WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The assistant combat direction center officer aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) served as a judge for the second annual public speaking contest at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C., May 12.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Rogers judged the contest that was sponsored by the D.C. chapter of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and aimed at improving self expression.
Rogers served on a five-judge panel, which included prominent people in the community, including Anne Roosevelt Mason, a great granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt; the U. S. Senate Sergeant at Arms, Terrance Gainer; an executive for a local television channel; a lawyer; and an educator. The school is predominantly African American and Rogers, an African American himself, volunteered his time because of his desire to help at-risk youth. Rogers regularly donates his time to efforts like these in the community.
The judges were introduced to the contestants, who drew names to decide the order in which they would speak. They were given five minutes to speak on any aspect of Theodore Roosevelt's life.
"All nine students were well studied and prepared for the stiff competition, but there was one young man who really stood out," said Rogers. "The winner, Jonathan Rucker, was very articulate and eloquent and tied his research of Theodore Roosevelt to his personal decision to join the Navy. He had me with that declaration. He just really stood out among the competitors."
Once all the students were done and the judges finished their deliberation on who the winner should be, they provided feedback on things that impressed them and areas they could improve upon. The judges also had the opportunity to speak to the students on a personal level after the contest was done.
"I was able to speak to the winner about things to expect when he hits the deck plates as a Sailor," said Rogers. "The event overall was as rewarding for me as it was for the kids because it was an opportunity for me to mentor them. Some children didn't have parents there to cheer them on, and it was an opportunity to be a good role model for them."
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