Santa Clarita Valley Bar Association held 5th Annual High School Speech Competition

(l-r), Los Angeles Superior Court, the Hon. Jeffrey Harkavy, Hon. Graciela Freixes, Hon. Cynthia Ulfig, Hon. Bernie LaForteza, Hon. Lisa Chung, and Hon. Martin Gladstein. Student winners in the front row are, l-r, Jong Hak Won (West Ranch), Grace Lim (AOC), and Pierce Monahan (Canyon). Courtesy photo

On Wednesday, April 19, the Santa Clarita Valley Bar Association sponsored its 5th Annual High School Speech Competition.  Sixteen junior and senior students from throughout the William S. Hart Union School District competed for the cash scholarships awarded to the top three students.  The students participating in the competition were Kyle Lim (Saugus), Changho Kim (Valencia), Sebastian Cazares (Saugus), Kaleb Quesada (Valencia), Gamin Kim (West Ranch), Riley Villiers-Furze (West Ranch), Christopher Carlson (Valencia), Jauen Park (West Ranch), Jasmine Gawra (Academy of the Canyons), Dillon Yakshe (West Ranch), Julia Watler (West Ranch), Pierce Monahan (Canyon), Chris Higham (West Ranch), Grace Lim (Academy of the Canyons), Kyung Kim (Valencia), and Jong Hak Won (West Ranch).
The competition was graciously hosted by West Ranch High School and the scoring panel was comprised of six judges from the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The topic for this year’s competition, “Does the process for appointing a U.S. Supreme Court Justice adequately vet and provide sufficient information to confirm a candidate?”   This topic was purposefully chosen in light of the recent March confirmation hearings conducted by the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.  Students were given wide latitude and breadth in presenting their four-minute speech and were judged according to a scoring rubric, and not on their stated position.  Significantly, all sixteen student presenters who participated in the Speech Competition demonstrated a tremendous effort amidst rigorous academic and extra-curricular schedules.  The winners of the competition were: 1st Place, Pierce Monahan (Canyon High School); 2nd Place, Jong Hak Won (West Ranch High School); and 3rd Place, Grace Lim (Academy of the Canyons).  Each won cash scholarships of $1,000.00, $750.00, and $500.00, respectively.  All three students have been invited to a special SCV Bar Association dinner gala, “Bench & Scholars Night”, being held on Thursday, May 18, at the Tournament Players Club Valencia.

At the dinner, the students will also present their speeches to the Bar Association’s general membership, as well as to judges from the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  The featured speaker for the evening event will be the Honorable Kevin C. Brazile, Assistant Presiding Judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, who will present a, “View from the Bench”, addressing the current state and the future of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  Tickets to this event are available to members of the California Bar and the general public, and can be obtained by contacting the SCV Bar Association’s Executive Assistant, Ms. Sarah Hunt, at [email protected].

As a non-profit organization, the SCV Bar Association is privileged to partner with the Hart District in supporting high academic standards and opportunities for student achievement.  The Association is excited to continue this annual competition next spring 2018, for junior and senior class students, as a reflection of this partnership!


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