Winners of Rotary’s Four-Way Speech Contest and visual arts competition have been announced.

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

Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood has been a valued partner of Rotary for this event, serving as the liaison to educators at the high schools and providing the venue and judges for various phases of the competitions.

Typically, the speech contest finals take place in person during a Rotary club meeting, and all the winners are honored at an award ceremony at the Beck Center. Instead, the speech and music contests were held online.

The student winners were announced in a virtual awards ceremony video prepared by Beck Center. It was featured on Beck Center’s Facebook page and the Rotary club’s Facebook page. It is still available for viewing.

Speech contest first place winner was Eva Strazek who spoke about “Cancel Culture.” She will represent the club at the Rotary district 6630 competition on April 10.

Also honored were Andre Hallenburg, second place, “What Is America Known For?” Abby Hirsch, third place, “Manipulation of the Average Citizen,” and Sidney Bacon, fourth place, “Capitalism.” All students are from Lakewood High School. Their teacher is Mrs. Amy Garritano.

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?” This is the 76th year for the club’s speech competition, and the twenty-fourth year that the Beck Center has collaborated with the Rotary club for this student competition.

Music contest winners were Alison Ritvo, mezzo soprano, first place, Rocky River High School, performing “Per la gloria d’adorarvi” by Giovanni Bononcini; Audery Warren, mezzo soprano, second place, Lakewood High School, “Shepherd! Thy Demeanour Vary” by Thomas Brown; and Gina Marjanovic, French horn, third place, Lakewood High School, “Villanelle” by Paul Dukas.

Visual arts winners were Myles O’Malley, “Baxter,” colored pencil, St. Edward High School, first place; Lexi Miles, “The Mysterious Girl,” marker and colored pencil, Lutheran West, second place; and Matthew Platko, “Happy Place,” clay, St. Edward, third place.

Honorable mentions went to Adriana Schermaier, “Crashing Waves,” metal, Magnificat; Quinn McCabe, “Cat’s Cradle,” watercolor, colored pencil, and gouache, Magnificat; and Maeve Kate, “Marker Portrait Series,” marker, Rocky River.

Over 70 art pieces of numerous styles employing various media were submitted by 52 students. A jury of visual arts educators selected outstanding works that met the contest requirements. From this gallery, the judges chose the award winners. The online art exhibition is viewable in the Jean Bulicek Galleria through April 11, and on the Beck Center’s Facebook page, click on “Photos” and the album entitled, “Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary Visual Arts Contest Spring 2021.”

In recognition of their achievements, all winners received a cash prize from Rotary, made possible by the Lakewood-Rocky River Rotary Foundation.