Winners of the Rotary annual Speech, Music, and Visual Arts Contest were honored at an awards ceremony March 27 at the Beck Center for the Arts.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lakewood & Rocky River, the competition showcases the incredible talents of students attending one of the five high schools – Lakewood, Lutheran West, Magnificat, Rocky River, and St. Edward.

“This annual event is a wonderful way to acknowledge the talents of our youth,” said Ed Gallagher, Beck Center director of education, “and the quality work of the participants truly shows that the arts and creativity are alive and well in our community.” The Beck Center is a longstanding partner with the Rotary club for this competition.

The winners received congratulations and prize money from Lynn Donaldson, Rotary club president. “Our club has a long history of recognizing, encouraging and supporting the youth of our community in many areas of endeavor,” he told the audience. “We celebrate each participant’s talent hard work and persistence in the visual arts, music and speech.”

Connor Hooper of Rocky River High School was the speech contest winner. His topic was “Pacifism as U.S. Foreign Policy.” Second place went to Steve Saed, Lakewood High School, and third place to Alaina Valkoff, Rocky River.

The speech contest was held in two parts with the semi-finals at the Beck Center on March 10 and the finals at the Rotary’s March 19 meeting. Speeches must be of original content and be based on “The Four Way Test of Rotary” which asks, “Is it the truth, Is it fair to all concerned, Will it build goodwill and better friendships, and Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

All music contest winners were from Lakewood High School. Jiale Peng, violin, captured first place in the music contest with “Violin Concerto” by Sibelius. Soprano Abby Boland placed second, performing “Se tu m’ami, se sospiri” by Pergolesi, and Jacob Short, trumpet, placed third, performing “Hummel Trumpet Concerto, Movement 1” by J. Hummel. The contest, which follows the judging standards set by the Ohio Music Education Association, was held on March 24.

Visual arts winners were Bram Myers, “Forest in Charcoal,” charcoal, Lakewood, first place; Montague Cockrell, “Cleveland Born,” acrylic painting, Lakewood, second place; Mike Benesh, “State Champ,” clay and colored pencil, St. Edward High School, third place.

Honorable mentions went to Hannah Frimel, “Under the Sea,” batik, Lakewood; Michael Todaro, “Stun E. Cuffs,” ink, Lakewood; and Blakes Trumbel, “Croc,” clay, St. Edward.

Judging for the visual arts portion took place in late March and over 100 pieces, of numerous styles employing various media, were submitted by all five schools. A jury of artists selected outstanding works of art meeting the contest requirements. From this gallery of art, judges chose winners and prizes were awarded for the most outstanding works of art in the contest.

Selected entries from the visual arts contest are on display in the Rotary Student Art Show in the Jean Bulicek Galleria now through April 29. This exhibit is free and open to the public during regular gallery hours.

Awards ranged from $500 for first place to $100 for third place. Support for the event was provided by FFL Investments Services at First Federal of Lakewood.