(Posted February 20, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College students will argue forcefully on who would be their choice for a hypothetical Person of the Year Award at the annual John M. and Thomas F. Bailey Oratorical Contest, to be held at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 in the ballroom of Ellis Hall.

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: "Who Would be Your Choice for Person of the Year in 2005 and Why?"

A preliminary competition was held Feb. 11 to narrow the field of 32 student participants. Seven student speechmakers will take part in the final competition.

The seven finalists are sophomores Paul Rallis, of Alexandria, Pa. and Adam Stanley, of Huntingtown, Md.; juniors Lisa Detweiler, of Berwyn, Pa.; Jennifer Jones, of Shippensburg, Pa.; Magda Sarnowska, an international student from Mazowieckie, Poland; Josh Scacco, of Lebanon, Pa.; and senior Emily O'Donnell, of Royersford, Pa.

The judges for the preliminary competition were Erin Baney, a 2005 graduate who competed in the contest and placed third in 2004; Matthew Peters, a 2001 Juniata graduate and a teaching assistant in information technology at Penn State University; and Jennifer Najarian, a graduate student in media studies at Penn State University.

Judges for the final competition are:

Robert McDowell is a 1967 Juniata graduate and managing partner for CHM Partners International, an executive search and management consulting firm based in Chatham, N.J. McDowell helped found CHM after a 22-year career in human resource management with Coopers & Lybrand, a professional services company. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Juniata and a master's degree from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the board of trustees at Juniata and serves on the college's committee on education and student life.

Paul Vranesic is a 2004 Juniata graduate and works as legislative aide to Pennsylvania state representative Peter Zug (R-Lebanon). He started his career in politics as public relations coordinator and speechwriter in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Republican caucus. He also is a Cornwall Borough Councilman and the youngest elected official in Lebanon County. He serves on the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce and on the Lebanon County Young Republicans Club.

Stephanie Claar Krug is a 2003 Juniata graduate and an account executive for Ogden Directories in Altoona, Pa. At Juniata she performed with the Juniata Concert Choir, touring Germany, Trinidad and the southwestern United States. At Juniata she was in student clubs such as Students of Business, STAND, and the Juniata Active Volunteers Association.

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.