Anoushka Bhat’s speech on leadership earned the Diamond Bar High School junior a scholarship and a chance to move on to the next stage of the competition in an oratory contest held Jan. 29 at the Walnut Valley Unified School District board room.
The theme for this year’s Region Oratory Contest, “Leadership: Celebrate the Journey,” required contestants to present a three-minute or less speech about the importance of leadership in our community. The competition was sponsored by the Association of California School Administrators.
Bhat received a $100 prize for winning her first competition and will be moving on to the regional contest set for March 4 in Pasadena.
“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it and I had a really busy week, so I wasn’t able to prepare the speech as much as I wanted to,” Bhat said via text. “So I was really surprised and excited when I found out that I won.”
In addition, she had a personal connection with the topic of leadership as her speech.
“I admire Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, and how his initiative to make an educational platform has created a nation of learners and helped students of all ages,” she said. “I think it was important that I talked about various leaders because every small difference they make inspires somebody else to take action.”
Junior Srijani Krishnan was another DBHS student who participated in the event. Although Krishnan didn’t move forward in the competition, she said the contest provided her with a meaningful experience.
“This was actually my first time doing a public speaking event like this, and I wanted to be able to have that experience,” she said. “I thought that if I got that experience, then I could work on improving public speaking, which is a skill I need to improve on for a long time.”
Oratory contest participants were judged by a panel of principals from district schools on a scale from one to eight based on how they presented their speech. The contestant with the highest score could move forward in the competition.
Six winners will be selected from the March 4 event as Region XV winners and will receive another prize of a $500 scholarship. The winners will be announced at the Region XV Spring Awards Banquet on April 30.