The Lompoc-Vandenberg Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is inviting all local current high school students, boys and girls, to participate in this year’s AAUW Speech Trek Contest, in which students can win scholarships.

For the competition, students need to prepare and present a five- to six-minute speech responding to the topic of “How can we stand up to sexism?” The students are asked to look at what they, as individuals, and what organizations like AAUW can do to break down stereotypes and biases in school, in the military, at work and in communities.

The deadline to sign up to participate is Dec. 8. There will be AAUW members, local teachers and volunteers who will be available to mentor students as they prepare their speeches and practice presentations.

The Speech Trek Contest will be held at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Lompoc City Council Chambers at City Hall. The competing students will be videoed and the local first-place winner’s presentation will be sent, via YouTube, to AAUW state judges. From the videos entered into the state competition, two contestants will be named as honorable mentions and receive a $250 scholarship for fourth place and a $150 scholarship for fifth place.

The top three state finishers will be invited to compete for cash prizes at the AAUW California State Convention and annual meeting on April 28. The first-place winner at that competition will receive $1,500, second place will take $1,000 and third place will net $500. The top three finalists will also have their travel expenses, along with those of a chaperone, reimbursed by the AAUW.

Students interested in participating can sign up or get more information by contacting Pam Buchanan at or at 588-2916.

This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at