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SEHS junior Darius Scott pens winning speech

They say a picture says a thousand words, but when you have the public speaking skills of Darius Scott, pictures aren’t needed.

For the second year in a row, Scott competed in and claimed first place in the 2017 Rotary Speech Contest. He was one of five students placing in the competition.

Scott, a junior at South Effingham High School who also plays on the basketball team, gave a speech about the centennial celebration of the Rotary Club with the theme ‘Doing Good in the World’, one of three themes the students had to choose from. The other two themes were ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’ and ‘Rotary 4 Way Test’.

“This year’s speech is about the centennial celebration of Rotary Club – this is their 100-year celebration,” Scott said. “In this speech, I’m just recognizing their accomplishments and telling about how they can continue to do what they have been doing for the next 100 years.”

Last year, Scott claimed his first win in the competition on a subject that many people don’t know is a major issue in today’s world.

“Last year, my speech was about human trafficking and the worldwide causes and effects of it and how we could come up with a program or something to save the children,” Scott said. “Also, to get the government to be more aware of the human trafficking problem – they’re not taking it seriously.”

While winning last year was an accomplishment itself, claiming first place two years in a row is even greater.

“It’s always good to win the first time,” Scott said on his previous victory. “The second time, it gives me more courage and confidence in myself that I can continue to compete and win this competition. If I keep going, there’s no telling what my speaking capabilities can do.”

Some people learn to be great orators over the course of their academic lives while others are gifted with the natural ability to be great speakers and communicators – Scott is of the latter group.

“I think it comes natural to me because I’ve had past experiences speaking,” Scott said. “I’ve been speaking in front of congregations are my church and other churches and I’ve been a youth pastor for smaller children – I’m used to it. And I just really like talking.”

While still just a junior in high school, Scott has already begun thinking about what he may want to do once in college and beyond.

Spoiler alert: it involves speaking.

“I think I could do public speaking in the future – definitely,” Scott said. “Public speakers give messages to people well – especially the youth. I think I could become a motivational speaker that encourages the youth – maybe even have my own seminars for teams and groups.”

That’s a speech I’d be glad to hear.

Katie Marchese (sophomore at STEM/SEHS) finished in second place, Rebecca Velasquez (junior at ECHS) finished in third place, Rafael Osella (sophomore at ECHS) finished in fourth place and Kiyah Adkins (junior at SEHS) finished in fifth place.