March 12, 2020 – Fifty-three of the top oration students, grades four to eight, from thirteen local public and private schools, recently competed in the countywide Speech Tournament. The tournament was coordinated by the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools (NCSOS) office and sponsored by Tri Counties Bank, the Rotary Club of Grass Valley and the Nevada Theatre Commission. This year’s speech topic was “My Perfect Day”. Students gave passionate speeches that ranged in topic from saving Yosemite and finding inner peace, to spending time with friends and family, and eating at Taco Bell twice in one day.

The 2020 finalists

The preliminary and semi-finals competition for students in grades four to eight was held on March 5th at Calvary Bible Church. The tournament was conducted in a “round-robin” fashion, with students reciting speeches three times, each time to a different judge. Semi-finalists were determined, and their speeches were recited one last time in front of three judges. Three finalists from each grade were then selected to proceed to the Speech Finals competition. The initial judging team consisted of 15 volunteers from local businesses and organizations as well as retired professionals. The speeches were evaluated on content and delivery with a time limit of no less than two minutes and no more than three and a half minutes.

The student finalists presented their speeches at an evening program on March 10th, held at the historic Nevada Theatre. The esteemed panel of judges consisted of representatives from local Toastmasters groups. Each finalist received a first, second, or third place trophy and a $25 Book Seller gift certificate. These awards were generously sponsored by Tri Counties Bank and Rotary Club of Grass Valley. The awards were presented by Scott W. Lay, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, and Anita Daniels, Rotary Club of Grass Valley. Bob Long, Rotary Club of Grass Valley, presided as emcee for the evening.

The 2020 Speech Tournament winners are as follows:

4th Grade:

1st Place Clover Rashby – Deer Creek Elementary School

2nd Place Kaylee Gibbs – Chicago Park School

3rd Place Colt James – Mt. St. Mary’s Academy

5th Grade:

1st Place Whitney Parnow – Seven Hills Middle School

2nd Place John Luisetti – Seven Hills Middle School

3rd Place Taylor Browning – Lyman Gilmore Middle School

6th Grade:

1st Place Alyssa Rubiales – Seven Hills Middle School

2nd Place Grant LaCosse – Lyman Gilmore Middle School

3rd Place Greyson George – Lyman Gilmore Middle School

7th Grade:

1st Place Arianna Drageset – Seven Hills Middle School

2nd Place Morgan Parnow – Seven Hills Middle School

3rd Place Erik Von Ruden – Magnolia Middle School

8th Grade:

1st Place Kaeli Horn – Lyman Gilmore Middle School

2nd Place Rita Arnberg – Ready Springs School

3rd Place Melina Handen – Seven Hills School