CONTEST RULES & ORGANIZING GUIDE FOR A ROTARY HIGH SCHOOL SPEECH CONTEST – revised 9/2019
 
The following outline is designed to facilitate setting up a Rotary Speech Contest in partnership with your community’s schools. Contest Poster, Registration Form, Judge & Timer Sheets, Certificates, Contest Script and more are available here.  This document can be downloaded from the Files menu bar on the left.
 
I. ANNOUNCE CONTEST and DISTRIBUTE CONTEST DOCUMENTS
 
A. SEND AN ANNOUNCEMENT
Contest Chair sends an announcement of the contest to all area public and private high schools Guidance, English (or French) Departments or Speech/Debate Teachers.
     School should receive this information, especially important are the Contest Posters, Registration Forms, and Score Sheets.
 
B. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO COMPETE
  1. Any High School Student or high school-aged student who resides in the club’s service area is eligible unless the student has been a previous District 7850 Final Contest Winner.  
  1. All Contestants who win any Contest Round is responsible to participate at the next Contest Round or will not receive prize money (check) from the previously won Contest. Round 1 Club Check is given at Round 2 Area Contest. Round 2 District Check is given at Round 3 and Round 3 District Check is given at Round 4. Contestant must be present to receive the prize check.
C. RULES OF CONTEST
1.  Subject: Apply this year's contest theme in everyday relationships with other people.
 
2.  Delivery: A written copy of the speech should be presented prior to each contest presentation.         
     The contestant may refer to a copy of the speech during its presentation, but should not be reading the speech word for word, nor 
     does it have to be completely memorized.
  1. Length of Speech: The speech should be no longer than 5 minutes. Penalty points will be given if the speech is under four minutes or over six minutes. If over seven minutes, the Contestant will be disqualified.
      4.  Speech Content: The speech given by each contestant must be original in content and related to the relevance of applying the theme 
           in one’s everyday life.
 
      5.  Language: Since Rotary District 7850 is a bilingual district, the speech may be presented either in English or French as is appropriate for the sponsoring Rotary Club.
 
D. CONTEST FORMS, RULES AND GUIDELINES  
 All contestants must be given: registration form, current year’s contest poster & judge score sheet. The Contest Poster provides essential details about this year's theme, schedule, and prizes.
 All contestants should review all the contest documents found on this website and will be held responsible for the information contained within, especial the Rules of the Contest listed above.
 
This document providing information about the eligibility, rules, and procedures. The first page of this document should be provided to each school and to each participant along with Contestant Registration Form, Contest Poster, Judge & Timer Scoring Sheets. Other details within are for Club & Area Contest Coordinators (Contest Roles & Flow; Contest Script and Contest Certificate template).      
      
All of these documents may be viewed online or printed from the Rotary District 7850 Website: www.rotary7850.org    Site Page: Speech Contest    More on Rotary principles at www.Rotary.org
 
E. STATEMENT OF THE THEME, SCHEDULES and CASH PRIZES
Each year the District will choose between “The 4-Way Test”, “Service Above Self” and the current year’s Rotary International theme or some combination of the three. The year’s theme will be on the annual Speech Contest Poster.  In addition, the schedules for the four rounds of this year’s contests and prizes to be awarded are also provided on the Speech Contest Poster.
 
II. COMPETITION PROCEDURES
 
REGISTRATION FORM
 Each contestant must fill out a Registration Form. The Registration Form is available from the District Website. Registration Forms should be provided to each school.
The registration forms of Winners and Runner-ups must be passed on to the Chair of the next Contest Round.
Assistant Governors should pass on copies of registration & speech for their Round 2 Winner & Runner-Up to District Speech Contest Chair.
 
Round 1 -Individual Rotary Club Contest
Each High School within the club’s local area should be approached to have its students participate in the Speech Contest. Posters with the theme of the contest will be given to each school along with this document, Registration Forms, and Judge’s & Timer’s Scoring Sheets.
 
Club will have a Contest Coordinator to set up and coordinate with the participating schools. Contest Coordinator will distribute press releases about the contest and invite the public to attend. Contest Coordinator will act as the Chief Judge who will moderate the Club Contest and supervisor the Judges, Timers and Ballot Counters.
Each club contest should have two or more students participating in order to be held.
 
Club contest should be completed no later than February 27.
Date and time of contest should be coordinated with the participating school, students and the Club. This would work best if it was on school property, during or just after school hours. If the contest is held within a regular Rotary Club meeting, time is limited and will need to be carefully managed.  See additional guidance under Contest Roles & Flow and Contest Script.
 
A completed registration form and a written copy of the speech will be presented to the Contest Coordinator prior to the Club Contest presentation.
If the Club has more than one high school in its area, they may choose to have a run-off between the winners at each school or combine the schools in the original competition. Winner and Runner-up will be chosen using the scoring forms and guidelines supplied in this document.
        
       Winner of Round 1 Club Contest will be eligible to participate in Round 2 Area Contest. If Round 1 Winner cannot compete at Round 2 Area Contest, then the Round 1 Runner- 
        up will participate in Round 2 Area Contest and will be awarded the Round 1 prize at Round 2.
 
          Round 2 - Area Contest
         Area Contests are held between competing Club winners in club’s assigned Area and are organized by the Area’s Assistant Governor. Typically, this is five or fewer Clubs.
A competition date should be set and agreed upon by each participating Rotary Club Contest Coordinator and the Assistant Governor (AG), for a date no later than March 22nd.
The AG can either be the Contest Chair or Chief Judge or assign someone else to oversee Area Contest, ballot counting, and certificates. Likewise, if the AG is the Chief Judge, then he/she will assign someone to interview the contestants.
 
AG will collect copies registration form and speeches from each Round 2 Contestants before the Round 2 Contest.  At the completion of Round 2, AG will forward copies of registration forms and speeches of their Winner & Runner-Up to District Speech Contest Chair no less than 2 wks before Round 3 Contest.
 
The speech must maintain the same approach to the contest topic, though its examples, order or word choices may be changed. If questioned, the presiding Chief Judge and Judges will decide if the changes are acceptable.  
 
The contestants will each give their speech to the assembled group which include competition judges, timers, etc.  Encourage Rotarians to attend and support speakers.
 
Ideally no Judge will be from a club sponsoring a contestant. If that’s not possible, then there should be a representation of one Judge from each of the participating clubs.
 
There should be a minimum of five (5) Judges and a maximum of fifteen (15) with the goal of having a balanced mix of male and female judges. Judges will pick a winner and a runner-up using the judging guidelines and forms supplied in this document.
      
Winner of Round 2 Area Contest will be eligible to participate in Round 3 District Semi-Finals in Mar/Apr.  If Round 2 Winner   
cannot compete at Round 3 Contest, then the Round 2 Runner-up will participate and will be awarded the Round 2 Prize at Round 3.
 
          Round 3 - District Semi-Finals
          District Semi-Finals will be held at the District 7850 District Assembly in Apr/May.
          Round 2 Area Contest Winners may be divided into subgroups for this Round 3 District competition or done as one large group.
          District Officers and District Speech Contest Chair will decide based on the number of Round 3 Semi-Final contestants.  
 
          Each Contestant will provide copy of their speech to the District Contest Chair prior to the contest.    
          The speech must maintain the same approach to contest topic; though its examples, order or word choices may be changed. If questioned, the presiding Chief Judge and Judges will decide if the changes are acceptable. The contestants will each give their speech to the assembled group,  including competition judges, timers, etc.  Encourage Rotarians to attend & support speakers.
     
          Judges will pick two finalists using the judging guidelines and forms supplied in this document. The judges should be AGs or other qualified individuals. Ideally no Judge will be from a club sponsoring a contestant. If that’s not possible, then there should be fair presentation of one Judge from each of the participating clubs.  A minimum of five (5) Judges and a maximum of fifteen (15) with a goal of having a balanced mix of male and female judges.
 
The two Round 3 Finalists will be eligible to participate in Round 4 District Finals (May/Jun).  If either Round 3 Finalists cannot compete at Round 4, then the next highest scoring Round 3  contestant will be eligible, and if participates in Round 4 and will be awarded the Round 3 Prize.
 
 
           Round # 4 - District Finals
The Finals will be held at District 7850 Spring Conference which is typically held in Apr/May. The two Finalists from Round 3 will compete for the District 7850 Championship.
A written copy of the speech will be presented to the Chief Judge prior to the presentation.  The speech must maintain the same approach to topic, though its examples, order or word choices may be changed. If questioned, the presiding Chief Judge and Judges will decide if the changes are acceptable. The contestants will each give their speech to the assembled group which include competition judges, timers, etc.  Encourage Rotarians to attend and support speakers.
 
The judges may be AGs or other qualified individuals who has not judged this contest year. There should be a minimum of eight (8) judges and a maximum of fifteen (15) with a goal of having a balanced mix of male and female judges. No Judge should be from the same Rotary Area as any Round 4 contestant.  Judges will pick a winner using the judging guidelines supplied in this document.
 
          PRIZES - $1,000 Possible Grand Total of all Prizes
                   Round 1 Prize of $100 is for speech contest winners at the club level and will be provided by the individual club and awarded at Round 2 Area Contest.
 
Round 2 Prize of $150 is for speech contest winners at the Round 2 Area Level.               
                   This prize will be provided by District 7850 and awarded at Round 3 District Semi-Finals.
 
Round 3 Prize of $250 is for speech contest winners at the Round 3 District Semi-Finals
This prize will be provided by District 7850 and awarded at Round 4 District Finals.
             
                  Round 4 Prize of $500 is for the speech contest winner at Round 4 District Finals.               
                  The Round 4 Winner’s prize is $500 and Round 4 Runner-up’s prize is $250.
                  These prizes will be provided by District 7850 and awarded immediately.
District Winner receives a total of $1,000 and the District Runner-up receives a total of $750.
 
Details of this year’s contest dates & location are provided on the Speech Contest Poster.
All prizes are cash prizes in check form, not saving bonds or other securities. 
 
 
      III. PREPARATION AND SETUP
 
      Materials Needed
Meeting room and smaller room for tallying score sheets.
A podium or speaker dais, pens and easy to use timing devices.
Script for Contest Moderator and Contest Chair (see Contest Script).
Score sheets for the judges, timers and composite score sheet for ballot counters.
Certificates for all participating contestants and one specific for Winner and for Runner-up.
 
      Roles: Contest Moderator, Chief Judge, 5-10 Judges, 1-2 Timers, 2 Ballot Counters.
 
      Contest Roles and Flow
      Each contestant must arrive at the competition location early enough to attend contest briefing: speaking order numbers drawn, judge score sheet reviewed and contest room visited & explained.
 
Club President can be Contest Moderator and Contest Chair can be Chief Judge. It is the decision of the Club President and Contest Chair who does these roles as well as getting enough volunteers to cover the other contest roles that are listed above.  If you’re short on volunteers, reach out to qualified non-Rotarians to volunteer for contest roles. This is good way to introduce your Rotary Club to someone.
 
Contest Chair should signup volunteers for contest roles in advance and review scoring sheets with Club President and Moderator, Chief Judge, Judges, Timers and Ballot Counters.  Make sure Timers have easy, dependable timing devices.
 
Create contest agenda/script with estimated times for each task: such as total time per contestant for a five-minute speech with introduction and applause is 7-8 minutes; and tallying score sheets is 5-10 minutes. Estimated time for two contestants contest is 20-30 minutes; the estimated time for four contestants contest is 45-60 minutes.
 
If your Club Contest is part of a regular Rotary meeting, the Contest should start as early as possible, before most of the regular agenda. Club President will introduce Contest Chair who will moderate the Speech Contest.
 
Contest Chair will have contestants draw numbers to determine the order during the briefing before the contest starts.  Contest Chair will open the contest and explain: contest agenda; 60 seconds of silence between speaker to give judges time; that electronic devices must be turned off; no one leaves or enters the room during a speech; and no conversations during a speech.
Introduce each contestant by their drawn number & speech title. Do not use the name of the contestant or their school or sponsoring club. Important to treat and introduce every contestant in the same way.
 
After all speeches have been completed and while ballots are being tallied, Contest Moderator will present each contestant with a Participant Certificate and possibly interview each student about their interests, challenges, family, or school.  1-3 minutes each depending on number of contestants.
 
Names of student, school and club can be mentioned in interview. If interviews are finished before the tallying is complete, insert club activities; such as, brags, announcements or Rotary news.     (More details in Contest Script)
 
Download Rotary certificate template from this site, just insert contestant’s name, date, etc.   (Staples has several blank certificate styles with attractive borders.) Print participant certificates in advance for all contestants, and do one for Winner and one for Runner-Up with names blank. Have Club President and Contest Chair sign all certificates in advance. (Do same for all Contest Rounds)
 
After Chief Judge and Ballot Counters have collected the score sheets and left the room to do final tallies on the Judge Composite Score Sheet.  Chief Judge and Ballot Counters should double-check the final tallies and agree on the Winner and Runner-Up.  Then write appropriate names on the Winner & Runner-up award certificates. Go back to the meeting room and have the Contest Moderator/Club President and Contest Chair presents Runner-Up with the certificate, then Winner. 
 
Contest Chair should thank everyone who assists with the Contest; thank all the contestants for participating, and the audience for being so supportive.  If the contest is held within a regular club meeting, turn the meeting back to Club President.
 
 
Have fun!     Enjoy the students and their great speeches!
     
      (To Download Contest Documents click on file in the "File List" in the menu bar on left side of screen.)