4-Way Speech Contest

We host an annual speech competition where contestants use the Rotary 4-Way Test to persuade their audience of a particular viewpoint or approach to a problem. This competition is a lead up to a larger competition (District) held for students across Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

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Date and Time

December 20th, 2023 at 7:00 AM


Free to participate


Ortega High School Conference Center
520 Chaney St
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530


1st Place: $100

2nd Place: $75

3rd Place: $50

If you are selected to go on to the District competition, prizes are awarded for the top 10 finishers ranging from $200 to $700.


All high school students attending schools in the LEUSD or living in Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, and surrounding communities (e.g. Lakeland Village, Sedco Hills) are eligible to participate.

Rules and Other Details


Each contestant should choose the topic of his/her speech. The purpose of the speech is to address an ethical issue using the principles of the 4-Way Test. Topics should be interesting and relevant to the speaker’s interests or experiences. There are no restrictions regarding the choice of topic as long as the topic is not profane, obscene, unpatriotic, or racist. If a contestant or coach is in doubt about the appropriateness of a topic, he or she should check with the Club Contest Chair. The decision of the Contest Chair will be final. All speeches must he the original work of the speaker.

In the speech, the topic must be specifically subjected to The Rotary 4-Way Test. The 4-Way Test must be stated and integrated throughout the body of the speech and is not to be reserved for concluding statements only.

Contestants who advance to the District contest may, at their option, present the same speech given at the preceding level or create a modified or new presentation, subject to the same rules as in the paragraph above. To ensure anonymity to the judges during the contest, the speaker is NOT to identify themself within the speech or identify the club they are representing.

The Rotary 4-Way Test

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?


Speeches must be at least 5 minutes and no more than 8 minutes in length. Penalty points will be deducted from a contestant’s score at the rate of two (2) points for each fifteen (15) seconds or fraction thereof that a contestant either runs over the eight-minute maximum or under the five-minute minimum.


No props are to be used. Audience participation is considered a prop. Penalty points will be subtracted for the use of props or encouragement of audience participation, at the rate of two points per infraction.

Speaker Aids

At Club Contests, a microphone may be provided at the discretion of the Club. At the District Finals, a microphone will be provided and may be used at the speaker’s discretion.


Contestants may speak from notes at the Club Contest. At the District Contest notes will not be allowed.


At each contest level, the judges seat themselves apart from each other and must not communicate about their evaluations of speakers at any time.

The criteria for judging will be as follows:

Content: (0-20 points) Introduction, originality, organization, conclusion.

Delivery: (0-20 points) Voice control, articulation, enunciation, diction, body language, gestures    

Four-Way Test: (0-30 points) Integration of Rotary’s Four-Way Test throughout the body of the speech.

Overall appeal: (0-30 points) Impact and persuasiveness.

Total: 100 points possible


Contestants will be disqualified if they arrive after a contest has begun or if their speech is determined to be profane, obscene, unpatriotic, or racist. 

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