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Swartz wins Ripons Rotary speech contest
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Four teenage speakers competed in Ripon Rotarys annual speech contest Wednesday noon at the Barnwood Restaurant focusing on the theme of Peace Through Service. First place and $125 went to Regan Swartz, center, a Ripon Christian High School sophomore. Second place and $100 went to Lauren Morris, far right; back row, from left are Elizabeth Lindemann, fourth place and Anna Fassler, third place. They received $50 and $75 respectively. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Speaking on the topic of “Peace through Service,” four high school students took to the podium at Ripon Rotary’s annual speech contest vying for first place honors and the chance to go on to state competition.

Three of the students represented Ripon High School and one was a sophomore from Ripon Christian High School, Regan Swartz, 15, who took first place in the noontime event at the Barnwood Restaurant Wednesday.

Swartz was one of two speakers to recognize missionary Mother Theresa in her presentation and pointed out to her audience of Rotarians that if they had money in their wallets they would be considered among a select number of just eight percent of the world’s population to share that position of wealth.

The Ripon Christian sophomore is the past recipient of the Principal’s Award for planning a “Jeans for Teens” fundraiser at her school and is a member of the California Scholarship Federation.  Swartz also served as an attorney during her school’s mock trial and debate besides being active in soccer and a cheerleader and took part in a mission trip to New Mexico.

In her future, she hopes to attend a small Christian college majoring in nursing to become a delivery room nurse – hopefully as a missionary in Africa, she said.

Lauren Morris, 17, took second place in the competition.  She is a senior at Ripon High School and hopes to major in either journalism or business.  Lauren has been involved in student government at some level since her freshman year holding the office of class president this year.

For three years she worked on a fundraiser for Guatemalan children who otherwise are unable to afford any meaningful education.  Lauren has also served as a team captain for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Anna Fassler finished third in the speech contest focusing on peace in the world.  The Ripon High senior has been a contestant every year during high school, having been a runner-up in the past,  in addition to a third place finish.  Anna has been involved in the school’s Academic Decathlon and has served is currently vice-president of the Rotary Interact Club.

Anna has also run cross country in track and field and is also a member of the California Scholarship Federation.  She hopes to attend Dominican University in San Rafael.

Elizabeth Lindemann, 16,  took fourth place honors as a junior from Ripon High School.  She has been involved with the People to People Central Valley Chapter for the last four years serving as historian, secretary and president.  Also a member of the California Scholarship Federation and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes,  she received a check for $50 for her speech.

Elizabeth has also been involved in water polo and the swim team at Ripon High and has been active in Tae Kwon Do in the community.  She hopes to major in Political Science at a San Diego college.

Ripon’s first place winner, Regan Swartz, will now go on to compete with students from other clubs in the region meet including Tracy, Lathrop, Manteca noon, Manteca morning at a speak-off near the end of February with the winner getting $175.   The exact date will be announced later and is to be sometime between Feb. 25 and March 1.

The top speaker in that contest will go on to the District 5220 Speech Contest set for Saturday, March 30, in Rohnert Park, south of Santa Rosa.  The winner of that contest will go on to compete with others t the Rotary District Conference on May 4 – also in Rohnert Park.  Housing will be provided for the student and her parents or guardian the night prior to the speak off.

The first place winner of the final district contest will receive a check for $1,000.  Second and third place finishers are to receive $750 and $500 respectively.