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Sophomore Taryn Murphy took first at Hillsdale College’s 19th annual Edward Everett Prize in Oratory speech com­pe­tition, which focused on immi­gration policy. From left: freshman Molly Buccola, senior Rachael Menosky, junior Nathan Grime, sophomore Anna Katherine Daley, and sophomore Taryn Murphy. Ryan Kelly Murphy | Courtesy

Sophomore Taryn Murphy took first place at Hillsdale College’s 19th annual Edward Everett Prize in Oratory speech com­pe­tition on Tuesday, winning $3,000 for her 10-minute speech on the topic of “Immi­gration and the Nation State: The Rights and Rules of Borders.”

“I was very honored, and I felt very grateful to have won, espe­cially because the other speakers were so tal­ented. I didn’t expect any­thing walking into the awards cer­emony,” Murphy said.

The com­pe­tition, hosted by the provost’s office and the department of rhetoric and public address, is named after Edward Everett, an American politician and orator who gave an hours-long keynote speech before Abraham Lincoln’s Get­tysburg Address and who donated his library to the college.

Sophomore Anna Katherine Daley and junior Nathan Grime took second and third place, respec­tively. Selected as finalists from about a dozen semi­fi­nalist speakers earlier in the month, two other stu­dents — senior Rachael Menosky and freshman Molly Buccola — also com­peted on Tuesday. All the speakers were given the same prompt.

Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn, phil­an­thropist and entre­preneur Don Tocco, and Assistant Dean of Men Jeffrey Rogers judged the event. Cri­teria included logical flow, time man­agement, mem­o­rization, per­sua­siveness, and recog­nition of audience, said Pro­fessor of Rhetoric and Public Address Kirstin Kiledal.

“The judges thought that they were par­tic­u­larly well orga­nized this year and that they sounded more ora­torical this year than other years,” Kiledal said. She added that Murphy’s speech was par­tic­u­larly per­suasive.

“She was just fluid and had a charming presence that the judges all felt really made her speech engaging. But then it was true for all of the speakers — they really all had their per­son­ality in their speeches,” Kiledal said.

Murphy said she probably spent 15 to 20 hours crafting her speech and checked several books out of the library to research the topic.

“I had never artic­u­lated my own stance on immi­gration, and writing the speech helped me to do that,” she said. “Now I feel much better equipped to express the beliefs that I had before.”

Daley said she was delighted to take second place and knew she would regret it if she didn’t take the oppor­tunity.

“At first I was con­cerned about writing a speech about immi­gration, because it’s not a topic I feel like I’m an expert on, but I ended up being able to write a speech that I was pas­sionate about, and I truly enjoyed giving it,” she said in a message.

Murphy said she is grateful for the prize and learned a lot from the expe­rience.

“I’m very grateful for the college putting the com­pe­tition on, and the com­pen­sation was just an added bonus to that,” Murphy said. “The expe­rience was worth it and the prize was an addi­tional blessing.”