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'BARBIE' SPEECH WINS TOP PRIZE AT JUNIATA'S BAILEY ORATORICAL

(Posted February 28, 2001)

Sophomore Joshua Hicks, from Mount Union, received the first-place award in the annual Juniata College Bailey Oratorical by persuasively arguing that Barbie has made the most significant contribution for women in the 20th century.

Hicks, who received $500 for his award, and seven other contestants were asked to address the topic "What woman of the 20th century made the most significant contribuition to her era?" before a panel of judges and an attentive crowd, Tuesday, Feb. 27 in the ballroom of Ellis College Center on the Juniata campus.

Junior James Krug, from Ebensburg, and senior Brian Olsen, from Skowhegan, Maine, shared the second place prize, with each receiving $300. Parisha Shah, a senior from Ebensburg, placed third and received a $200 prize.

In his winning speech, Hicks, who has made dean's list every semester he has been at Juniata, compared the various ways the Mattel toy doll has influenced society. "Her professions range from astronaut to doctor, from soldier to president. They have a far-reaching effect in showing young girls that alternative occupations can be attained," he said. "Barbie appears to support herself, and she supports herself handsomely, with the dream house, horse stables, swimming pools, sports cars, a Winnebago and her own private jet."

Hicks also argued that Barbie dolls have a negative influence on women and minorities because of the doll's unrealistic shape, its primarily Caucasian ethnic image and its hard-to-attain standards of beauty. "Barbie's contributions may be controversial, but they are important, because she has embodied the toughest questions of the 20th century," Hicks concluded.

Hicks is focusing his studies in communication and history.

Olsen, who is studying zoology, focused his speech on Margaret Chase Smith of Skowhegan, Maine, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate and the first woman to serve in both the House and the Senate. Olsen finished as a first place co-winner in last year's Bailey competition.

Krug, who is studying environmental science and secondary education, focused his speech on the fictional woman, Rosie the Riveter, whose iconic image was instrumental in getting women to join the workforce during World War II.

Shah, who is studying molecular biology and health communication, spoke about Rosalind Franklin, a scientist who helped determine the structure of DNA.

The other contestants and the subject of their speeches are as follows:

Jaime Lewis, a senior from Hagerstown, Md., spoke on Jeanette Winterson, an English novelist and poet.

Matthew Chagnon, a junior from Raymond, N.H., spoke on Lady Liberty.

Erin Strine, a sophomore from York, spoke about Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer who refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955.

Judges for this year's competition were Dr. Christine Pascual, a 1992 Juniata College graduate and a family practice physician with Mainline Medical Associates in Altoona; Simon Corby, an account executive with Snavely Associates in State College and an exchange student at Juniata in 1994-1995; and Jessica Grimes, an English teacher at Northern Lebanon Middle/High School in Fredericksburg, Pa. and a 1997 graduate of Juniata College

The original Bailey Oratorical Award was established in 1915 by the Honorable Thomas F. Bailey, who served as president judge of Huntingdon County from 1916 to 1936. The oratorical contest has a long tradition at Juniata College, as students from all areas of study can compete for the monetary prize. An enhanced endowment contribution by Judge Bailey's son-in-law Colonel Sedgley Thornbury, has raised the prize money level to $1,000. In addition, the name of the winner will be permanently inscribed on an antique loving cup presented to the college by Colonel Thornbury's son, Thomas Bailey Thornbury.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.