By LIBBY CLUETT
Six teens stood in front of a panel of judges, vying for a $1,000 scholarship from the Mineral Wells Rotary Club, awarded to the junior or senior who produced the best speech based on the club's Four-Way Test principles.
The field of speech writer-presenters at the Mineral Wells City Council Chamber Thursday night included Community Christian School's Rachel Blevins, Blake Bolt and Sandy Rosengrant, and Mineral Wells High School's A.J. Williams, Kevin Gregory and Kenneth Latham.
Each had 5 minutes to tell what the Rotary Four-Way Test meant to them. The Four-Way test serves as the Rotary International's guidelines for its objective to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.
The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:
“Of the things we think, say or do:
1) Is it the truth?
2) Is it fair to all concerned?
3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Herbert J. Taylor, president of Rotary Club of Chicago, 1939-40, and Rotary International, 1954-55, is credited with creating the Four-Way Test during a business crisis in 1932. Rotary International adopted the test in January of 1943, according to rotaryfirst100.org.
Mineral Wells Rotary Club Vocational Chair and event organizer Karyn Bullock said the local club is “full of volunteers from business who work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation.
“We provide education, job training, promote peace, and have implemented a mission to eradicate polio under the motto 'Service above Self,'” she said to contestants and the audience, largely comprised of parents and family.
Speeches had to be original in content and contain facts, statistics, stories, examples and quotations. The contest rules also encouraged students to add humor and personal touches.
Scored equally on content, delivery and organization, the speeches were judged by Rotarians Brad Wilkerson, Roger Patel and Wayne Sanderson. Charles Thompson served as timekeeper.
Each student interpreted what the test meant, whether it related to family life, sports, religion or community. Gregory, an aspiring Methodist minister, won the $1,000 scholarship and will advance to the regional contest on April 6, in Weatherford.