Clark Montessori Student Wins Citywide Speech Contest


Karrington Rainey delivers a speech on mental illness. Photo courtesy: The Rotary Club of Cincinnati

A 12th grade student at Clark Montessori High School recently won a local speech contest for her impressive delivery on a topic that is close to her heart.

Karrington Rainey competed against three other students during The Rotary Club of Cincinnati’s 4 Way Test Speech Contest. The event, which empowers students to speak about issues that are important to them, took place at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel’s Hall of Mirrors.

“A call of action starts today,” Rainey said with confidence during her speech. “We will start to give mentally ill people respect and make them a priority in our communities.”

The topic hits close to home for Rainey, whose sister has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

“Mental Illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s an illness,” she said.  “If I had something wrong with my arm or leg, everybody would want to sign my cast. But nobody wants to sign my depression pill bottle.”

Ed Mathis, Rotary’s 4 Way Test Speech Contest committee member, and Laure Quinlivan, Rotary’s 4 Way Test Speech Contest co-chair, congratulate Rainey on winning. Photo courtesy: The Rotary Club of Cincinnati

Rainey received a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 100 business and community leaders as she finished her speech.

“She started with a private experience about her family and transformed it into a powerful story that will teach others the importance of mental health awareness,” said Dean Blase, principal at Clark Montessori School.

Rainey received a $150 cash prize for winning the contest. Two additional CPS students were also recognized. Walnut Hills High School student Nikki Joiner was first runner-up and School for the Creative & Performing Arts student Kennedy Liggins was second runner-up.

Rainey now advances to a district-wide competition on March 31 at Wright State University in Dayton. You can watch her full speech here.

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