NORWALK, CA – Norwalk High School junior Alyssa Bernal is a step closer to her dream of attending an Ivy League law school, earning $500 in scholarships after strong performances in a series of preliminary competitions leading up to the 80th annual Lions Club Student Speaker Contest.
Bernal, who wants to be the first female chief justice of the Supreme Court, will use the money to attend the Yale University Young Global Scholars pre-collegiate summer program in June.
“My approach to the student speaker contest is that everyone will learn something from me, whether they agree with my position or not,” Bernal said. “I firmly believe jurisprudence affects all aspects of a person’s life. In order to make the world a better place, law is the path I should enter.”
Bernal won three consecutive regional contests with her response to the question, “Is the right to privacy a threat to our national security.” Competitors delivered an argument under 10 minutes, without using clocks, watches or timers to keep track of time.
Using current events and historical precedents to inform her argument, Bernal argued that although Americans have a constitutional right to privacy, the security of the United States should always be the country’s main priority to better maintain a standard of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
“Alyssa is extremely motivated and determined, ready to take on the challenges of life and find solutions,” Norwalk High counselor Sonia Perez said. “Her interest in law is genuine, and shapes her civic-mindedness, the way she approaches her speeches, how she constructs her reasoning, even the cadences of her presentations.”
Bernal grew up on a military base and moved to Norwalk after her father retired from the Navy. She credits her parents for instilling the core beliefs of civic duty and responsibility into her education.
Bernal’s enthusiasm for the law motivated her to speak one on one with female judges on the Los Angeles municipal court. These discussions helped shape the content of her speeches and emphasized the importance of maintaining a high standard during public speaking engagements.
“Congratulations to Alyssa for being recognized for her talents and strong motivation and dedication to reach her dreams,” NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “I am thrilled that Alyssa has represented the District so successfully, and I look forward to where her drive will take her.”
051617_NLMUSD_SPEECH: Norwalk High School junior Alyssa Bernal (right) represented Norwalk-La Mirada Unified for the 80th Lions Club student speaker contest on April 8.