It’s hard to choose the coolest thing Rotarians do, but for this observer’s money it’s GOT to be the 4-Way Test Speech Contest.


This Rotary District 5340 program is designed to promote information about, and awareness of, the 4-Way Test among high school students, teachers, and administrators. The District’s 64 Rotary clubs ask high school speech, English, and history teachers to nominate 3-5 students to speak at a club meeting. These students are expected to speak for 5-7 minutes on any subject, analyzing how their issue is impacted by the 4-Way Test, asking:

  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?

Speeches are also expected to speak to Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self."  The speakers were: Raina Seth, Ava Flores, Brenna Curtis and Rishab Bora.

Cash prizes are awarded, with the first-place speaker also earns the right to compete against winners from other clubs. Prizes increase at each level.

This past Thursday’s speakers viewed a wide range of socially relevant topics through this filter, and one was more compelling than the next. Topics examined included:

  • Threats posed by nationalism
  • Is social media good for society?
  • Are dating apps a healthy place to hang out?
  • Businesses trivializing social causes strictly for profit

The four student speakers attend Carlsbad High School, and each showed poise and grace under pressure. They and their instructors are to be commended for their insights, wisdom, and courage in taking a potentially controversial stand at a time when so many adults are afraid to do so.

As project coordinator Ray Pearson observed; “Amazing presentations…amazing content…but there’s always got to be someone who’s first, second, third or fourth.” So, even though each of these teenagers is obviously a leader and a winner in their own right, only Raina Seth will be going on to the sub-regional competition when she’ll be representing her position, her family, her school…and now the Carlsbad Rotary Club.

We’re VERY proud to have had all these amazing students with us, and look forward to hearing about their continued success.