When District 4 was split into live sub-districts in 1937. Fred Smith (later International President) became the first District Governor of District 4-C. His district ran from Stockton down to the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and included the coast area from Paso Robles through Oxnard. We realized that the clubs in his new district had nothing more in common than they did with the clubs in San Francisco or San Diego. He expressed this thought to the other officers in his district and asked for suggestions. One of' his Deputy District Governors, Frank Coiston, Superintendent of Schools in Oxnard, suggested a Student Speakers Contest for high school students in the district. The idea was approved as something that would give all the clubs in the district something in common and hope hopefully would bring them closer together as a unit. From what we are told, the contest was a great success.
The following year James Hodges, District Governor from Covina, proposed to the Council of' Governors that Fred's speech contest become a project for all of District 4. The proposal was adopted and the contest has been one of our district's principal projects ever since. During the past sixty years, many groups and clubs have followed our lead by engaging in Joint service activities. It is one of the stars in our MD-4 crown.
The Student Speakers Foundation was organized in 1961. It's father is Don Snyder, District Governor of' 4-A3, 1958-59.He asked PIP Fred Smith and then International Director Dwight Stanford to join him as the organizers and first directors of the Foundation. Don did all the work getting IRS and California taxing authorities approval, lie is now a lifetime. Honorary Director of the Foundation, as is Dwight Stanford.
The Foundation's first cash came from the profits of' the Lions Goods Store at the next MD-4 convention. District Governor Al Mendel of Apple Valley. 1961-62, ran the store and suggested the gift. The first few' years of the Foundation were a bit thorny. It was hard for the organization to collect money when it had very little prestige. Gradually the situation changed and the foundation began to supplement the prizes which heretofore had been paid for entirely out of the MD-4 budget. Foundation funds came entirely from voluntary donations and income from the accumulated assets.
Past International President Fred Smith was the first president of the Foundation, followed by Past International Directors Dwight Stanford and Robert F. Anderson. Past District Governors Seeley J. Kondris and PDG George "Jake" Jacobssen served between 1994 and 2002. PDG Gordon Wellman served between 2202 and 2005.