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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.