Wheland Wins Rotary Speech Competition

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Leah Deskovich

Gabriella Hoffman, 11, Mario Grugan, 12, and winner Alysa Wheland, 10

At the annual Tyrone Rotary Speech competition, sophomore Alysa Wheland brought home the win.

Wheland received a $100 check and the opportunity to compete at the district-level competition on April 2.

The competition was held on February 28th at the Bull Pen restaurant in Tyrone.

Wheland was one of three finalists, including junior Gabriella Hoffman, and senior Mario Grugan.

“Going into the competition I did not expect to win so I was pleasantly surprised when I did,” said Wheland.

I never did a single thing to earn that medal; I never won a championship game or even a regular game. We never officially kept score because ‘everyone’s a winner’”

— Except from Alysa Wheland's winning speech

The theme for the speech was to answer an ethical question using the famous Rotary Four-Way Test.

These four questions are, “is it true?” “is it fair to all concerned?” “will it build goodwill and better friendship?” and “will it be beneficial to all?”

Each competitor had to write and perform their own 5-7 minute speech regarding an ethical issue. This ethical issue had to be a part of the person’s experiences.

Wheland’s speech addressed the ethics of participation awards in youth activities.

“When I was four, my parents signed me up for youth soccer because apparently sitting in the rain watching children aimlessly run in clumps, swarming after a black and white ball is a great source of entertainment,” said Wheland, “In fact, my parents loved watching that so much that they kept signing me up season after season until I was twelve. Every year, from ages four to twelve, at the end of the season, I got a nifty little medal. Ironically, I never did a single thing to earn that medal; I never won a championship game or even a regular game. We never officially kept score because ‘everyone’s a winner’.”

Hoffman wrote her speech on the importance of seeking help for mental health issues while Grugan wrote his on the racism that minorities face in schools.

At the end of the night, Wheland was announced as the first-place winner and received her first-place check. Ironically, in spite of her speech’s topic, she received a participation check. In past years, the first place winner received a check for a larger sum than second and third place. However, this year all three competitors received a check for the same amount.

“I am grateful for the opportunity, however, I felt as though the message of my speech was ignored,” said Wheland.