A.P. Gov. students dominated Project Soapbox competition


First place winner Flora Luo, second place winner Cody Quiroz, and student choice winner posing with their awards.

Ariel Kerschenheiter, Copy Editor

If you have any friends in Advanced Placement (A.P.) U.S. Government, you probably know that all the students were required to write a speech for Project Soapbox. Project Soapbox is an event put on by Mikva Challenge in order to get teenagers to speak out about issues they believe in. The competition starts off at the school level. All high schools and middle schools are allowed to participate, and judges from Mikva Challenge pick a few winners to compete in the next round. For RHS, the three winners were junior Flora Luo, junior Lily Kalcec, and senior Cody Quiroz. The trio then went to the Detroit Institute of Arts (D.I.A.) on Saturday, March 16, to perform their speeches on stage.

At the D.I.A., there were over 30 other students competing from all around Michigan. Their topics ranged from LGBT+ homelessness to police distrust. The students were split up into three rooms, where they gave their speeches to a small panel of judges. After the break for lunch, everyone joined together in one room, where one of the coordinators announced the top 11 competitors. These students then performed their speeches again, but this time they did it in front of all their competition, their family, their teachers, and all the judges from the three rooms. From this performance, the judges picked a first and second place, and the students picked a winner as well.

“I didn’t think I’d get second place so that was definitely quite a happy surprise and it was such a great experience, I encourage others to do it next year,” Quiroz said.

Soapbox was an amazing achievement for Roseville. Not only did Quiroz win second place, but all three of the competitors made it into top 11, with Luo winning first. Their speeches were influential on the judges, with Quiroz’s being about sexual abuse in sports, and Luo’s being about fast fashion. Matthew Bingham from L’Anse Creuse, however, won the student choice winner and will be traveling to Washington D.C. with his speech. This is no feat to forget about, though. All of the RHS competitors worked passionately, and it paid off.

“I had to rewrite my speech about two times. I worked on it a lot with the help of my friends. I had to focus on memorizing it and being emotive. By the time I gave it, I didn’t even have to think about the words,” Luo said.

Although Kalcec did not win an award, she did win an amazing opportunity. After her speech in the semi-final round, congressman Andy Levin approached her about a chance for Kalcec to work alongside him. He chose her because of her speech about college debt, and he wants younger perspectives on the issue.

“That was one of the greatest feelings ever. I ran up to my teachers, my friends, and my family after full pride,” Kalcec said.

The competition was not only exciting for the students, but also teachers Emily Collias and Jessica Hansen, who chaperoned the trip.

“It was thrilling! I think Mrs. Hansen and I jumped up and high fived each other. I was so incredibly proud to see their hard work pay off and be recognized! They did such an amazing job,” Collias said.