Nagisa Smalheiser, a sophomore at Amador Valley High School, has won Pleasanton North Rotary Club's Youth Speech contest.
Smalheiser's five-minute speech was judged the best of three presentations at the club's meeting Jan. 2 at Handles GastroPub restaurant.
The speeches addressed this year's Rotary International theme of "Light Up Rotary." They also included references to the principles of the organization's "Four-Way Test" that guides members' community service commitment.
Smalheiser used the Four-Way Test to identify shortcomings in the truth, fairness, goodwill and benefits derived from the mistreatment of animals, and she described projects she recently organized to act on them.
"It is important to take the initiative to make a difference," she said. "Everyone should try to light a candle to light up the world."
Smalheiser was awarded $100 and qualified to compete in area finals of the Rotary District 5170's Richard D. King annual Youth Speech contest in Livermore. Regional and district competition will follow.
Laura Klein, a Foothill High School junior and Rotary International exchange student from Germany, and Foothill sophomore Kimberly Szeto were awarded $50 and $25, respectively, for their second and third place awards.
Kevin Greenlee, Pleasanton North Rotary Club's youth services coordinator, chaired the local competition.
Jim Brice, principal consultant with Tri-Valley Public Relations, Susan Dupree, a clinical psychologist in Dublin and Lara Golden, global community director with Callidus Cloud judged the competition.