(Posted February 22, 2006)

Read the winning speech

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Magda Sarnowska, a junior from Mazowieckie, Poland, received the first-place award last night in the annual Juniata College Bailey Oratorical Contest by convincing the audience that her choice for 2005 Person of the Year, Karol Wojtyla, or Pope John Paul II, was the right one.

Sarnowska, who received $1,000 for her award, and six other contestants were asked to address the topic "Who Would Be Your Choice for Person of the Year 2005 and Why?" before a panel of judges and an enthusiastic crowd, Tuesday, Feb. 21 in the ballroom of Ellis Hall on the Juniata campus.

Joshua Scacco, a junior from Lebanon, Pa., received the second-place prize, receiving $500. Lisa Detweiler, a junior from Berwyn, Pa., received the third-place prize, receiving $300.

In her winning speech, Sarnowska said, "Karol Wojtyla taught us that no matter what the circumstances are, there is always hope in humanity. When his father died in his arms (hiding in a safe place) from bombarded Krakow, when his Jewish girlfriend was deported to the concentration camp, when nearly 3 million Polish people, his friends, his relatives and his countrymen were dying in gas chambers or on the fields of war, Karol Wojtyla would not turn back in mourning, Karol Wojtyla would not despair, Karol Wojtyla would never, never lose his hope in humanity!"

She went on to say, "Karol Wojtyla taught us that we can manifest our hope through forgiveness; for to believe in the future, we must leave the past behind."

Sarnowska concluded her speech by saying, "Through forgiveness Karol Wojtyla became an extraordinary person. -- He must have known that as the bells rang for his funeral, his message rang for the world: that we are to build peace, love and unity for tomorrow because we all know too well war, hatred and the division of today. That through hope found in our own hearts, we are all to change the face of the Earth, this Earth!"

Judges for the event were:

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 seven finalists were sophomores Paul Rallis, of Alexandria, Pa. and Adam Stanley, of Huntingtown, Md.; junior Jennifer Jones, of Shippensburg, Pa. and senior Emily O'Donnell, of Royersford, Pa.
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. In addition, the name of the winner will be permanently inscribed on an antique loving cup.

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