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AHS Student Wins Rotary Speech Contest

Jordyn RoarkWINTERVILLE—Jordyn Roark, a student in Pitt Community College’s Adult High School program, took first place in the Rotary Club’s annual “Rotary Against Drugs Speech Competition” held Feb. 24 at Edgecombe Community College.

Roark, a Kill Devil Hills native now living in Fountain, topped five competitors from throughout the northeastern part of the state with a speech in which she answered the question, “What can be done to prevent substance abuse in the United States?” Sponsored by Greenville Morning Rotary, she was the only contestant to represent Pitt County.

“Everybody in the competition did really well,” Roark said. “Each speech was different and offered different ideas. I felt relieved to win in that people understood what I was trying to say. It made me feel good to advocate for youths struggling with substance abuse.”

In her speech, the 18-year-old Roark suggested that communities must look at ways to address substance abuse locally before the issue can be tackled nationally. She added that individualized treatment plans would likely work best for substance abusers, since there are no “black-and-white answers” that work for everyone.

Roark proposed establishing an after-school program for middle and high school students that focuses on substance abuse prevention and academic success. Each participant, she said, would have a mentor with the training to recognize the early signs of substance abuse and could provide an encouraging environment for students to succeed.

In addition to being on track to receive her adult high school diploma through PCC in May, Roark is also enrolled in Lenoir Community College’s paramedic academy. She says she is on schedule to finish that program in August.

With her victory in last month’s speech contest, Roark will receive a $100-prize and move on to compete in the competition’s next round, which will take place in the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Building in Raleigh on March 10.