Students Speak with Passion In Local Contest


Alexis Zilen, Amanda Murray and Olivia Foster were winners of Rotary Club Speech Awards.

What do teens care about these days?
Technology in school, abortion, body image, religious tolerance, and veteran homelessness. Those were topics students spoke about in a Rotary International speech contest at the Gilbertsville Fire Hall on March 7.

Seven students competed, and first place prize went to Senior Alexis Zilen, whose speech revolved around the overuse of technology in schools.

Students were to give 5-7-minute speeches about something they were passionate about. The speeches also had to incorporate the four principles of rotary:

-Is it the truth?

-Is it fair to all concerned?

-Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

-Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Zilen said she chose to speak about the misuse of technology in schools because “nothing affects our lives more than the education we receive as children until adulthood.”

In her speech, she warns, “Starting from the elementary schools, students and even teachers are relying too much on their devices to work for them.” She goes on to say, “I am not saying that all technology is bad, that would be an unfair statement. But education should not be built solely on computer screen; youth should not be so technology dependent that they do not know how to learn without it.”

Sophomore Amanda Murray, who spoke about her passion of running, took 2nd. Junior Olivia Foster came in 3rd, speaking about the importance of body image.

Alexis was slotted to continue on to the regional level speech contest but due to a conflict, Amanda went and earned 3rd place.