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“Rotary Annual Four Way Speech Contest—Empowering Our Future”

Article by Richard Shearer, Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club
November 13, 2016 

Three Miramonte High School seniors took the honors in Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary’s annual Four-Way Test Speech Contest.  Olivia Fishlow, Griffin Ansel and Jordan Hardwick, all students in the Miramonte High Public Speaking program, analyzed issues of their choice through the lens of the Rotary Four-Way Test.   

That test requires that Rotarians ask themselves: “Of the things we think, say or do: Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?”  Using the Four-Way Test as their rubric, Ms. Fishlow weighed the merits of the IRONMAN competition, Mr. Ansel examined the death penalty, and Mr. Hardwick took a look at the social impact of satire.   

All three of the speakers are veterans of the Public Speaking program, which is run by teacher Kristen Plant, herself a former Miramonte Public Speaking student.  Miramonte’s  program has a long history of producing award-winning speakers at the state and national level in many different aspects of public speaking.  Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary, along with the other Rotary Clubs in the area, have long hosted Four-Way Test Speech Contests to provide students such as these with a challenge in analysis, critical thinking, and mastering the nervousness of speaking before an audience.   

First Place honors went to Ms. Fishlow, a track and field and cross-country stand-out who hopes to attend UC Berkeley in 2017.  Mr. Hardwick, who participates in theater and mock trial and hopes to attend Brandeis, took second place.  Mr. Ansel, an Eagle Scout, football player, and Congressional Gold Medal for volunteer service awardee, who hopes to move on to Yale, took third place.  
But the distinction between them was slight – all of them performed at a very high level.  Eve Phillips, Orinda City Council member, Lamorinda Sunrise Rotarian, and contest organizer, said: “One of the things Rotary does is strive to promote education and give students opportunities to excel.  These three students certainly did that.  We are proud to give them a chance to show how accomplished they are.”  

For more info about the Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club, please email or go to 

Rotary, founded in 1905, is a leadership organization made up of local business, professional and civic leaders who meet regularly, get to know each other, form friendships and, through that,  able to get things done in a  community, having fun in the process. Rotary today represents membership of 34,000 clubs and 1.3 million members worldwide.

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