Rotary District 6580 Speech Contest Information and Rules  2022-23

The purpose of holding a speech contest:

Many vocations require skills in good communication, the ability to research and deliver information and ideas confidently.  Understanding the importance of values enables the presenter to provide a balanced view which has considered ethical standards and the potential impact on self and others.

The Rotary Four-Way Test Speech Contest provides a platform to build those skills aligned with the moral compass of Rotary’s Four-Way Test.


The aims of the contest are to:

  1. Promote the values of Rotary that emphasize ethics and values in life.
  2. Develop confidence and self-esteem in students.
  3. Develop relationships between Rotary and secondary schools.
  4. Provide an opportunity for students to test their skills before a real or virtual audience.
  5. Encourage and foster excellence in the art of public speaking.


The District topic is “Imagine your school if everyone lived by the Rotary Four-Way Test.”

Once again we are offering two options for clubs to participate in the speech contest.

Option I:  If a club chooses to hold a speech contest, but chooses not to participate in the District Contest (see below), the District will do the following:

  •          Clubs can select the theme/topic of the speech and can alter the speech contest rules as needed.   We hope the club will choose either the Four-Way Test or the Rotary Theme for 2022-23 “Imagine.”     The District topic is “Imagine your school if everyone lived by the Rotary Four-Way Test.”
  •          Once the club (all present or a panel of judges) has selected the winner, the District will send  the club $100 to be included as part of the prize money the club may offer locally.

 Option II:  For clubs choosing to participate in the district speech contest, the following is the process:

  •           The District contest rules must be followed, including the theme/title of the speech.
  •           Deadline for the club to send the contestant name and information (see form) is FEBRUARY 15.
  •           Once the club has determined its one contestant, a video recording of the speech before a live audience or in an appropriate setting (school stage or classroom or home living room)  will be sent to the District for judging by the panel of eight judges (one from each area).  The format for this video recording and the address for sending will be emailed to the club  Presidents and Youth Services Chairs.    Deadline for sending the recording is MARCH 1.   
  •           The speeches will be judged by the panel according to the scorecard (see below) and the  Speech Coordinator will tally the scores to determine the three winners.    If a judge is from  a club that is sponsoring a contestant, that judge does not judge that speech.     All participants  will be notified by mid-March of the winning speeches.
  •            The winning student is invited to speak at the District Conference on April 22 in Terre Haute.


The three prizes for the contest are – 1st - $1,000;  2nd - $500;  3rd - $250.


The topic this year is “Imagine your school if everyone lived by the Rotary Four-Way Test.”

Length – No shorter than four (4) minutes nor longer than six (6) minutes.  Speeches outside these  limits will receive a three (3) point deduction.

The speech may not be profane, obscene, unpatriotic or racist.

The topic must be specifically subjected to the Four-Way Test which must be used throughout the body of the speech, not just for opening or concluding statements.

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.  The test has been translated into more than 100 languages and Rotarians have it posted and often recited at each of their meetings.

Of the things we think, say, or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


  1. Contestant must be a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior in high school (or equivalent).
  2. Students can participate each of those four years, including former winners.


  1. The speech is to be memorized and presented without the aid of a lectern, multimedia or props. However, one 3x5 note card with an outline of the speech may be used. 
  2. The contestant may move around or stay stationary during the speech (subject to camera).
  3. If not in front of a live audience, the contestant should look directly into the camera, using skills probably developed during the pandemic months of online learning.


  1. The speech must be the work of the contestant alone.
  2. No more than three (3) quotations may be included in the speech. Included quotes need to have sources that can be provided upon request of the district chairperson for the judges.

 For those choosing to have a club only contest, please have the contestants draw for position as they  sign in.    Hold that competition in only one round.


          Contestants will be judged on content, organization, and presentation.

 Content and Organization (50 points)

      Appropriateness (10 points)

      Interest (15 points)

      Accuracy (10 points)

      Sequence of thought (15 points)

 Presentation (50 points)

      Appearance (5 points)

      Vocal quality (5 points)

      Poise (5 points)

      Expressiveness (5 points)

      Persuasiveness (10 points)

      Originality (10 points)

      Overall impact (10 points)



Information needed for District Contestant:          Due February 15, 2023

Name of student –                                                   Grade 9-12 -

School –

Rotary Club

Address of student; email address;  phone

Names of parents; address; email(s); phone(s)


The District Speech Contest Coordinator is Susan Adams, a retired teacher and a member of the New Albany Rotary Club.   The panel of judges includes one from each area who will be judging separately using the videos as submitted.   The composite scores will then determine the winners.


Susan Adams,, 812-949-3110

Bettye Dunham, Administrative Assistant,, 502-609-1923


Instructions for recording the videos and the address for sending them will be on the website shortly.


2022 District Speech Contest

1st Place:  Alan Martindale - Edgewood High School -Ellettsville

1st Runner Up: Emma Martin - Floyd Central High School

2nd Runner UP: Libby Shearer - Terre Haute North High School


The theme for the 2020 District Speech Contest was "Rotary Connects the World".  



The 2019 District 6580 4-Way Test Speech Contest took place on Saturday, March 23rd in Bedford.  Maya Federle from Columbus took First Place, Shambly Sorrells from Jasper was First Runner-Up and Molly Treadway from Vincennes was Second Runner-Up.  Congrats to all the students who participated!


About Us
Rotary unites more than a million people around the world. Rotary District 6580, based in Southern Indiana, consists of 32 Rotary clubs and more than 1,500 Rotarians. Rotary clubs in our district range in size from 12 to 200 members. Our clubs’ programs involve prominent leaders in every field, and our membership represents business and civic leaders of our communities and our state. Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
District 6580 selects Megan Gearhart as Global Grant Scholar
The District 6580 Global Grant Scholarship Committee has selected IU graduate Megan Gearhart of Roanoke, Indiana for the 2023-24 scholarship. Megan will use the $40,000 award to pursue a Joint Masters of Law in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development, plus Global Policy Development, through Erasmus Mundus, a European Union program. Her host club will be the Rotary Club of Olomouc City, Czech Republic.
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