Two Finalists to Compete at PBA Law Day Luncheon, May 9; Judges Include 150 Lawyers, Judges,

Dignitaries & Honorary Guest Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey

The Pasadena Bar Association (PBA) is proud to host its 3rd Annual Speech Scholarship Contest.  Co-Founded by Donald P. Schweitzer, current PBA president, and Steven Yee, 2011 PBA president, the Speech Scholarship Contest invites high school students throughout Los Angeles County to participate in a speech and debate tournament for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship for the first-place winner.

The event co-founders, designed the event by embodying the PBA’s mission of professional development and improvement, and paired it with the goal of inspiring the community’s youth who have a passion for speech and debate.  The tournament provides students with an opportunity to perform under the review of the community’s top lawyers, judges, leaders and dignitaries. 

“I’ve always had a passion for public speaking, speech and debate, so when Steven Yee and I were challenged a few years ago to come up with an exciting theme for the annual PBA Law Day, we thought well why not involve the youth, make it competitive and fun, and give them an opportunity to shine in front of some of Pasadena’s dignitaries,” said Don, PBA president and founder & partner of the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer.

“The Pasadena Bar Association’s Speech Scholarship Contest is invaluable because it allows us to give back to our youth,” said Steven, PBA speech scholarship contest chair, PBA past president, and managing partner of Yee & Belilove, LLP.  “In addition to helping students fund their college education, we provide them with a unique opportunity to develop their public speaking skills before lawyers, retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judges, and other professionals.  This contest has prompted several high schools to form their own speech and debate teams.  After speaking at high schools and seeing students work so hard to better themselves, I was truly impressed by the dedication of these students and realized that we need to do all that we can to assist them in achieving their goals.”

The Pasadena Bar Association accepted 125 contestants on a first come, first serve basis from various local high schools. Preliminary rounds will be held on April 27, 2013 at Maranatha High School. The contestants will be expected to give a speech on their choice of one of three topics that the PBA previously provided. At the completion of the preliminary rounds, two students will move on to compete during the PBA’s Law Day luncheon on May 9, 2013 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. During the final round, the two finalists will be given seven minutes to present their speech to approximately 150 lawyers and dignitaries, including honorary guest, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Judging will occur during lunch, with the finalist announcement shortly after.

“It’s a really great opportunity for the two finalists to demonstrate their skills,” added Don. “Each finalist selects an entrance song to get the crowd warmed up, and then they step onto the stage, surrounded by visual aids that they created in support of their speeches. Everyone can feel the energy and adrenalin coming from these two, bright students…it’s really impressive to see.”

$5,000, $2,000 and $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners, respectively.  Fourth and fifth place winners will each receive a $150 gift certificate; and sixth through 15th place finalists will receive medals. This year, the Pasadena Bar Association is pleased to announce that it will also award $1,000 to the first place and $500 to the second place school teams. Last year’s first and second place winners were Samuel Whitefield from La Canada High School, and Jessica Demasi from Maranatha High School, respectively.