The 33rd annual High School Oratory Contest featured three amazing competitors, all of whom were worthy of winning. Gabriel Zylstra, a homeschooled junior, won the competition and received a $200 scholarship.
With a commanding voice, Zylstra (center) presented a bold defense of the prolife position.
“A lot of pro-choice people will bring up unfortunate circumstances to justify abortion. What if the mother is poor? What if she was raped? What if the child has a disability? To respond, it is critical to sympathize first and make it clear that you do actually care about these people’s suffering. If they seem calm enough to listen, ask them a simple question. Would you be okay killing a toddler if they had a disability? Would you be okay killing a newborn baby if their mother was raped? Would it be okay to kill a child if their family was poor?”
Emily Ranschaert (left), a homeschooled junior, placed second and received a $150 scholarship. Her speech beautifully illustrated the possibility that exists if one says “yes” to an unplanned pregnancy.
“Abortion is pure evil, but it’s clever. It convinces women that ending their child’s life is the only way for things to get back to the way they were before. But that’s not true. No matter what happens, no matter if they say yes or no, if they choose joy or not, things will never be the way they were before because life doesn’t work that way. The moment these children are conceived, everything is changed. But abortion convinces women that change is a bad thing. But if things didn’t change, how would we ever move forward? How would we ever grow?”
Chayil Versluis (right), a homeschooled junior, placed third and received a $100 scholarship. His presentation combined hard facts and moments of humor.
“Many pro-choice individuals will oftentimes make the statement, ‘It’s my body, my choice.’ Well, if the baby was really a part of their body, then the pregnancy individual would also be able to claim that they had twenty fingers. And we all know that they cannot do this.”
All contestants presented well-prepared speeches and passionately communicated the sanctity of all human life.
Judges Hannah Trulock and Maggie Maclachlan carefully evaluated each contestant’s research, originality, and oratory skills.
Gabriel Zylstra will compete in the State High School Oratory Contest on May 21 in Charlotte.
Photos from the High School Oratory Contest can be viewed on the Grand Rapids Right to Life Flickr page.