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AAUW Speech Winner Places Sixth In State

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), Oakdale Riverbank Escalon (ORE) Branch, sponsored another successful Eleanor Stem Allen Memorial Speech Contest, also known as the “AAUW Speech Trek Contest.” Jane Griffith, an AAUW ORE Branch member, coordinated the local Speech Trek effort. This statewide contest is open to boys and girls, enrolled in public and private high schools as well as home schooled students and those enrolled through continuation high schools.

At the local level interested students submit an application, prepare an original five- to six-minute speech and present their speech before a panel of local judges. Oakdale High School English teacher Denise Springer recruited five participants. The local judges this year included Michele Weber, an Edward Jones Financial Advisor; Guy Lilly, a retired Oakdale High School educator; and Rose Epting, a retired educator and community volunteer.

The AAUW State selected speech topic for 2017 was “Is it Time to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment?” Autumn Neal placed first in the local contest and her speech was submitted on YouTube for the State level portion of the contest. Placing second and third at the local level were Diana Verduzco and Gaby Ceja respectively. The top three local participants received a cash award for their efforts.

Upon learning of her continued success at the State level Autumn Neal stated, “It’s awesome to know that I got sixth within the state.”

The local AAUW ORE Branch thanks the participants, the judges and the support from the Oakdale High School staff for making this event a success. Those interested in learning more about or participating in next year’s Speech Trek Contest can seek more information by calling 209-838-2495.

The last AAUW ORE membership meeting for the 2016-17 program year will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 9 a.m. in Oakdale. Scholarship, Science Fair winners, and Tech Trek participants will be honored. The local installation of new officers for 2017-2018 will also take place. Information about the local branch can be found on the website, For more information about the location of the meeting and AAUW membership opportunities, call 838-2495.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 150,000 members and supporters, 1,000 branches, and 600 college/university institutional partners.