000 new members joined Rotary; 1,158 new Rotary Clubs were chartered (more than one every 8 hours); 795 new Interact Clubs (high school Rotary clubs) were chartered; and $67 million (the largest sum ever raised in one year) was contributed to the annual fund of the Rotary Foundation. At the end of his 2001-2002 term, Rotary membership stood at an all-time record of 1,243,431 community leaders in 204 countries and geographical regions.  Read more about Richard D. King.