Alisal High School student earns finalist spot in national speech competition

Harry Ordiano, a rising senior at Alisal High School, was chosen as a finalist in the national Mikva Soapbox Speech Competition out of thousands of applicants across the country. He’s the first in the area to earn this distinction.Mikva calls on students to find their voice on issues that matter most to them and their communities. Harry chose to do his speech on gang violence, posing the solution: recreational centers.”Although the city of Salinas is praised for being the salad bowl of the world, it’s always received a bad connotation for being a place with heavy crime. I want this negative stigma of my hometown to change. Imagine a world where teenagers could walk down the street without running into the wrong group of people; this is what I want for my city,” Harry said in his speech.Mikva says their goal is to give the youth a platform to advocate on issues and help prompt them to promote change.”If we are going to have a healthy, vibrant, diverse, and inclusive democracy, we need to invite all voices into that process. And you know voting may start at 18, but you can’t turn a switch on for a young person and say now is the time that we care about what you have to say and what you think and what you want to do. It has to be a real process about growing voters,” said Robyn Lingo, chief of strategy and impact, Mikva Challenge.Diana Huerta, Harry’s AVID teacher, saya that Harry went above and beyond outside of his AP courses, clubs, and sports to perfect his speech.”I’m just really proud of the fact that he made it as far as he did. And that he really represented our school and our community in a positive way. For me, that is really what he wants to do is have people see good stuff that’s happening at Alisal, on the east side, in Salinas. And he did that. He was that,” Huerta said.In his speech, Harry called on city leaders like Councilmember Tony Barrera to allocate more funds toward community development. Barrera says it’s a collaborative effort, and we need more Harry’s in the community.”I think Harry brought up some great valuable points. What I appreciate is not only is he talking about it, but he’s getting involved. And there’s a lot of Harrys in our community that has been participating in community meetings. One of the things I think as a city council has already heard the needs and wants of the community. So what Harry is talking about this time around, we are going to be focusing on prevention and intervention. And we’re talking about putting millions of dollars towards that,” Barrera said.Harry says his generation is the future, and today’s adults must work with the youth as they share the same end goal.”I’ve grown up here on the East side of Salinas my entire life. I’ve grown to love the people here. I’ve grown to love the community here. I want others to share the love of the city as well,” Harry said.

Harry Ordiano, a rising senior at Alisal High School, was chosen as a finalist in the national Mikva Soapbox Speech Competition out of thousands of applicants across the country. He’s the first in the area to earn this distinction.

Mikva calls on students to find their voice on issues that matter most to them and their communities. Harry chose to do his speech on gang violence, posing the solution: recreational centers.

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“Although the city of Salinas is praised for being the salad bowl of the world, it’s always received a bad connotation for being a place with heavy crime. I want this negative stigma of my hometown to change. Imagine a world where teenagers could walk down the street without running into the wrong group of people; this is what I want for my city,” Harry said in his speech.

Mikva says their goal is to give the youth a platform to advocate on issues and help prompt them to promote change.

“If we are going to have a healthy, vibrant, diverse, and inclusive democracy, we need to invite all voices into that process. And you know voting may start at 18, but you can’t turn a switch on for a young person and say now is the time that we care about what you have to say and what you think and what you want to do. It has to be a real process about growing voters,” said Robyn Lingo, chief of strategy and impact, Mikva Challenge.

Diana Huerta, Harry’s AVID teacher, saya that Harry went above and beyond outside of his AP courses, clubs, and sports to perfect his speech.

“I’m just really proud of the fact that he made it as far as he did. And that he really represented our school and our community in a positive way. For me, that is really what he wants to do is have people see good stuff that’s happening at Alisal, on the east side, in Salinas. And he did that. He was that,” Huerta said.

In his speech, Harry called on city leaders like Councilmember Tony Barrera to allocate more funds toward community development. Barrera says it’s a collaborative effort, and we need more Harry’s in the community.

“I think Harry brought up some great valuable points. What I appreciate is not only is he talking about it, but he’s getting involved. And there’s a lot of Harrys in our community that has been participating in community meetings. One of the things I think as a city council has already heard the needs and wants of the community. So what Harry is talking about this time around, we are going to be focusing on prevention and intervention. And we’re talking about putting millions of dollars towards that,” Barrera said.

Harry says his generation is the future, and today’s adults must work with the youth as they share the same end goal.

“I’ve grown up here on the East side of Salinas my entire life. I’ve grown to love the people here. I’ve grown to love the community here. I want others to share the love of the city as well,” Harry said.

Contributed by local news sources

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