NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College announces the three winners in its annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest.
KIPCOR sponsors the event every year in conjunction with the bi-national contest organized by Mennonite Central Committee. The contest was established in 1974 in the name of the late C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen (Ind.) College and Bluffton (Ohio) College, now University, who had deep interest in the Mennonite peace position. All students enrolled at Mennonite and Brethren in Christ colleges in Canada and the United States are eligible to enter the contest.
Bethel College’s first-place winner was Heidi Holliday, a senior peace and global justice studies and Spanish major from Andover. Her speech, entitled “‘You won’t have a name when you ride the big airplane’, ” tells of her experience aiding immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. The title comes from a line in “Deportees,” a 1948 song by Woody Guthrie.
For the first round, contestants gave their speeches to a Life Enrichment audience, made up mostly of retired people who meet weekly during the school year for educational and cultural programs in Krehbiel Auditorium on the Bethel campus. Judges were Lisa Janzen Scott, assistant professor of education and mathematics, Brian Stucky, staff person in the information and media services department and a forensics coach, and Eric Massanari, pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, who gave each contestant a critique with suggestions for revision.
For the second round, held before an audience of Bethel students, faculty and staff in convocation, judges were Brett Dewey, assistant professor of Bible and religion, Penelope Adams Moon, assistant professor of history, and Gail Stucky, co-director of libraries, who chose a first-, second- and third-place winner.
Miriam Friesen, a sophomore German and history major from Paoli, Ind., won second place. Her speech, “Confronting the past,” deals with the history of America’s Manifest Destiny and the displacement of the United States’ “first nations” (Indian) peoples.
Third place went to Adam Gaeddert, Hutchinson, a junior English major. “Why I am not a pacifist” explains why Gaeddert considers himself to be a peacemaker but no longer uses the word “pacifist” to describe his beliefs.
Holliday videotaped her winning speech, which will be sent with the manuscript for consideration along with first-place winners from other Mennonite and Brethren in Christ schools for the overall top prize for 2006, to be announced next fall.
The top speaker will receive a cash award of $300 plus $500 to attend a peace-related conference or seminar of his or her choice.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.