The school has announced the topic of the Edward Everett Prize in Oratory: “National Security and Privacy: Principles for Achieving a Just Balance.”
The 18th annual competition, hosted by the Provost’s Office and the department of rhetoric and public address, is open to all undergraduate students. The first place prize is $3,000, second place is $2,000, and third place is $1,000.
“It’s really established to help move forward our mission,” tournament director and chairwoman of the rhetoric and public address department Kirstin Kiledal said. “Our students undertake some of the doing to put forth their ideas.”
Kiledal said the competition arises out of the provost’s office because participation is open to the college’s entire student body. Judges have ranged in the past from speech coaches and community members in the first round, to College President Larry Arnn and Don Tocco, a supporter of the college, in the last round.
Junior Ryan Kelly Murphy won the oratory last year and took second place the year before when she was a freshman. She said she is surprised more students have gotten involved in the program in the past.
“I think that public speaking is a lost art; not a lot of people do it or try it,” Murphy said. “When we’re reading the great books, so many of them are speeches, and that’s so integral to western civilization. It’s a culmination of the skills, virtues, history, and politics we’re learning at Hillsdale, we can put into practice.”
Junior Shiloh Carozza will be competing in this year’s debate and agreed it offers a new way to apply her education.
“You get to write essays all the time for classes, but how often do you get to get up there and express what you think besides with ink and paper?” she said.
Carozza signed up for the first time for this year’s debate. She said the topic is one that not enough people in government are talking about.
“I think it’s pertinent because we have questions going around because of terrorism,” she said. “And I definitely think it’s a good question.”
She said about her stance on the topic, “I think the Constitution has to be a big part of it. You have to look to the rules of the game.”
The deadline for application is Friday, Feb. 9. The preliminary competition takes place Feb. 22, and the final round is on March 20 at 11 a.m.