Chris Flask, Vacaville
Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of judging the annual Academic Decathlon speech competition for the North Bay Region. In eight hours, I heard 16 of Northern California’s bright, young thinkers present on diverse topics, such as immigration, Russian politics and even the perils of poor toast. When asked why I would sacrifice a Saturday to do this, my reply is that I don’t see it as a sacrifice at all. It invigorates me to see so much promise, hope and intellect on display.
We often focus on the failures of our education system and poor examples of our youth. Each year, I am reminded that there are some incredibly bright kids who are working hard and really succeeding. The speech competition is just one of 10 events that thousands of students participate in during the competition, though the speech is often the scariest.