WILMINGTON — “Public speaking” — two words that strike fear in some and absolute terror in others.
But for five students in Clinton County, these words presented an opportunity and a challenge to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight as students competed in the Clinton County Business Advisory Council (BAC) Speech Contest. They presented an oral interpretation of Elmer Williams’ patriotic speech titled, “I Speak for Youth.”
Standing a bit nervous, yet confident, before members of the BAC, area students recited from Williams’ speech in part saying: “My voice is a proud voice — proud, because my country is a free country and because my country defends the right of all men to choose between freedom and oppression. Proud, because my country offers more, with all her faults, than all other countries combined.”
Students went on to recite that “Mine is a prayerful voice. I pray for opportunity, not security. I pray for occupation, not Utopia. I want to be challenged. Not cared for. I want to learn and discover and climb and create. I want to build and work and earn my way with dignity because I am an American and I speak for America’s Youth.”
Kayde Russell of the Laurel Oaks Career Campus took first-place honors and was awarded $100. Other participants awarded $25 were Lindsay Shell, Blanchester High School; Pierce LeVangie, Clinton-Massie High School; Devin Henson, East Clinton High School; and Kya Resor, Wilmington High School.
Members of the BAC, which include various business and school leaders, judged the competition which was held at the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center. Monetary awards were donated by BAC members.
Following the speech competition, students and their guests attended a luncheon with members of the BAC.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.