Students excel at local speaking competition


To shed light on racial discrimination and simultaneously build their public speaking skills, two Diamond Bar High School students participated in this year’s sixth annual Speech Trek contest and were awarded for their performances.

Following the event’s theme of racial disparity within the United States, junior Ranee Chan took home first place while sophomore Jeremiah Jung placed third. For their achievements in the competition, the Brahmas received a $300 scholarship and cash prize of $100 respectively.

The event followed a hybrid system, requiring mask usage and following strict social distancing guidelines in addition to broadcasting live via Zoom; only coaches, guests and competitors were permitted to attend in-person. 

Each speech was recorded live. The first place winner’s speech video was sent to the State AAUW organization to be judged against winners’ videos from other branches. The first, second and third place winners were invited, along with a parent, to give their speech at the State AAUW Convention where further prizes were given.

In her presentation, Chan argued that the country had not lived up to its pledge of liberty and justice for all, implementing statistics on discrimination against minorities in her speech.

“My answer to [the prompt] was no. I used African American Lives and Asian Lives in my speech to [show] the impaired American system and their bias. Black Lives Matter was needed to combat injustice and Stop Asian Hate was needed [as well],” she said.

Chan said she had a personal bond with the topic at hand due to her identity as a woman of color, allowing her to deliver a more passionate response. 

“I definitely felt a connection to the topic and how we’ve been mistreated in the past, so I definitely wanted to bring awareness and attention to that topic in my speech,” Chan said.

Chan was encouraged to participate by her mother, who had been by her side through the competition. She made sure to research as much as she could before breaking down the topic.

“I’m not afraid of [public speaking], so she told me to use my strengths. [I had to] keep it under six minutes which was really a struggle.” Chan said. “There was definitely a lot of research that was put into it to make sure I was presenting the right information.”

In addition to Chan and Jung, sophomore Amber Yu also participated in the competition. 

Having argued on behalf of the United States showing injustice to minorities, she felt that the event gave her the opportunity to strengthen her speech skills.

“If the speech topic next year is something I am passionate about, I would love to try doing it again,” Yu said via Instagram.

Yu was also inspired to write about these points due to news articles about economic disparity.

“…As well as a shocking statistic from the San Francisco police department, I read about hate crimes against those of Asian descent increasing by 567% in 2021,” Yu said.