For Jessi Kirchner, a junior at Arlington High, public speaking pays off.
She took away a first place last weekend in a Lions Club speech contest at a district competition among four students in Dedham.
For her speech titled "What is the power of 'Just One'?" she received $1,000, a prize she says is going to a college fund.
Lauren Schultz, a teacher of English at AHS, wrote in an email Feb. 25: "She practiced hard, her speech was well written ... but her delivery this Saturday really took the cake.
"She truly had the entire audience enthralled and even motivated!
"To top it off, she was given a solid cash prize for the win."
The contest took place at the Dedham Hilton at the annual District 33K Lions conference. The speeches were delivered in front of about 100 people, which included Lions from the district as well as family, friends and community members.
Of the other three contestants, two are seniors and one is a sophomore.
Kirchner moves on to the state level of the competition in April, where she has the chance to win a sizable scholarship.
This story was published Monday, Feb. 25, 2013.