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 during a Rotary club meeting, and both the speech and music winners are honored at an award ceremony at the Beck Center where the visual arts pieces are displayed in the Jean Bulicek Galleria. Due to Ohio’s Stay at Home restrictions, none of these events, including the annual music competition, were able to occur.

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 website.

Speech contest first place winner was Katy Spillsbury who spoke about “Gerrymandering.” Also honored were Mohamed Manaa, second place, “Human Rights Violations Against Muslins in China;” and Katie Healy, third place, “Genetic Modification.” Honorable mention awards went to Sara Jarecke, “Body Image,” and Madelyn Tumbleson, “Rape Allegations.” All students are from Lakewood High School.

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 75th year for the club’s speech competition, and the twenty-third year that the Beck Center has collaborated with the Rotary club for this student competition.

Visual arts winners were Audrey Warren, “Inner Terror,” ink on paper, Lakewood High School, first place; Colin Wheeler, “Heisenberg,” mixed media, St. Edward High School, second place; and Jennifer Nyo, “Lunar New Year,” photography, Lakewood High School, third place.

Honorable mentions went to Sarah Corbin, “Cactus Tea,” clay and glaze, Lakewood; Sophia Kostik, “Sprite,” acrylics, Rocky River; and Meagan Walsh, “Strike,” jewelry piece and box, Magnificat.

Over 80 pieces, of numerous styles employing various media, were submitted. A jury of visual arts educators selected outstanding works that met the contest requirements. From this gallery, the judges chose the award winners.

“This annual event is a wonderful way to acknowledge the talents of our youth,” stated 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.”

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