Speech Contest


On Saturday, February 10, seniors Joshua Mendez and Yandel Calleja competed at the Rotary Club District Speech Contest. The pair showcased their skills against 11 other students, and although they didn't come in first, they gained valuable experience within the realm of public speaking.

Calleja's speech, which was 5-7 minutes long, explored the concept of Service Above Self, which is a key tenant of Rotary Club. "Service Above Self isn't necessarily about what you do, but it's about what affects everybody around you," explained Calleja, detailing that he was one of the few speakers who related his speech back into the community. "I could tie it in with the volunteer hours I do at the Plainfield Youth Assistance Program, so that's why I picked Service Above Self."

For Calleja, the morning started bright and early at 5 a.m., when he began practicing his speech again and rushing to Walmart to get dress shoes for the contest. Upon arrival at Anderson University, Calleja and Mendes even accidentally got lost and found themselves in the wrong building. "We were about to sign up for a middle school science fair competition," said Calleja.

Photo Courtesy of Yandel Calleja

As his speech drew closer, Calleja's nerves only grew. "We sat down, and that's when it got really nerve racking," he said. "Before I knew it, it was my turn."

Despite the stress and nerves, Calleja explained that he is already looking forward to the next speech contest that he plans to enter. "I think I'm a better public speaker because of the contest because now that I have seen how it is, I'm not necessarily even nervous anymore because I spoke in front of people I've never met," said Calleja. "Even though I messed up, I'll probably never see them again."

Story by Lily Saylor