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Oratorical Victory: Liem Wins Annual Contest

(Posted March 19, 2013)

Reinaldo Liem, winner of the Bailey Oratorical Contest

The annual Bailey Oratorical contest took place on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The topic was advice to Juniata's president-elect James Troha. Junior Reinaldo Liem, an international student from Indonesia, took home the $1000 prize for his speech advising that Dr. Troha require students to learn a second language. Runners up were junior Seth Ruggiero, and senior Rob Strauss.

Liem looks back on the hard work involved in writing an award-winning speech in a second language.

Why did you choose to speak about requiring a second language?

When I came to the United States, I felt that people in the U.S. don't pay attention to second languages. Based on my experience studying in other countries such as Singapore - all of the people there speak two languages, at least - but in the U.S. they only speak one language. So I feel that there's a huge gap between the U.S. and other countries. I think all of us should study a second language while we're in college.

What preparation did you put into your Bailey speech?

During the preliminary round, I took a lot of time to write my speech. I didn't sleep. The night before the preliminary I tried to improve the grammar, because English is my second language. After I was selected for the final round, I met with the professors (of communication) as many times as I could, because I felt that their feedback would be really important. At the end of the week I decided to ask a few of my friends to give me feedback, and that was really constructive for my speech.

What would you say was the best part of participating in the Bailey? The hardest part?

The first time I watched the Bailey was last year, and I dreamt that I could speak my ideas in front of hundreds of people. I decided to take public speaking with Dr. Fala. I decided to go ahead and try. It's really my dream to be able to speak in front of a lot of people. Quite a lot of professors told me that I have a heavy accent, and that I had to slow down when I'm speaking, but the time limit was eight minutes. So I had to be concise in my speech, but I had to make sure my message got across to my audience.

What was your reaction to hearing your name called as the winner?

To be honest, I was surprised. It was really unbelievable, because I thought that all the other contestants gave really good speeches. For example, Seth (Ruggiero, first runner-up) his speech was really good, and really personal. I loved his speech, and I loved all the other speeches. I felt that I had made my parents proud, and that I had made my friends proud, because they had helped me.

Do you have any advice for future Bailey participants?

Yes; don't be afraid to share your ideas, because people will listen to your ideas. If you take the opportunity, I'm sure that you'll be successful. Work hard on your speech.

Kelsey Molseed, '14
Juniata Online Reporter

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