Tough Competition at Oratory Contest

High School Oratory Contest (2023)

Emily, Naomi, Yanessa, Grace, Ariana

The judges did not have an easy time adjudicating the 34th annual High School Oratory Contest. The five competitors gave amazing speeches, which delighted and educated the audience. Emily Ranschaert, a homeschooled senior, won the competition and received a $250 scholarship.

Opening with a story of Hacksaw Ridge and the WWII hero Desmond Doss, Ranschaert (left) compared fighting to save lives during wartime with fighting to save the unborn.

“Our country, in fact our whole world, is at war, and we are fighting something deadly. Insanity. Ignorance. Lies. And some people may say this isn’t a real war, but over 1.5 billion children have been killed worldwide since 1980 alone. This is incomparably more than the number of casualties from every country involved in World War II combined. Anyone who says this isn’t a real war is deceiving themselves.”

Naomi Folkert (second from left), a homeschooled freshman, placed second and received a $150 scholarship. Her speech highlighted alternatives to abortion.

“In 2007, a woman became pregnant by a man she was not married to. She carried this pregnancy to term and had the child, who was healthy and strong. She could have chosen to abort her baby, but instead she decided to give her child up for adoption by first placing the baby in foster care. Nine months later, the foster home was able to find a Christian home in the United States for the child, who now has an amazing life that is, unfortunately, not granted to many children because of abortions. How do I know this? Because the woman I am speaking of is my mother, and I am the child who was adopted into a Christian home in America.”

Grace Lazo-Lemos (second from right), a homeschooled freshman, placed third and received a $100 scholarship. She passionately explained that abortion was unnecessary because there are funds, options, and education to prevent it.

She told the story of former abortionist Paul E. Jarrett, Jr. “Dr. Jarrett is one of many doctors who used to be deeply involved in abortion, but after witnessing the inhumaneness of it, turned against it. His experience tells us a great deal about what abortion does to the children it destroys, the women it traumatizes, and the clinic staff it corrupts.”

All contestants presented well-researched speeches that included elements of storytelling.

Judges Leisa Snow and Barb Spidell carefully evaluated each contestant’s statistics, creativity, and oratory skills.

Emily Ranschaert will compete in the State High School Oratory Contest on May 20 in Charlotte.

Photos from the High School Oratory Contest can be viewed on the Grand Rapids Right to Life Flickr page.

Laura A.

An awesome woman who fights daily for the prolife cause!