Answering the question “How to be a good neighbor in a divided world,” junior Taryn Murphy won the 20th annual Everett Oratory Competition for the second year in a row on Tuesday afternoon.
Five finalists (seniors Michelle Reid and Molly Buccola, juniors Connor Daniels and Taryn Murphy, and freshman Ethan Tong) competed in Plaster Auditorium before three judges (Jana Daley, Don Tocco, and Larry Arnn) and an audience of CCA attendees, students, and faculty. Reid took second and Daniels third, respectively.
Kirsten Kiledal, Rhetoric and Public Address Department Chairman, who is in charge of coordinating the competition said that she thought the competition went very well.
“We didn’t have any no shows for the preliminary competition which is truly a first in 20 years,” Kiledal said. “We had strong speeches. Students made very few changes, and there was nothing that couldn’t be allowed into the competition.”
Reid said she was impressed by the quality of the competition.
“I heard a lot of people in the semi-final rounds who I was sure would be finalists,” Reid said.
Murphy has competed in the Everett for the past three years.
“I did speech and debate for six years in middle school and high school,” Murphy said. “That really ignited my hunger and passion for public speaking. Just to speak and participate in this event for the college is such a joy because I get to do the thing I love the most.”
Murphy’s winning oration focused on being a good neighbor through citizenship and politics.
“So what enabled our Forefathers to build an entire nation despite their clear differences? The answer is that our Founders looked to their nation as their source of unity, not their political identities. This fact is manifest in the Constitution, which makes clear that the Founders gathered “in order to form a more perfect union,” Murphy said in her speech.
Kiledal said that responses to the topic were a bit different than she and the topic selection committee expected.
“We found in a lot of ways that the students coalesced around certain archetypes and certain topical stories or sources that they went to. They were more limited than we expected them to be. Some of their responses were a little more localized than we thought they may be.”
Murphy said that she really enjoyed listening to the other contestants.
“Everyone did a phenomenal job,’’ Murphy said. “I learned so much listening to everyone else. That’s what I’ll keep with me much longer than the title.”