IM this article to a friend!

March 13, 2004

Deaf school student wins speech contest

From: The Argus - Fremont,CA,USA - Mar 13, 2004

Deaf school student wins speech contest

By Jennifer Kho, STAFF WRITER

ANDREW GREENMAN, a student at the California School for the Deaf, has won the fourth annual Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Five students competed, each presenting a prepared speech about the topic "Thinking, Working and Expecting the Best." The speeches focused on how the students, as members of the deaf community, could help improve the world with positivity, wrote Leah Gevarter, a social studies teacher at the school.

Marla Blowers, contest chairwoman for the Newark Optimist Club -- which sponsored the event -- and for the Pacific Central district, said she enjoyed hearing all

the speeches.

"It's been great to watch the kids at the deaf school get up in front of their classmates and give their presentations," she said. "They are so passionate -- they are just amazing -- and they carry their passion to other groups when they give their talks."

Greenman, 17, was "the runaway winner," Blowers said.

"Andrew has come through many struggles in his young life," she said. "Through all of this, Andrew continued to think, work and expect the best. He gave his presentation eloquently and it was obvious that his classmates held him in high esteem. He is an intelligent young man with an interesting and bright future. I feel sure he will use his life experiences to help others. His optimism has served him well."

Nearly 500 Optimist clubs and 45 districts sponsor deaf communication contests every year, Blowers said.

About five clubs in the Pacific Central district are holding local contests and the winners, including Greenman, will move on to compete in the Pacific Central District finals at 1 p.m. May 22 at the Newark Presbyterian Church, 35450 Newark Blvd.

The first-place winner of that competition will earn a $1,500 college scholarship.

Blowers said the contest is a way for the Optimist Club to help youth develop their potential.

"It's really good for the kids to get up in front of a group and talk," she said. "It takes a lot of courage, but it helps them develop something in themselves that they might not otherwise. I think it's the confidence that they gain from finding out they can do something like that."

Greenman will give a presentation at a Newark Optimist Club meeting before competing at the district, where an audience of between 100 and 150 people is expected, she said.

"I personally find it very rewarding to offer an opportunity like this to our local students," Blowers said. "I have learned so much about the deaf community over the past four years by listening to these very passionate young people. They are a true inspiration."

©1999-2003 by MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers