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THS' Jonas Trevethan speaks his mind
Jonas Trevethan poses with his fellow awardees at the district level speech contest sponsored the Rotary District 5220. From left to right are: Rotary President Elect of Youth Services James Dempsey, Jonas Trevethan of Turlock High School, who took second place, Marian Pagaduan of Oakdale High School, who took first place, Riley Noland of Modesto High School, who took third place, and Rotary District Governor Marvin Williamson. - photo by Photo Contributed

When Turlock High School oratory standout Jonas Trevethan first enrolled in a speech course, he was not entirely sure what he was getting into.

"To be honest, at first I thought it was like a speech therapy class," said Trevethan with a smile as he reflects on the genesis of what would be a pillar of his four years in high school. 

Trevethan enrolled in the Speech course after a friend of his older brother encouraged him to and as a self proclaimed outgoing individual, Trevethan immediately showed promise by placing in several competitions. Between the speech courses, the Speech Club as well as four years of Mock Trial, where high school students compete against other schools in a simulated court case, Trevethan's natural aptitude for competing in speech turned into a well honed skill.

"I think what made me stay with speech all four years was that I got better each year. That has probably been my greatest achievement, and motivation for myself, is that there hasn't been a level at which I've stopped," said Trevethan.

Competing in speech requires Trevethan to do more than speak articulately, as he must stay on top of current events and often prepare materials with short notice, such as in extemporaneous speech which is a limited research event, based on research and analysis. Trevethan's ability to rise to the occasion and excel has served him well and advanced him in his speech career from novice competitions to invite only events. He also recently took second place at the District Level Rotary Speech Competition through Rotary District 5220, third place at the Extemporaneous Speech State Competition and second place in Public Forum Debate at State with his speech partner Chad Burgess. This summer he will also be competing at the national level.

"A lot of my preparation is collecting news articles and staying on top of current events, especially for nationals. It can be hard to stay on top of it, staying involved and intrigued with politics, but things like my government class and Mock Trial have helped," said Trevethan.

After nationals this summer, Trevethan intends to enroll at Merced Junior College and then transfer to a University of California school. While he is not sure if he will continue to pursue speech in college, he intends to help coach the high school team and even work for a company that produces speech materials.

"I definitely plan to stay involved in some way," said Trevethan.