SOLANA BEACH — Elijah Granet said the one overriding principle this nation needs to learn from its past is the importance of delayed gratification.Ironically that lesson didn’t apply to the Canyon Crest Academy junior during the inaugural Del Sol Lions Club speaker contest Feb. 11 at Fletcher Cove Community Center.
Less than an hour after giving his speech, Elijah was named the contest winner, earning $75 and a chance to move on to compete for more than $21,000 in scholarships and prizes.
Finalists were Torrey Pines High School students Robert Roberts, also a junior, and Aisiri Murulidhar, a freshman, who each earned $25.
The contest was open to local high school students and limited to the first six entrants. Its goal is to provide an opportunity for competitive public speaking among students and stimulate self-expression and independent thinking.
This year’s prompt was “What Could the America of Yesterday Teach the America of Tomorrow?” Speeches had to be between five and 10 minutes long.
Elijah, who spoke first, described America of yesterday as a “vibrant place,” mainly because our ancestors understood hard work over many years paid off. Today, he said, people tend to “Google their way out of hard work.”
“If you want something, you and you alone will have to achieve it,” Elijah said.
Acknowledging the ability to gain information faster than ever before is a good thing, he said a “loss in patience is hurting” our society.
An addiction to technology is dominating our lives. “We need to hearken back to the frontier mentality,” he said.
Aisiri, the second speaker, said Americans today need to become more self-reliant and buy only what they need. She said previous generations had the ability to save money, be thrifty and know when to spend and when to invest.
“They didn’t waste time fantasizing about the unnecessary things in life,” she said. They also understood the importance of investing in the future for things such as college and retirement.
Robert said Americans today must keep moving forward, “even when it starts getting tough.” He said we must look at the hardships our ancestors endured.
“The world will be a better place if we learn from the mistakes of the past and don’t repeat them,” he said.
He also said Americans must respect teachers, enjoy family time and avoid treading on people’s rights.
Results were based on scores from three judges, who could not be Lions Club members. They were Judi Strang, executive director of San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth; Nicole Mione-Green, director of Casa de Amistad; and Mary Jane Boyd, former Solana Beach Town Council member and past president of Friends of the Solana Beach Library.
This marks the 75th year of the contest, but it’s the first time the newly formed Del Sol club participated. Six students registered for the contest but only half arrived to participate.
Elijah will compete against three other winners at the zone level March 3. The winner advances to regional, district and state competitions.