Bill Edmonds Retires as Lions Club Speaker Chairperson
Bill Edmonds of the Fillmore Lions Club
Bill Edmonds of the Fillmore Lions Club

Bill Edmonds has been a member of Lion’s Club International since he moved to Fillmore in 1984. He has been the chairperson of the Student Speaker Contest since 1987. In that time he has worked with 123 high school aged youth to help them prepare for the contest. Of the 33 winners, 3 have gone on to the region finals and one to the next level. He is very proud of all of the students who have participated stating, “It is a challenge for anyone to get up in front of a group of people, many of whom you don’t know, and speak in any circumstance. But to do it on a topic not of your choice and with the pressure of wanting to win, it is even harder. Those youth who have chosen to participate are hardworking, intelligent and thoughtful. Every participant brings a different perspective and, in the process, gains more confidence in research, writing and speaking skills.” In 1991 he was proud that his son Jon won the contest.

He is very thankful for the strong support from the staffs of Fillmore and Sierra High Schools as well as that of parents, other Lions and the community at large. The contest is judged by three community members who are versed in public speaking, public affairs and willing to interact with the youth to give suggestions and feedback about their speeches, including the late Harvey Guthrie who was in the Ventura Lions Club speakers contest when he was in high school.

Bill started his career in 1964 by teaching at Liceo Monagas in Venezuela while a member of the Peace Corps. He joined the staff of the Downey YMCA in 1969 and in 1975 started teaching in Lynwood, California. He and his family moved to Fillmore in 1984 where he taught at Sespe Elementary until his retirement in 1998. His wife, Lynn, and he have four children, nine grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. He has been active in the Lions, holding many offices and receiving several awards.

Bill has enjoyed being Speaker Contest Chair. There have been many interesting and relevant topics over the year. The topics are chosen by the Lion’s State Student Speaker Committee and include such themes as environment, freedom of the press, and immigration. Each topic asks the participant to think for themselves and come up with the problems and their suggestions for solutions.

The Lions Club Speaker Contest was started by Don Snyder in 1937 as a way to encourage youth to become knowledgeable about relevant topics, to state their point of view in solving the problem, and to be able to present these thoughts to the community. The first two levels are funded by the individual clubs and the remaining contests are funded by the Student Speaker Foundation. The California State winners receive up to $21,000 for their education.