Jay Blackburn is the local winner of the “Rotary Against Drugs” high school speech contest, and he will be competing next in the district contest.
The Yadkin Valley Rotary Club hosted its 2013 “Rotary Against Drugs” High School Speech Contest Wednesday.
The speeches were given by two local students at the Rotary Club’s weekly meeting at the Fairfield Inn in Elkin. This local contest is the first step toward the District and State contests. Siblings Carolyn and Jay Blackburn competed against one another for the first place.
“The Rotary Against Drugs Speech Contest was conceived as a means for students to be educated about the dangers of drugs by their peers, rather than by adults,” said Rotary Against Drugs District Chair Karen Morris. High school students prepare speeches and present them before the student body, or in this case the Rotary Club itself.
Jay Blackburn gave a hypothetical example of two sons, both who grew up in a drug abusive household. The older son left his extracurricular activities and fell into a life of laziness and drug abuse like their father. The younger son stayed in sports and clubs, and following a full scholarship to a four-year university and becoming a lawyer, tried to use his success to help his older brother get treatment. After attempting to help his brother, he had to admit defeat and lose his brother to addiction.
While not a true story, Jay pointed out that this same scenario plays out time and again across the country.
Carolyn focused on the distinction of drugs available and the need for clarity when it comes to drug laws. She spoke on “hard,” “soft” and “household” drug classifications and the dangers of each. She also drew attention to the need for clarity in drug laws, pointing out the confusion between the federal government’s laws banning marijuana and the newly added legislation from Washington State and Colorado legalizing it.
Students are also given a monetary reward for winning, in addition to spreading the word about the need for drug awareness.
According to Ann Ashman, chair of the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club’s Community Service committee, winners receive $75, while the remaining participants receive $25.
Prior to the speeches being given, the Rotary Club welcomed its newest member. Principal Joel Hoyle of Elkin High School was awarded a lapel pin that signified his membership by Dr. Randy Bledsoe, Superintendent of Elkin City Schools.
The district RAD will be held Saturday, February the 23rd on Guilford Technical Community College’s Jamestown Campus at 9 am. Each Rotary Club is allowed to enter up to three contestants at this level. Here the prize amounts increase, with first place winning $150, second place $100, and third place $75. Fourth and Fifth place finalists will both receive $50 each.
The top three contestants will be invited to move on to the Multi-District contest, held at North Carolina State University on March 3rd. First place prize is $300, second $250, third $200, fourth $150, fifth $100, and sixth and over receive $50.
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