The Rotary Club of Gainesville held a luncheon for its youth speech contest finalists at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention on Tuesday.
Rotary Chair Michael Conroy, who has directed the contest for the past 12 years, led the event featuring three finalists—Newberry High School senior Grace Mitchell, Buchholz High School senior Navya Tripathi and Buchholz junior Sophia Vernon. The students competed in the final round on Tuesday at the weekly Rotary Club meeting.
The first, second, and third place finishers each received a certificate of award and a cash prize. Mitchell and Vernon tied for first and received a $500 prize, while Tripathi took home the $300 award for second place.
“I think you’ll all agree that all three were first-place worthy,” Conroy told the crowd.
More than a dozen student speakers competed in the March 14 preliminary round during which four judges listened to five-minute speeches based on this year’s Rotary topic, “Serve to Change Lives.”
The judges evaluated the students based on an established set of criteria and gave the students feedback on their individual presentations. The top three finalists were selected from the initial round.