After two weeks of nerve-wracking competition, the result of the New Carlisle Rotary’s Four-Way Speech competition was announced on March 8 during the club’s weekly meeting at Sacred Heart Church in New Carlisle.

Student speakers in grades 9-12 from Northwestern and Tecumseh High Schools took on the challenges of public speaking during Rotary International’s local contest. Each contestant wrote and memorized an original speech echoing at least one of the principles in the Rotary’s famous "Four-Way Test."

Tecumseh Junior, Merrill Cline took first place with her speech, “The Importance of Having a Positive Self-Image.” “I was really surprised and excited when I realized I won,” says Cline, “I could literally hear my heart beating as they went down the list of names!” Some of Cline’s activities include National Honor Society, JROTC, Band, Jr. Optimist Club, and the upcoming school musical.

Cline won $200 and will represent the New Carlisle Rotary at the next level of competition on April 2 at Wright State University.

Taking second place and winning $100 was Northwestern Junior, Holly Thompson. Thompson’s speech discussed the importance of learning about mental illness. Some of her activities include National Honor Society, FFA, 4-H, playing tennis, and swimming.

Alex Siemann took third place and won $75 with a speech discussing the importance of JROTC maintaining its position in high school curriculum. The Tecumseh Senior participates in the National Honor Society, JROTC, Jr. Optimist Club, and soccer. His goal is to attend the very selective Air Force Academy.

Tecumseh Senior, Noah Berner, rounded out the top four places and won $50 with his speech about becoming a role model. Berner is the Senior Class President, participates in National Honor Society, and has a role in the high school’s upcoming musical.

When asked about the secret to their success, the winners agree with Cline when she answers, “The secret weapon is passion!”

Other students participating in the contest were (in alphabetical order): Harley Adamson (TEC), Mia Berg (NW), Emily Funderburg (NW), Christian Hunt (TEC), Rachel Martin (NW), Jake Parks (NW), Lexi Perez (TEC), and Taylor Schilling (NW).