From front row, l-r: Hon. Graciela Friexes, Hon. Gary Micon, Hon. Robert Schuitt, Hon. Lisa Chung and Hon. Martin Gladstein. Second row, l-r: Jeff Armendariz (SCV Bar Association, Director); Joanna Veres (Saugus, 2nd Place); Ushni Gupta (Canyon); Isabella Contreras (AOC); Rowan Wong (Valencia); Sebastian Cazares (Saugus, 1st Place); Brian Abdelmesieh (Canyon); Katelyn Pucci (Valencia); Jennifer Elliot (Valencia); Tristan Brink (Valencia); and Shani Tyson (Valencia, 3rd Place). Photo courtesy of J. Cody Patterson

6th Annual High School Speech Competition

By Jeff Armendariz, Santa Clarita Contributor

On Wednesday, April 18, the Santa Clarita Valley Bar Association sponsored its 6th Annual High School Speech Competition.  Ten junior and senior class students from throughout the William S. Hart Union High School District competed for the cash scholarships awarded to the top three students.  The competition was graciously hosted by West Ranch High School and the scoring panel was comprised of five judges from the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The topic for this year’s competition, “How should the social media be regulated, if at all, in light of the First Amendment?”  This topic was designed to recognize the large volume of national social and legal issues (“fake news”, Facebook/Twitter, leaks/postings, etc) arising from the use of social media to communicate commentary or new, real or otherwise.  Students were given wide latitude and breadth in presenting their four-minute speech and were judged according a scoring rubric, and not on their stated position.  Significantly, all ten students who participated in the competition demonstrated a tremendous effort amidst rigorous academic and extra-curricular schedules.  The winners of the competition were 1st Place, Sebastian Cazares (Saugus High School); 2nd Place Joanna Veres (Saugus High School); and 3rd Place, Shani Tyson (Valencia High School).  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 event, “Scholars & Bench Night”, being held on Thursday, May 17, at the Oaks Club Valencia (formerly Tournament Players Club).

At the dinner, the students will also present their speeches to an audience of 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 David Gelfound, Supervising Judge of the North Valley District, 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 standard and opportunities for higher student achievement.  The Bar Association is excited to continue this annual competition next spring 2019, for junior and senior class students, as a reflection of this partnership!

 

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