Local students win AAUW Speech Trek competition

ESCANABA – Alyson Barra, a senior at Bark River-Harris High School, has been selected as the Delta-Schoolcraft County first-place winner in the first annual “Speech Trek:” The M. Jean Jokipii Memorial Speech Contest, a statewide speech contest sponsored by the American Association of University Women of Michigan (AAUW of MI) and hosted by the AAUW Escanaba Area Branch. The theme was “Women at the Top: Why So Few?”

Alyson is the daughter of Dawn Gorecki of Bark River. Her teacher/speech advisor is Yvonne Mains, and her principal is Darren Bray.

Locally, the contest was open to all area high school students in the two-county area. Alyson was awarded a $300 cash prize and a Certificate of Achievement. The DVD of her winning speech will be entered into the state competition. The top three State finalists will be invited to compete for cash prizes at the AAUW of MI State Convention/Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 17, at COBO Convention Center in Detroit. State finalists and chaperones will be invited to the State Convention and Annual Meeting. Travel, lodging and meals will be reimbursed by AAUW of MI, not to exceed the budgeted amount.

The second-place winner was Bobbie Mason, a senior at the Escanaba Area High School. She is the daughter of Lauri Mason of Gladstone. Lynn Soderberg was Bobbie’s teacher/speech advisor, and Doug Leisenring is her principal. She won a cash prize of $200 and a Certificate of Achievement.

The Speech Contest was held at the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District. Lunch was catered by the AppleWood Eatery of Escanaba. AAUW and community volunteers assisted with this educational event. Margaret Carignan and Susan Hampton, AAUW members, served as co-chairs and emcees.

The Speech Contest is named in memory of M. Jean Jokipii, an educational, community and state leader. Jokipii was an esteemed speech and language arts teacher who retired from the Escanaba Area Public Schools, was the founding president of the AAUW Escanaba Area Branch, and the former Public Policy Director and President of AAUW of MI. First and foremost, she was always a teacher, a mentor and a strong advocate for students, life-long learning and community service.