Two Clinton County Students Advance To Rotary District Speech Contest

Five Clinton County High School Students participated Thursday in the annual Frankfort Rotary Speech Contest at Arborwood Shoup’s Event Center.

Each participant focused on the Rotary International mottos “Service Above Self” and “One Profits Most Who Serves The Best”.  

Participants in order of speaking:

  • Aubry Alexander/Clinton Prairie
  • Lily Koning Thompson/Clinton Prairie
  • Payne Terry/Rossville 
  • Eli Grasham/Frankfort
  • Jenna Stevenson/Rossville

Rotary Speech contest coordinator Myron Chezem commented how competitive the event turned out to be.  He indicated every contestant would have been qualified to proceed and participate at the District level.  

Rotary Speech Contest at Arborwood. Left to Right: Rotary Contest Co-ordinator Myron Chezem, Aubrey Alexander, Lily Koning Thompson, Eli Grasham, Jenna Stevenson, Payne Terry

In the end, judges Carol Cruz, Jim Moyer and Craig Overman chose Lily Koning Thompson and Eli Grasham to proceed to Anderson University on March 11th for District Competition.  District first place winner will receive $1000.00, second place $500.00 and third place $250.00.  Winners at Anderson will speak at the Indiana Rotary Convention in April.

Lily Thompson from Clinton Prairie encouraged the audience to make a change in this world by putting “service above self”, even if starting to do that in small ways.  Lily would like to become a film maker one day.

Eli Grasham from Frankfort reminded the audience that Service above Self creates a “Ripple Effect” that allows the act of service to be shared and amplified.  Service Above Self is not “A Good Deed” according to Grasham, but it is more “a mindset of empathy and compassion” to “live a life in a way that leaves the world better than we found it”.

Speakers identified with the 7 pillars of Rotary International and often wove these tenets into their talk:

  • Fighting Disease
  • Promoting Peace
  • Supporting Education
  • Providing Clean Water
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Growing Local Economies
  • Saving Mothers and Children

While judges were making the difficult decision to identify who would progress to District, Rossville Principal Terry Thompson introduced the two Rossville Students Payne Terry and Jenna Stevenson.  Rotary often hosts High School Students to attend meetings and Terry and Stevenson were chosen for guests at the meeting in addition to speaking.  Terry plans to study Biochemistry at Indiana University in hopes of going to I.U. School of Medicine toward becoming a Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Terry has worn eye glasses since he was 18 months old.

Jenna Stevenson hopes one day to become a full-time worship leader and bases here life in part on Proverbs 16:9. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps”.

Aubry Alexander invited the audience to “Imagine a world without service” and compare that to “A world with nothing BUT service…a world where we are ALL great.”

Each contestant received $60 dollars and all participates and school sponsors enjoyed a Shoup’s Brisket lunch at Arborwood. 

First Place speaker Lily Koning Thompson
Second Place Speaker Eli Grasham


  1. So proud of Lily, guess I’m bias because I know her!! I see her service almost on a daily basis and know great things will come for her!!

  2. I also know great things will come for her, she’s a strong brave intelligent young lady, who has made this Grandmother very proud! Congratulations Lily Ann!

  3. Congratulations Lily! We are so proud of you. Can’t wait to see what your future brings. Nothing but good things 💕

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