2016 Student Speech Contest Winner Update

Author: Carissa Logan
February 2, 2017


A few weeks ago we announced that the Second Annual Student Speech Contest was officially open to students attending a certified Leader in Me School. As we kick off another amazing contest, we felt it would be a great time to give an update on some of last year’s 2016 Grand Prize winners.


2016 Student Speech Contest Winner - Zhorie’l
Pictured from left to right: Anne Herrmann, Plantation Elementary School Principal; Tommy Angelle, Lafayette Parish School Board President; Dawn Morris, Lafayette Parish School Board Vice-President; Dr. Donald W. Aguillard, Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent. Front: Zhorie’l L. Tapo. Photo courtesy of

Zhorie’l was one of our winners from the 5–7 age category, and she was overjoyed when she found out her video was chosen. She first heard the news at an assembly in front of her whole school at Plantation Elementary in Lafayette, Louisiana. As a result of her first-place award, Zhorie’l was featured in numerous local and regional newspapers and magazines, as well as on local news stations. She was also recognized by the Lafayette Parish School System.



Zhorie’l presenting Ms. Linda Hall a portion of her Grand Prize money
Zhorie’l presenting Ms. Linda Hall a portion of her Grand Prize money.

Shortly after receiving the award, Zhorie’l set the wheels in motion to accomplish her goal of placing her $500 prize money toward a good purpose. She deposited $300 into her own college savings plan. She deposited $50 into each of her two younger sisters’ college savings plans. Zhorie’l then wholeheartedly gave the remainder of her winnings to her school bus driver, Ms. Linda Hall. Ms. Hall is currently recovering from a horrible non-work-related automobile accident that unfortunately left her fighting for her life for a greater part of 2016. While no longer in critical condition, she is still battling with injuries that are preventing her from returning to work. Even though Zhorie’l had hoped the money would help Ms. Hall return to her bus route, she would not change how she used her winnings to help her dear friend.




2016 Student Speech Contest Winner - Zhorie’l



2016 Student Speech Contest Winner - GageAnother one of our winners from the student speech contest was Gage in the 8–11 age category. Gage has been very active since he won the speech contest. He was selected to introduce our school district’s new superintendent at the 2016 convocation for the school district.


A huge accomplishment for Gage since winning the Student Speech Contest is hosting the 2016 Bike Safety Saturday at his school. He opened the event up to invite everyone in our school district and community. There were about 350 people in attendance. The entire event was free to the community, and we had hot dogs, drinks, a BMX stunt show, free bicycle helmets for any rider without a helmet, a helmet-inspection/proper-fit station, an escorted safety ride, a bike-inspection station, prize giveaways, and bicycle-skills safety learning stations. The event was well received by the community and provided completely through volunteers and community donations.


2016 Bike Safety Saturday
Gage is planning to use his $500 Leadership Grant money this spring for his “RISD Roll Models” campaign, where he is putting free bicycle helmets into students’ hands in the Rockwall School District, and empowering the students participating in the event to start bike-safety programs and practices on their school campus. He is also helping at a nearby school’s Bike Safety Day in the spring.Bike Safety Saturday

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