The Living Magazines

Hyde Park Living .....Hyde Park, Oakley, Mt. Lookout, O'Bryonville and East Walnut Hills
Wyoming Living
Indian Hill Living
Fort Thomas Living

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Student’s Plea to Understand Depression Wins Cincinnati Rotary’s Speech Contest

From left, Laura Ryan of Finneytown, Rotary Club President Dave Carlin of Montgomery, Roberta Ryan of Ft. Mitchell, competition co-chair Ed Mathis of Monfort Heights, winner Sarah Johnson of Finneytown and co-chair Laure Quinlivan of Mt. Lookout.

Sarah Johnson of Finneytown has seen the effects of depression in friends and family. Her eloquent call for understanding and action won the Rotary Club of Cincinnati’s 4-Way Test Speech Competition.

Sarah is the granddaughter of Roberta Ryan of Ft. Mitchell and the daughter of Laura Ryan of Finneytown. Sarah plans to pursue a nursing degree. “She won some speech competitions in grade school and just recently decided to renew that interest,” says Laura Ryan.

Johnson, a junior at the School for Creative & Performing Arts, was one of four finalists from across Greater Cincinnati competing to represent the Rotary Club of Cincinnati at the regional speech finals on April 8 at Wright State University. That competition draws high school students from across Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Other students competing at the Rotary Club of Cincinnati event were Liam O’Shaughnessy of Wyoming, for Wyoming High School, Astrid Conte Pena of Mt. Washington, for Clark Montessori, and Yousuf Munir of Amberley Village for Walnut Hills High School. Each student received a cash prize and a letter of recognition from the Rotary Club of Cincinnati.

Topics included the value of therapy, immigration, and the importance of sex education in schools.

Judges had high praise for the speeches.

“The depth of the subject matter and the power of their arguments exceeded what you might expect,” says Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Byron McCauley, who was one of the judges for the competition. “We heard a ton of wisdom, backed up with facts and figures.”

McCauley noted Johnson’s ability to put a human touch on her speech.

“Sarah really humanized her speech with her own experience,” he says.

Winning contestant Sarah Johnson on stage

Each speech had to incorporate the Rotary’s 4-Way Test – the ethical standard that calls on Rotary members to assure that everything they think, do or say is the truth, is fair to all concerned, will build goodwill and better friendships and will be beneficial to all concerned.

Judges at the Feb. 20 event were Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Producing Director D. Lynn Meyers of Bridgetown, Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus of Fairview Heights, WKRC News Anchor Kyle Inskeep of Walnut Hills, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Byron McCauley of Madisonville and Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval of Clifton.

Co-chairs of the event were Laure Quinlivan of Mt. Lookout and Ed Mathis of Monfort Heights.

“I love coaching the students because they are so inspiring, and it’s eye-opening for us,” said Quinlivan. “We get a window into what teenage minds are fired up about.”

Mathis said the students combine courage, sincerity and passion.

The winning student at the regional competition at Wright State University will be invited to give their speech at the April 28 Rotary District Conference in Springfield, Ohio.

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati is a service and networking organization for business and community leaders. With close to 350 members, it is the largest and oldest Rotary Club in Greater Cincinnati. For information on The Rotary Club of Cincinnati see

No comments:

Post a Comment