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Starling wins county Rotary speech contest
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South Effingham High School swept the Rotary Club High School Speech Competition for the Coastal Zone, taking all three top slots. From left are junior Micheala Lariscy, second place; junior Amanda Starling, first place; and freshman Natalie Starling, third place. - photo by Photo provided

At the Rotary Club High School Speech Competition Saturday in Statesboro, Effingham County swept the Coastal Zone level with all three finalists slots taken by Effingham students.

Four students represented the two Effingham County Rotary Clubs after winning the top four places Thursday afternoon in the countywide competition held at New Ebenezer Retreat Center. South Effingham junior Michaela Lariscy, junior Amanda Starling and freshman Natalie Starling placed first, third and fourth respectively in the county. ECHS senior Taylor Roberson placed second for the county. Also in the county competition were seniors Jojo Pollard and Emily Holten.

The theme for this year’s speech contest was “The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands,” and each student presented a three-to-four-minute speech based on that theme. They were awarded $100 for first place, $75 for second, $50 for third and $25 for fourth place.

The four winners moved on to compete against winners from Rotary Clubs throughout the Coastal Zone, which includes those as far south as St. Simons, west as Vidalia and north as Millen.

Starling won this level, with Lariscy in second and Amanda’s sister Natalie in third, giving SEHS all three top slots. Amanda Starling will go to Jekyll Island on April 24 along with winners from the Northern and Western Zones of Rotary District 6920 for the District Annual Conference. She and the other winners will each receive a $1,250 scholarship and present their speeches at the conference.

There will be no competition this time, but zone finalists will receive awards based on the order of their scores in the zone competition.