Stand Up and Deliver

The annual Lion's Club speech contest curates new opinions on the affects of social media.

Darcy Biermeyer and Emily Roberts

  Everyone wants to have a voice in the changes and perspectives in the world, and the students at PVHS are no different. On January 9th, the Lion’s Club held their 7th Annual Speech Contest at the Pahrump Valley Senior Center. Seven participants voiced their opinions on how social media affects teens, millennials, and senior citizens.

  The contestants included Antoinette Adducchio, Jayden Stebbins, Kaden Vitto, Emily Madmon, Samantha Thompson, Ian Kingsley, and Shelbie Lucas. Although all of the contestants performed wonderfully, Shelbie Lucas won for the second year in a row.

Shelbie Lucas won both the town and zone levels this year, having made it to state last year.

  This was the first level of the competition, dubbed “town level.” There is no second or third place, but the winner is awarded $75 cash and all participants are awarded $25. The winner of zone is awarded an additional $125. Region is scheduled to be held in late February or early March, and the winner is awarded a scholarship of $1,250. The last level, state, is in April and the winner gets $5,000 in scholarships.

  Shelbie Lucas, this year’s town and zone winner, made second place last year in the state level. If she were to win state level, she would not be allowed to compete the following year.

  For the first level of the contest, it is not required to have the speech memorized (although it is recommended). It is also not required for the zone level; however, for region and state, it cannot be read.

  The good part is that it’s okay to mess up. The contestants are assessed on the content in their speech and their presentation, but they are not required to follow what they have written. They are the only ones who know what they meant to say, and therefore, can improvise if they forget a section.

  As contestants progress through the levels, it is highly recommended that they edit and alter their speeches based on the criticism they receive from judges. “The speech I presented last year at state level was completely different than the original speech I wrote for the town level,” Lucas said.

  She also said that the presentation was the most exciting part of the experience. “It was nice to be up and talking in front of people,” spreading her thoughts and ideas on the effects of social media.

  After presenting, though, she “felt a lot of relief.” The first thing she did was question herself: what could she have done wrong? However, it was soothing to have done it and given it her all, especially as she started writing the speech almost three months before giving it. The actual practice of the presentation took her around a week.

  The next stage of the competition, zone, is January 25. Since Pahrump is the only competing town for this region, Lucas does not have to compete. However, she presents her speech in front of a panel of judges who then critique the speech to help her prepare for regionals.

  This year, Shelbie focused her speech on the idea that everyone uses social media, but every age group experiences different issues. It is important to consider these issues, and be careful of the risks and rewards of social media usage.

  Another contestant, Antoinette Adducchio (sophomore at PVHS), focused more on the idea that social media could be rather destructive rather than constructive. She feels as though getting phones young can lead to a slightly addictive relationship with media, and change what many consider to be a traditional childhood.

  Although the contest can be stressful and anxiety inducing, the contestants have enjoyed the process. Both Adducchio and Lucas (given the opportunity) look forward to competing again next year.