Fountain Valley High School senior awarded $500 scholarship; speaks at Awards 38 Gala

“We are the world-changers. Not after we get a job, not after we earn a degree – but right at this very moment – for we all know that we have the enthusiastic, dedicated minds and hearts to spread that torch’s  light.” So wrote Fountain Valley High School senior, eighteen year old Victoria Yee, in her award-winning YouthSpeak contest speech, Carry the Torch.

Victoria, along with the other contest finalists, Rupen Dajee a junior at Corona del Mar High School and eighth-grader Noemi Ruiz from MacArthur Fundamental, delivered their speeches to OC Human Relations Commissioners and Board members of at a reception for the Awards 38 recipients on April 9, 2009. The judges had an extremely difficult time choosing a winner. “These were amazing speeches; the students’ eloquence moved us all,” said Judy Iannaccone, president of OC Human Relations Board of Directors. In fact, so impressed were that judges that they reached into their pockets and increased the scholarship for the two runners-up to $250 each, from the previously announced $100.

Victoria received a standing ovation when she delivered her speech at the OC Human Relations Awards 38 gala on May 7, 2009. Rupen galvanized the audience at OC Human Relations Walk In My Shoes youth conferences on November 19, 2009.

Over thirty students from schools across Orange County entered this first annual speech contest in which they were asked to prepare a short speech on the importance of young people taking a leadership role in creating an equitable and just community. Three finalists were selected by OC Human Relations youth interns. Many of the entrants commented on the benefits they gained from entering the contest. Rupen stated, “I really enjoyed writing the speech; it made me think a lot about leadership and equity for my school.”

FIRST PRIZE AWARD RECIPIENT: (click on the names to read their speech)

Victoria Yee, Grade 12, Fountain Valley High School

Rupen Dajee
Rupen Dajee , Grade 11, Corona del Mar High School
Noemi Ruiz
Noemi Ruiz,
Grade 8, MacArthur Fundamental

  • For more information please contact Don Han at 714.796.8361