10th Annual Speech Trek Contest Celebrates with a Two-Time Winner by Liz Jordan

Manmit Chahal, 3rd Place, Kathy Le, 1st Place, and Simran Thandi, 2nd Place

The Speech Trek Committee and many wonderful volunteers, family, and friends of the speakers listened to five high school students from the Elk Grove Unified School District at the Southgate Library on Saturday, Feb. 18. The contestants spoke to the following topic: “Is it time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment? If so, how can this be accomplished? How can organizations such as AAUW help in getting this amendment ratified once and for all?”

Dr. Virginia Kidd, Communications Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento; Kasmira Kit, a former Marine and creative entrepreneur; and Danielle Metzinger, a Learning and Development Specialist for CalSTRS judged this year’s contest. New AAUW member Jacqueline Rose served as timekeeper for the contest, and Morgan Glover, President of the CSUS Chapter of AAUW, video-recorded all of the student speeches. The Speech Tech Committee also thanks AAUW members Kathy Papst, Gloria Yost, Linda Whitney, Elizabeth Rose, and Gina Schumacher for their help at the event.

The winner of the 2017 Contest was Kathy Le, a 10th grader from Pleasant Grove High School and a familiar face to the contest because she also won first place last year as a ninth grader. This year Kathy won the $500 prize, and a video of her speech has been uploaded to the AAUW CA Speech Trek Channel on YouTube. AAUW Sacramento pays a $25 entry fee to submit Kathy’s winning speech into the state semi-finals.

Last year, 14 branches from around California submitted entries. The judges for the semi-final round view the videos of the branch entries and return their judging forms back to Cathy Foxhoven, Speech Trek Coordinator for AAUW CA. Five of the top speeches are selected. The fourth and fifth place winners are named, winning $250 and $100 respectively. The top three speakers are invited to compete at the State Bi-Annual Convention or the one-day Bi-Annual Meeting.

This year’s Speech Trek Finals will be held at the Annual Meeting at the San Francisco Airport Marriott in Millbrae on April 22. The students and their chaperones will be feted at the meeting luncheon, during which they will deliver their speeches to determine the first, second, and third place winners. Those students are awarded $1,500, $1,000, and $500 respectively. Those awards are made possible by the generous memorial donation of Mr. Gray Allen of Roseville. Eleanor Stem Allen was an active member of Roseville AAUW and a passionate supporter of the Speech Trek Program.

This year, students from four of the district’s nine secondary campuses competed. Simran Thandi, a 10th grade student from Sheldon High School, won second place and a $250 award. Manmit Chahal, an 11th grade student also from Sheldon High School, won third place and a $100 prize. Also competing were Angela Tran, a 12th grader from Monterey Trail High School, and Bisma Khan, 12th grader from Cosumnes Oaks High School. The Speech Trek Committee provides speech contest workshops at all nine of the high schools in EGUSD.

The Speech Trek contest for 2018 will be planned for the third Saturday in February. The committee is always looking for interested members who want to work with high school students.

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