(Posted February 21, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Seven verbally adept Juniata College students will compete for major monetary prizes as they try to persuade judges that their choice for "Person of the Year" is the right one at the annual John M. and Thomas F. Bailey Oratorical Contest, to be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

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

The contest this year takes inspiration from Time magazine's Person of the Year issue, and asks students to write and deliver a persuasive speech addressing the topic: "Who would be your choice for person of the year in 2010 and why?"

A preliminary competition was held Saturday, Feb. 19 to narrow the field of approximately 40 student participants. Seven student speechmakers will take part in the final competition.

The seven finalists are seniors Katrina Shughrue, of New Freedom, Pa.; Janelle Smith, of Huntingdon, Pa.; juniors Maeve Neiswanger, of South Windsor, Conn., Ellen Santa Maria, of Wallingford, Pa.; sophomores Bryan Aungst, of Millerstown, Pa.; Jewel Daniels, of Bloomfield, N.J.; and James Taylor, of Huntingdon, Pa.
The judges for the preliminary competition were Colleen Hughes, a 2006 Juniata graduate and an administrative assistant at Development Dimensions International in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Jennifer Najarian, a graduate student in education at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.; and Daniel Tamul, a graduate student in mass communication at Penn State University.

Judges for the final competition are:

Betty Ann Cherry, professor emeritus of history at Juniata. Cherry stays active at the Stone Church of the Brethren and also participates on the district and national level in ministry education. Cherry received from Juniata the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service in 1990 and received the Beachley Distinguished Professor Award in 1998. She started her academic career at Juniata in 1962 as an instructor. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1965, to associate professor in 1975, and to full professor in 1998.

Robin Podberesky, of Philadelphia, Pa., is a graduate of Temple University and owns The Outsource Video Group, a video company specializing in wedding and other event videos. She is currently enrolled in graduate classes in instructional media at West Chester University.

Andrew Krugh, of Camp Hill, Pa., is a 1996 graduate of Juniata. He went on to earn a master's degree in communication in 1998 from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and started his career in 2002 as case manager and then residential program administrator at Developmental Services Center in Champaign, Ill. He currently works as service director for home-based support and supported living programs for Impact Systems Inc. in Harrisburg, Pa.

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 $1,800. 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.