People of Action Promoting Rotary through a Speech Contest

Promote Rotary ethics while inspiring our youth.

Herbert J. Taylor, Author of Rotary’s 4 Way Test

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word test for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:

“Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

The District 5790 Speech Contest promoting the 4 Way Test

Purpose of Contest

Rotary International District 5790 is composed of 73 clubs in North Texas. The Clubs and District annually conduct a Four-Way Test Speech Contest to benefit high school age youth. The specific goals of the contest are:

  1. To acquaint a large number of youth with Rotary and the Four-Way Test.
  2. To demonstrate and enhance Rotary’s commitment to youth.
  3. To heighten awareness of Rotary among youth, parents, schools, and community.
  4. To recognize, encourage, and reward hard work and accomplishment among youth.

The 2020 District 5790 Speech Contest details

Rotary District 5790 invites your Club to join us in a Four-Way Test Speech contest.  The Four-Way Test is the principle which guides the Rotary Organization. 

Typically a Club will have 4 or 5 students participate. If there are more students interested in participating, it is suggested that the school hold a ‘mini-contest’ patterned after the Club contest to select the students best suited to compete at the Club level.  Information about this follows.

General Information

Topic of speech: “What the Four-Way Test Means to Me”

Contestants must be in high school and can be any age.

Contestants who have participated at the District level in any previous year are not eligible.

Speeches are to be 5 minutes.

No written scripts or props are allowed; however, 3×5 cards may be used

Student will need to be available to go to the Regional and District dates if they qualify

Tools Needed for a School Contest

One Coordinator

One Time-Keeper – If possible, it is helpful to have 8 ½ x11 sheets with the following on each:

        One minute (showing the contestant has one-minute left)

        30 Seconds (showing the contestant has 30 seconds left)

        TIME (indicating the contestant has reached the 5-minute time limit; however, they are allowed an additional 30 seconds)


At least three judges who should not be other students or friends of the students to assure objectivity.


December 31            Submit your Club Participation Form to the District 4 Way                   Speech Director            

February                     Clubs should hold their contests during these months.  The winner of each Club contest advances to a Regional contest.

April                           Regional contest (Fort Worth Arlington area, Weatherford and West, Denton area clubs and Possibly Wichita Falls area) each for about 10 to 13 contestants will be held.  Proposed dates are;

1st Saturday in April

2nd Saturday in April

3rd Saturday in April

4th Saturday in April

It is advised that someone from the school accompany the contestant.  Families and friends are welcome.  If for some reason your student cannot attend the assigned date, please contact the 4 way speech director to see whether the student can attend another region.

May                The District Contest will be held at the District Conference in May.

Students participating in a typical speech contest

So, why would today’s high school students want to participate?

Throughout all persons lives communication is key –

                Whether you are asking for a job

                Whether you are asking for a promotion

Whether you are requesting a raise

The FOUR-WAY TEST SPEECH CONTEST, designed for high school students, is the perfect vehicle to set oneself on the right communication path.  It helps one to know how to organize their thoughts and be convincing in presenting them.

The Rotary Four-Way Test presents high school students of any age, whether in a public or private school or home-schooled, with a decision-making tool that can be used throughout their lives while enhancing their ability to communicate skillfully.

There are three possible levels for students to compete:  at the Club level, winners advance to the Regional level, and winners at each region advance to the District level.  Club contests are typically held in February or March. From that point the winning student from each Club advances to a Regional contest, tentatively planned for April 4, April 18 and April 25.  The top two winners from each Regional contest (total six) then advance to the District contest, held at the District Conference in Arlington, TX on May 29th this year.

Where do you find all the materials needed for a 4 Way Test Speech Contest in your club this year?

All the information needed can be found on the District 5790 Website. Simply click 4 Way Test Speech Contest. Or in the main menu bar of the District 5790 website under committees find the Vocational Services drop down.

Still have questions? Contact Janelle Kavenaugh via e-mail at

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