(Posted February 8, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College students will take on the topic of whether traditions in our culture affect the development of American culture at the annual John M. and Thomas F. Bailey Oratorical Contest, to be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10 in the ballroom of Ellis College Center.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

The contest asks students to write and deliver a persuasive speech addressing the topic: "Do Traditions Limit or Liberate Us?"

A preliminary competition was held Jan. 29 to narrow the field of 30 student participants. Seven student orators will take part in the final competition.

The seven finalists are juniors Zineb Gormat, an international student from Morocco; and James Nelson, of Lanse, Pa.; seniors Paul Blore, of Lancaster, Pa.; Angela Condor, of Loretto, Pa.; Alexis Donkin, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; Eli Finberg, of Margaretville, N.Y.; and Alcione Frederick, of Huntingdon, Pa.

The judges for the preliminary competition were Katie Padamonsky, a 1997 graduate a Juniata enrollment counselor; Matthew Peters, a 2001 Juniata graduate and a teaching assistant in information technology at Penn State University; and Andrea Mundis, a 2003 graduate and a graduate student at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

Judges for the final competition are:
Tracey DeBlase Huston is a 1985 Juniata graduate and executive director of outreach marketing and communications at Penn State University. Before becoming executive director, she served as director of communications for Penn State Outreach. From 1985 to 1995 she worked at Juniata College as assistant director of public relations and director of sports information. She earned a master's degree in education from Penn State.

Neill Johnson is research associate and manager of professional enrichment at the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence at Penn State. He also teaches undergraduate literature courses and composition courses in the Department of English.

William White is assistant professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Altoona. He has taught public speaking at the Altoona campus since 2002 and also teaches mass media-related courses for the university's communication program. He earned a doctorate in communication from Rutgers University in 2001.

The prize money for the Bailey Oratorical Contest totals $1,800. The first-place winner receives $1,000, second place receives $500, and third place receives $300.

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 April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.