Jack Berkman, is currently the Chairman of Rotary Club #33 4-Way High School Speech Contest. This is a Regional Contest involving hundreds of students from throughout San Diego County Schools, who work in connection with their sponsoring local Rotary Club to enter the contest in January, and hopefully work their way to the Finals in April. This contest has been active for over 25 years, and has become one of the most competitive, and highly attended high school programs annually.
Club #33 is the largest Rotary Club Regionally, and among the largest Nationally. The contest has garnered national recognition as one of the most well-run, respected, and financially supported nationwide. Club #33 works closely with Hoover High School’ Cardinals Interact program, as well as 4 other High Schools as their sponsor. Students at each school have internal contests first, to pare down the 25 student participants, to just two from each school. They are then entered into a series of Regional contests, where the top 3 move on to challenge other winners. The Finals consist of 6 students representing the finest of San Diego County.
Just two years ago, Club #33 took over this event and have set record attendance. This year Club #33 held the Finals during the regular luncheon meeting time, and over 350 Rotarians, friends, families and teachers attended. It was a tremendous success.
“My goals are to create universal judges, who work all the contests so judging is strictly uniform and managed.“
Some further comments from Jack Berkman:
“Club #33 has attracted more than 20 Rotarians as volunteers for the 4-month program, who assist students with speech topic creation, speech writing, oral presentation skills, self-confidence, poise and overall presentation skills, in front of a live audience. The core is about 12 highly committed Rotarians, who year in and out, have attended weekly meetings at Hoover, supported many functions, and become a major part of the lives of these highly gifted and motived young people.
This commitment has been, perhaps, one of the most nourishing and rewarding activities I have ever participated in. These students have changed my life, more that they say I have changed theirs.
I started a tradition three years ago, as we hold a special hosted VIP dinner for our participating Hoover students. It is hosted by Club #33 and our Rotarians. It is amazing to witness students who have never been out to dinner before, or ordered from a menu. This experience is capped off by hearing where these students go to College. Full scholarships to Harvard, UCLA, USC, UC Berkley, Duke, and many other great universities Nationwide.
Reality is where we thrive!”
BERKMAN is actively involved in the San Diego community, helping to create a better world for our neighbors, friends and families. Some of the organizations with which we have worked and/or volunteer our services or time are:
- Alzheimer’s Family Centers, Inc.
- Balboa Park Trust Committee
- Bandwidth Bay
- Big Brothers, Big Sisters of San Diego County
- Boys to Men Mentoring Network
- Bravo California Ballet Association
- Centre City Development Corp.
- Children’s Hospital
- Child Abuse Prevention Foundation
- City of San Diego
- Congregation Beth Israel
- Downtown San Diego Partnership
- Fern Street Circus
- Gaslamp Quarter Association
- Girl Scouts of America
- Huntington’s Disease Society of America
- Mercy Outreach Surgical Team
- Old Globe Theatre
- Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
- Rock N Roll Marathon
- San Diego Blood Bank
- San Diego Boys & Girls Club
- San Diego Center for Children
- San Diego Downtown YMCA
- San Diego Film Commission
- San Diego Opera
- San Diego Padres
- San Diego Repertory Theatre
- San Diego Rotary Club
- San Diego Rotary Club Centennial Celebration 2005
- San Diego Symphony Orchestra
- San Diego Wellness Community
- SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl
- Senior Community Centers of San Diego
- The San Diego Community Foundation
- The United Jewish Federation