April 18, 2003

A Very Successful Latina

The 4-Way Speech Contest is a public speaking contest, encouraged by English Departments in high schools all over San Diego and Imperial Counties. It is sponsored and officiated by Rotary Clubs.

The competition starts in classrooms, it progresses to their sponsoring Rotary Club for cash and/or prizes and finalists compete at the Rotary District Conference, held in La Jolla.

This year the First Place Award of $1,000.00 went to Meg, a young Latina and the daughter of Tim and Rose Sheehan. Her father, an El Cajon High School teacher, was her trainer. Meg attends the Academy of our Lady of Peace High School and was sponsored by the Mission Valley Rotary Club.


The 4-Way Speech contest winner, Meg Sheehan (center), with her parents Tim and Rosa. Photo by Dave Kulchin.

Often, the busiest students do the most in school and receive the most awards. As an example: Meg is in the National Honor Society (NHS), California Scholarship Federation (CSF), ASB Executive, spring sing, Carondelet Circle, and is a choreographer in the school theatrical production, a part of the school service group. She is also on the track and field team, on the speech team, and was in the California’s Jr. Miss Program.

Herbert J Taylor, a Rotarian and a successful businessman created the Rotary 4 Way Test. Taylor took over a bankrupt company so 250 men and women would not lose their jobs. He prayed for an ethical yardstick to use and for the employees to embrace and use in all they thought, said, and did in their relations with others. The answer to his prayers came to him in the 24 words now known as the “Rotary 4-Way Test”.

Students may choose any subject, however, they are asked to tell how they used the Rotary 4-Way Test in their speech. Rotary wants this experience to change what they think, say or do based on the test so it will make a difference in their lives: 1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOOD WILL and better Friendships? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Meg based her speech on her real life experiences in which she relied on the Rotary 4 Way Test to establish a business. She had been schooled in Irish dance for 14 years (since she was 4). Her dreams were to continue studying dance in college and some day, be able to compete in the Irish dance World Championships.

The death toll seemed to ring when Meg’s parents sent her brother to college. She knew there wouldn’t be enough family money to send her, too. At this point, she began to use the Rotary 4-Way Test to decide what kind of business she could start to earn funds for her own education. She, too, prayed as Mr. Taylor had and it became clear, her work must be in the field she knew best—dance. She wanted to inspire young children through making dance fun.

Meg’s program is known as “Inspirish”. She knew her lessons would be Truthful, Fair as she planned to treat all students the same regardless of their progress or talents, build Goodwill and Friendships, and it would be Beneficial to all concerned. The 4-Way Test encourages us all to examine our patterns of choosing, evaluating and acting. It is an objective guide, which we can use in deciding how best to respond in a given situation. So, Meg is able to dream again, of winning the Championship.

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