The Merced College Los Banos Campus recently hosted both the local and area Rotary speech contests.

The Los Banos Rotary Club partnered with speech college professor Griffin Cheek whose students judged the contests. 

The local competition is open to all high school students from Los Banos. Seven high school students competed this year. All were FFA students from Los Banos High. 

Los Banos FFA teacher Sonia Falaschi helped prepare them for the competition. 

Those competing at the local level on Jan. 24 include Larry Borelli, Madison Jasso, Ava Menefee, America Ordunez, Olivia Pacheco, Sebastian Paolini, and Jared van Loren Sels.

The judges awarded Menefee first place, America Ordunez second place, Jared van Loben Sels third place, and Larry Borelli an honorable mention. 

Menefee advanced to the area competition and, on Feb. 14, competed against the first-place winners from the Rotary Clubs in Gustine and Newman. They included Yajaira Huizar from Gustine ad Ramiro de Jesus Beltran-Pelayo of Newman. 

Following the competition, the judges awarded first place to Beltran-Pelayo, second place to Huizar, and third to Menefee.

Beltran-Pelayo will move on and compete in the Rotary District 5220 competition on March 18 at the Merced County Office of Education. 

Gene Lieb/The Express
Los Banos High School FFA students competing in the Los Banos Rotary Club area contest include, from left, Ava Menefee, American Ordunez, Madison Jasso, Olivia Pacheco, Jared van Loben Sels, Larry Borelli, and Sebastian Paolini.

The Westside Express