Rodriguez advances in speech contest
Willits High School senior Lorenzo Rodriguez triumphed at the Lions Club annual Youth Speaker Competition in Ukiah on March 1. Rodriguez competed against club winners from Laytonville and Ukiah.
Judges for the speech competition in Ukiah were Mendocino County Superior Court Richard Henderson, Dr. Robert Werra, Gloria Jarrell of the Ukiah Unified School District and Vicki Plum of North Coast Opportunities.
“I think this is the first time a Willits speaker has won the Inland Mendocino competition,” says Willits Lion Lucille Carpenter.
The next step for Rodriguez is against the winning speaker from the Mendocino coast clubs on April 5. The winner of the April 5 contest will advance to the North Coast district competition against winners from Sausalito to the Oregon border.
This is the 71st speech competition hosted by the California Lions. High school students from around the state vie for up to $20,000 in scholarships in the annual contest. This year all students must speak for up to 10 minutes on the theme, Immigration My Solution. The Lions choose a different theme each year for the entire competition.
This is Rodriguez’ first speech competition. “I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time,” says Rodriguez. “I became interested in the speech contest because of the topic; I doubt I would have competed if it had a different subject.”
Rodriguez is a youth soccer coach, a WHS peer counselor and member of the school Humanity Club. Rodriguez plans to attend Mendocino College after graduation with the aim of becoming a juvenile probation officer.