NORTH FORK – A Minarets High School student has once again taken top honors in the 77th annual Lions Club Student Speakers Contest, this time at the Area level held in Linden, Calif., on Saturday, May 17.
Mikayla Kopp, 17-year-old senior at Minarets, delivered her speech on the subject, “Community Service – What Does It Mean and Why Does It Matter.”
She is sponsored by the North Fork Lions Club, six of whom traveled to Linden in support of their contestant.
Until last year, no student from North Fork had ever advanced past the third level in the 77 years of the annual competition. This marks the second year in a row that a North Fork student has made it to the finals, scheduled for June 7 in Pasadena.
Last year’s winner Breanna Cairns, also a senior at Minarets, went on to compete in the finals in Torrance, and won over $11,000 in scholarships from the Lions Club.
Mikayla took first place at the Club level in North Fork in February, won the Zone in Oakhurst in March, finished first at Region on March 29 at Minarets High School in O’Neals, and now adds this latest victory at the Area level to her impressive list of accomplishments.
Student speakers are judged on originality, adherence to the subject matter, presentation of supporting evidence and a clearly stated conclusion. Their delivery is also evaluated, with points for enunciation, pronunciation, voice control, sincerity, enthusiasm and poise.
As Mikayla has advanced through each level, building up scholarship funds, she has been keeping track of how many semesters of school she could pay for. Mikayla has so far earned over $11,000 to put toward her college career, and if she wins the finals, she will have enough to get her degree. She plans to attend Fresno State and study Agricultural Education.
According to Jon Norby, North Fork Lions Club Student Speakers Contest chairman, some of the judges at her past two competitions would like her to change her major.
“There were two deputy district attorneys and one lawyer on the judging panel in April, and they told Mikayla that when she gets her degree, she needs to come and see them,” said Norby. “An undersheriff, an attorney, and several retired school executives on this panel told all the students that their professions are looking for people like them.”
If Mikayla wins in the State of California Finals in June, she will have earned over $21,000 in scholarships.
“Back when this contest started, first prize was a typewriter,” said Norby. “Now, many of these kids probably have never even seen a typewriter.”
Each year the Lions Clubs of California provide over $100,000 in scholarships to students who participate in the program, and the North Fork group is very proud of Mikayla and her outstanding performance.