For placing first, Klibisz won $100 and will compete at the district level. The winner of the district level is awarded a scholarship.
Klibisz spoke about stepping out of one’s comfort zone to live the Rotary Four Way test. The Rotary Four Way Test asks four questions to govern words and actions. These include: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Klibisz stepped out of his comfort zone when he spent his junior year in Germany as an exchange student.
“Moving to a completely new country, living with a host family I had never met before, going to a new school — all while learning a new language — was a little daunting to say the least,” Klibisz said.
The first few months of his experience were extremely difficult. In January, his teacher asked him to give a presentation about the novel “Animal Farm.”
“My presentation lasted about three hours, went into the next two school days, and I felt I had used every single German word I had learned at least a 100 times over,” Klibisz said. “That was a turning point for me.”
When it came time for the Cleveland student to return to the States, he spoke German fluently.
He encouraged Rotarians to experience other cultures and viewpoints as a way to learn the truth, be more fair and develop meaningful friendships.
The student said he met many of the friends he made in Germany when they saw he needed help.
“They didn’t become my friends because I had impressed them with something, but rather because they saw that I was trying to experience life (as they lived it),” Klibisz said.
He said moving beyond a person’s sphere of comfort does not always mean going to a foreign country.
Klibisz said experiencing new things benefits the person, but also encourages others.
Cleveland students Westin Laing and Aimee Murray placed second and third respectively.
During his speech, Laing spoke about standing up for those who are in abusive situations. Laing said he has been blessed to have a loving family, but knows there are many who are physically abused by the people closest to them.
“In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered due to an intimate partner ... five children per day are killed due to acts of child abuse,” Laing said.
This is the unfair truth, he said.
“What can we do as Rotarians and future Rotarians to build goodwill and better friendships? We can go out and serve in our community,” Laing said.
Working together, members of the community can end these situations.
“I decided to go and find a solution,” Laing said.
Laing worked with The H.O.P.E. Center, a safehouse for women and children escaping abuse, to provide night care kits to help children feel more welcome and comfortable. The packages contain a new stuffed animal, pajamas and some essentials.
Laing challenged those present to become a part of a solution.
Aimee Murray spoke about making every day count, and turning bad days into good days. Murray said the Rotary Four Way test provides a framework for doing so. Individuals can turn a day around by being themselves (being true), looking for the good (beneficial) aspects of every day, trusting God and encouraging others.
“When was the last time you told someone ... ‘You are going to do great things,’” Murray said. “Serving others is the best way to have a great day.”
Laing was awarded $60, and Murray was awarded $30.
A preselected group of Rotarians served as judges for the event.