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Ryan Kelly Murphy won the Everett Oratory Com­pe­tition on Tuesday. Matthew Kendrick | Col­legian

Several Hillsdale College stu­dents will be com­peting in this year’s Everett Oratory Contest for the chance at winning a $3,000 prize. They will be pre­senting speeches on the topic of “National Security and Privacy: Prin­ciples for Achieving a Just Balance.” Each student will be deliv­ering a speech with their own approach to this issue.

The com­petitors are junior Ellen Friesen, senior Daniel Cody, freshman Taryn Murphy, junior Shiloh Carozza, and senior Jacob Weaver. They will be deliv­ering their speeches on March 20 at 11 a.m. at an event open to campus. The panel of judges will be led by Pres­ident Larry Arnn and will include guests invited by the rhetoric department. Every year, stu­dents must prepare a speech within the con­fines of a certain topic.

Planning for the contest is a con­tinual respon­si­bility, according to Rhetoric and Public Address Department Chairman Kirstin Kiledal. Prepa­ration for next year begins as soon as the com­pe­tition ends, she said, in order to have pos­sible topics to choose from in the fall semester.

“Once that topic is released, then we enter the appli­cation period,” she said. “This year we had 21 stu­dents apply, and most of them kept that appli­cation through and com­peted in the pre­lim­inary round.

The number of pre­lim­intary rounds deter­mines deter­mines the number of actual rounds, and whether there is a semi-final round.

“This year, we were beneath that breaking point, so we did not have to have a semi-final round,” Kiledal said.

Kiledal said the number of com­petitors deter­mines how many pre­lim­inary rounds occur. There were not enough com­petitors this year, so there will be no semi-final round. The final stage of the com­pe­tition is usually planned to coincide with CCA IV every spring semester. This allows the stu­dents to showcase their talent to vis­itors, she said.

“It also means that the stu­dents have a good audience for their mes­sages,” she said.

As a freshman, this is Murphy’s first year par­tic­i­pating in the Everett Contest. But she’s no stranger to giving speeches. She decided to compete in the Everett because of a passion for public speaking she gained from six years of debate and speech com­pe­ti­tions in middle school and high school, she said in an email.

“The Everett contest seemed like a won­derful oppor­tunity to par­tic­ipate in an activity I love while also speaking about a per­tinent issue,” she said.

Murphy is focusing on the Founders’ views of the security-privacy debate. She’s taking the stance that privacy is more effective at pro­tecting the nation than “the government’s sweeping national security policies.”

She has used various tech­niques to practice her mem­o­rization and delivery of the speech.

“I mem­orize best when I type or write some­thing out repeatedly, which helps to form a mental image of what I’m going to be saying,” she said. “Once I’ve retyped my speech a few times, I’ll begin trying to recite and mem­orize the speech in reverse order. It’s a tech­nique I learned in high school, which encourages a speaker to mem­orize the last para­graph first, then the second to last para­graph, etc. This helps a speaker to con­fi­dently know what he or she is moving towards in the speech.”

This is Weaver’s first time com­peting in the contest. He decided to apply after taking a speech class with Assistant Pro­fessor of Speech Matthew Doggett.

“He encouraged me to pursue the Everett this year,” Weaver said. “With that encour­agement, I decided to try it out.”

Weaver said his speech will be focusing on the Fourth Amendment and its ability to create a balance between security and privacy. He and his housemate,  senior Daniel Cody, have prac­ticed their speeches together. But Weaver said he is trying to make sure his speech conveys his authentic beliefs.

“I don’t want it to sound like a rehearsed speech that I’ve given a million times,” he said. “I want it to sound, in a way, like a con­ver­sation.”

Weaver encouraged more stu­dents to get involved with the Everett Contest.

“You get practice and a shot at some good money,” he said.

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Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan is a junior from northern Michigan, studying English and journalism. He is this year's News Editor at the Collegian, as well as a student writer with the marketing department. Last summer, he interned with the editorial and news sections of the Detroit News. You can find him reading good poetry and trying desperately to be better at appreciating art. Email: nryan1@hillsdale.edu | Twitter: @NolanRyan76