California State Scholarship Competition

This week-long competition is a dynamic educational program which provides scholarships in addition to leadership training. Participants gain a greater insight and understanding of the true meaning of community service and the value of serving others. The California State Scholarship Competition is open to ages 17-24.


2018 Jessie Brandenburg Memorial Scholarships

In keeping with the philosophies of Youth Focus Inc. to motivate youth accomplishment and to inspire personal achievement, the scholarship awards program offers more than $15,000 in scholarships across three age levels. Every candidate receives a scholarship award.

$5,000 – California State Ambassador
$1,000 – First Alternate
$650 – Second Alternate
$350 – Third Alternate
$250 – Fourth Alternate
$100 – State Finalists

$5,000 – Miss California State
$1,000 – First Alternate
$650 – Second Alternate
$350 – Third Alternate
$200 – Fourth Alternate
$100 – State Finalists

Special Awards
Most Inspirational Award – The Ralph W. Mayes Memorial Award (Trophy Award)
Talent Award Of Excellence – Olgalydia Soria Urbano Talent Award (Trophy Award)

Joe Escobar “Community Spirit” Award
In recognition of the invaluable contribution made by Joe Escobar and his family through their generous support of numerous community programs to enhance the quality of life for others, the state representative receiving the highest score in community service will receive the prestigious Joe Escobar “community spirit” award.


Scholarships are awarded in accordance with the rules and regulations of the scholarship awards program as administered by Youth Focus Inc., and the terms and conditions relating thereto.

Areas of Competition
  • 20%…..Community Service
  • 20%…..Personality Interview
  • 20%…..Community Advocacy Speech
  • 20%…..Extemporaneous Question
  • 20%…..Stage Arts/Speech Presentation
  • Academic Achievement (optional)

Judging of the foregoing categories is subject to and governed by the established policies and procedures of the California State Scholarship Competition. Within these guidelines, judging is solely at the discretion of the judges selected by the California State Scholarship Competition and Youth Focus Inc., and the decision of the judges is final in all cases.



a. Community Service Application (10%)

In this area of competition, the judges review the candidate’s Community Service Application, which includes information regarding Community Service performed. The judges weigh and evaluate the contribution made by the candidate in serving and assisting the community in which he or she lives. Great consideration is given as to what contribution has been made by the candidate in accepting social responsibility and commitment in developing a better community in which to live.

b. Community Service Presentation (10%)

In this component of the Community Service competition, the candidate will make a 3 to 5-minute presentation followed by a 5-minute question-answer session for a panel of judges. The presentation will provide details about a community service project the candidate would like to continue or implement during their year of service as a youth ambassador. The candidate may use notes or note cards, and may also provide handouts and/or use a visual display/poster board that is less than 36 inches high and 48 inches wide or is displayed in a digital format. During the presentation, the judges will weigh the potential contribution the candidate wishes to make by serving their community and evaluate their ability and desire to serve as a leader committed to improving their community. Overall presentation relative to their potential as a community ambassador or ambassadress and public relations specialist is also evaluated.


In this phase of competition, the judges meet with each of the representatives in a 15-minute formal interview. During this time, the judges have the opportunity to evaluate the representative’s performance in response to a variety of questions. The representative’s knowledge, perception, and mental alertness are evaluated. Articulation and self-expression are carefully reviewed. This area of competition provides an opportunity for the judges to focus upon the representative’s sense of values, attitudes, future goals and aspirations, and personality. Poise relative to the representative’s potential to assume a position as a public relations specialist will also be considered.


In the Community Advocacy Speech, the candidate presents an on-stage commentary up to 60 seconds describing a community advocacy program he or she would embrace during their year of service as a youth ambassador and how he or she would propose to successfully carry out this program during their term of office. During the presentation, the judges evaluate the candidate’s articulation, manner of presentation, grammar, confidence, mental alertness and competence relative to the subject matter. Overall appearance relative to their potential as a community ambassador or ambassadress and public relations specialist is again evaluated. Time limit: 60 seconds. A 5-second grace period is allowed. A 50% penalty will be imposed on the final score for this phase upon exceeding the time limit.


In the Extemporaneous Question competition, the representative is asked up to two (2) questions on stage relating to areas of interest from their official application. This competition provides the judges the opportunity to evaluate the representative’s ability to speak extemporaneously before a group and the effectiveness of their communication skills. Consideration is given to the creativity and content of the response with regard to the pressures and demands of spontaneity in the public forum. Overall effectiveness relative to the representative’s potential as a community ambassador or ambassadress and public relations specialist is also evaluated. There is no time limit.


Candidates have the choice in this phase of competition of presenting either a speech presentation or a per-forming arts skill, which has been mastered through dedicated study. Both types of presentations will be judged equally. Time limit: Not less than 60 seconds or more than 3 minutes in length. A 15-second grace period is allowed. A 50% penalty will be imposed on the final score for this phase upon exceeding the time limit.

a. Criteria for Speech Presentations

The purpose of the speech presentation is to evaluate each candidate’s skills and qualities as a public relations specialist who will be addressing community groups in public speaking activities. The candidate is to prepare a speech on one of the following topics: The applicable fair, festival, city, county or youth organization/program he or she represents; the career he or she wishes to pursue; a community service project(s) he or she has been involved with; a leadership project or citizenship activity; another subject as approved by the Entrants Director of the competition. The candidate is judged on language, grammar, delivery, power of expression, dynamics and general effectiveness. Candidates are allowed to use note cards for the delivery of the speech.

b. Criteria for Performing Arts Presentations

In selecting a Performing Arts Presentation, the candidate displays an on-stage, solo, live talent or skill mastered through dedicated study. In this phase of competition, the judges consider degree of difficulty and technical ability. Types of presentations include, but are not limited to: dancing, vocal performance (singing), instrumental performance (piano, guitar, flute, etc.) dramatic or comedic reading, art demonstration/presentation, gymnastics or cheer routine, etc.


Candidates will have the opportunity to submit their transcripts if they are interested in being considered for the Academic Achievement scholarship. The candidate’s GPA and academic courses are closely examined and evaluated by a panel of academic judges.

Wardrobe Guidelines

Cal State week is an opportunity for you to dress for success! Please follow these guidelines to help you plan what to wear. Please, don’t wear jeans or flip flops during rehearsal/workshops or in the theater, and be sure that your clothes fit well.

You are not expected to purchase expensive clothing to participate in the competition. We would be happy to help you find appropriate, affordable outfits. There are also opportunities to borrow items from the Youth Focus closet. Please feel free to give us a call or send an email if you have any questions about the wardrobe requirements, or finding/borrowing an outfit. We would be very happy to help you!


  Rehearsal Clothes
  • Casual, lightweight clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • No jeans or flip-flops
  • Rehearsal/workshops
  • Free time
  Business Suit(s)
  • Suit or dress (ladies)
  • Suit with jacket and tie (gentlemen)
  • Appropriate for a professional interview
  • Orientation
  • Fellowship
  • Tribute Dinner
  • Scholarship Luncheon
  • Personality Interview
  • Knee length party-dress (ladies)
  • Slacks and collared dress shirt (gentlemen)
  • Production Number
  • Community Advocacy Speech
  Stage Arts Costume
  • Appropriate costume for your stage arts or speech presentation
  • Stage Arts
  • Floor length dress (ladies)
  • Suit with jacket and tie or tuxedo (gentlemen)
  • Extemporaneous Question
  • Competition Awards