The Clinton County Business Advisory Council (BAC) Nov. 17 meeting included four students from Clinton County schools participated in the BAC Speech Contest, reciting a patriotic speech written by Elmer Williams, entitled “I Speak for Youth.”
Ricky Davis from Blanchester Local Schools won first place and was awarded a $100 prize.
Participants, receiving a runner-up prize of $25 were Andrew Garrett, Clinton-Massie High School; Cameron Fithen, Laurel Oaks; and Samantha Burns, Wilmington High School.
BAC members, who include various business and school leaders as well as Elmer Williams, judged the competition which was held at the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center.
Monetary prizes were donated by BAC members.
Below is the speech:
I SPEAK FOR YOUTH
By Elmer A. Williams
I am an American … and I speak for America’s youth. Let my voice become an echo, from the teeming ghettos of Harlem to the Nob Hill section of San Francisco … from the cold icy slopes of Maine to the hot dry sands of Arizona … from the waving fields of Kansas to the smoky skylines of Pittsburgh and Chicago … from the inky-black waters of the Okefenokee to the streaked blue domes of the Sawtooth … or a waning pink sunset on Mt. Rainier, for my voice is the voice of America’s youth … black … white … red … or yellow … but always American.
My voice is the thunder of a thousand yesterdays …fading into the whispering promises of an endless tomorrow. Mine is the voice of a barefoot boy wading a muddy stream … of high school graduates and dropouts … and caddies … and homecoming queens. In my voice is the gayety of Christmas and high school proms … the sadness of falling leaves and half-raised flags … the hope of hungry children … the happiness of falling snowflakes … and the comfort of old brick streets and worn-out shoes.
You’ll find in my voice, the substance of things hoped for; faith … and all the creative powers of imagination … sorrow is there … and concern, for things I cannot change … I am a carrier of love and sympathy.
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 … Her virtues beam forth as majestic as the statue of liberty and the words of Emma Lazurus engraved at her feet … Proud, yes doubly proud, as my heart beat quickens to the immortal cries of Patrick Henry … or to the dying lips of John Adams, fighting for free speech in the Hall of Congress … and yet, the deeds of these and a thousand more heroic ancestors, … give me a humble voice … a voice so faint in such a great clamor … so small in such great space … so brief in measured time.
Mine is a prayerful voice … my prayer, a prayer of thanks … for parental guidance and loving care … for shelter and food and things I’ve shared … for the purpose God gives to every life … and for the manifestations of his very Being. I pray for kindness and understanding … I pray for the right to dream … and the right to express myself in the deepest passion of human nature … that of doing as I please, within the bounds of morality and godliness … 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.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, on behalf of the Southern Ohio ESC.