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Westport SHS Senior Argues, Wins $500

Being a great communicator certainly has its rewards. Just ask Staples senior Zack Slater, who won $500 for his in-depth speech on Wednesday afternoon at the Rotary International Four-Way Speech Competition.

Using the Rotary four-way test, Slater determined that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy must be banned because, as he said, it is not the truth, is not fair to all concerned, does not build goodwill and better friendships, and is not beneficial to all. These are the four points of the Rotary test, which was adopted in 1932.

"Some of our military and political leaders claim that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' creates cohesion within the troops," Slater said. "They claim that sexual orientation ambiguity creates no distractions while fighting for our country. And they claim that homosexuals have no place in the Army."

But Slater argued those claims are unfounded and used a recently released survey from the Pentagon as proof. The survey, he said, showed that 70 percent of military personnel are comfortable with gay, lesbian and bisexual peers. He also said 70 percent of Americans feel gays should be allowed, openly, to serve in the military.

Slater, captain of the swimming and diving team at Staples, will represent Westport in the regional competition at Fairfield University in January. He was one of three students who participated in Wednesday's competition.

Petey Menz, a senior and an executive editor for Inklings, the school's newspaper, won the $400 second place prize.

In his speech, Menz used the Rotary four-way test to examine the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he argued fails all points of the test.

Senior Jeremy Rubel, the third-place winner, used the four-way test to examine God. Rubel argued that, while he can't prove God doesn't exist, he said others can't prove that He does. For his speech, Rubel won $300.

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