City of Commerce, April 29, 2023 – The Lions Club District 4-L2 held its annual Student Speakers Contest with the topic for the 2022-2023 contest being “Social Media Connects Us or Isolates Us?”. Three exceptional students, Chelsea Huerta, Sophia Velarde, and Sophia Sanders, who have already won three other contests at the club level, zone level, and region level, competed at the advanced district level.
The Fourth District Student Speakers Foundation, a California nonprofit corporation administered by a board of directors and 15 trustees, sponsors this annual statewide student speaker contest, which was organized in 1960 by founder Don Snyder, District Governor in Southern California, 1958-59, and co-founders Past International President Fred Smith and then International Director Dwight Stanford.
The Foundation’s purpose is to provide scholarships to supplement the prizes awarded to the winners of the California Multiple District Four Student Speakers Program. The contest aims to provide an opportunity for competitive public speaking among students on a subject of vital interest to the contestants and to the American people as a whole, stimulate self-expression and independent thinking, present to the public the problems surrounding the maintenance of this commonwealth as a free nation, and consider the means at our disposal of meeting the present and future world problems.
This year, the Foundation provided scholarships totaling $103,500.00. Each of the fifteen District winners received a $4,500.00 scholarship, each of the four Area winners received an additional $6,500.00 scholarship, and the winner of the Multiple District Four Contest received an additional $10,000.00 scholarship. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to over 1,000 students, with $103,500 being awarded annually.
All three contestants gave powerful speeches on the topic of social media, citing the negative effects of social media outweighing the benefits, and all proposing the alternative of creating more intimate and intentional physical connection.
Seven judges from the community scored each participant thoroughly and declared the winner of the contest to be Sophia Sanders from the Monrovia Lions Club, Zone B of the Foothill Region.
The Lions Club District 4-L2, under the leadership of District Governor Jacky Lu is proud to have hosted this annual event, which provides a platform for students to express their views on important societal issues while honing their public speaking skills. The Foundation’s dedication to providing scholarship opportunities for deserving students underscores the Lions Club’s commitment to promoting education and supporting young people in their pursuit of excellence.
The event was held at the Stevens Steak House, City of Commerce and was very well attended by the different Lions club representatives within the district, esteemed community guests and by contestants and their families.