(Posted February 24, 2014)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Seven Juniata College orators will make arguments before a panel of judges that make the case that equality applies to all U.S. residents at the annual John M. and Thomas F. Bailey Oratorical Contest, to be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 in the von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

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

The oratorical contest this year takes inspiration from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and asks "What Will it Take from Freedom, Justice and Equality to Ring for All?" Fifty years after the speech, President Barack Obama said economic inequality is the nation's great unfinished business.

A preliminary competition was held Saturday, Feb. 22, to narrow the field of 34 student participants. Seven finalists are judged and will take part in the final competition.

The seven finalists are seniors James Taylor, of Huntingdon, Pa., Angela Myers, of Gallitzin, Pa., Elise Mihranian, of Chester Springs Pa., and Reinaldo Hermawan Liem, of Bandung, Indonesia; juniors Nikki Halstead, of Huntingdon, Pa.; and Colton Hallabuk, of Towanda, Pa.; and sophomore Alexandra Bernosky, of Mayfield, Pa.

The judges for the preliminary competition were Colleen Hughes-Gratter, a 2006 Juniata graduate and a project associate at Development Dimensions International in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Julia Bogue, a 2010 Juniata graduate and public affairs assistant for Wanner Associates in Harrisburg, Pa.; and Anthony Gratter, an advanced patient care technician for UPMC Passavant.

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 1910 by Letitia Fisher Bailey and the Honorable Thomas F. Bailey, who served as president judge of Huntingdon County from 1916 to 1936. The contest is named in honor of John M. Bailey, the father of Thomas Bailey, and a former Huntingdon County president judge.

The oratorical contest has a long tradition at Juniata College, as students from all areas of study can compete for the monetary prize. The original prize for the contest was $15 and $25. An enhanced endowment contribution by Judge Bailey's son-in-law Colonel Sedgley Thornbury, provides the contest's prize money. 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.