Kansans for Life hosted its annual oratory contest again this year to encourage teens to speak up for the value of human life. The 2020 David Gittrich Memorial Oratorical Contest was conducted by Zoom videoconference in May for high school juniors and seniors. Students from around the state presented original, pro-life speeches that were based on recent KFL legislative efforts to stop unlimited abortion and approve the Value Them Both Amendment to the Kansas Constitution. The winner, Jacob Toole, will go on to compete in the National Right to Life Oratory Contest this summer.
A panel of four judges ranked the contestants. These are the top five winners:
Jacob Toole, Washington County High School senior – 1st place
Nathan Knapp, Aletheia Academy junior from Seneca – 2nd place
Jimmy Mendoza, St. James Academy junior from Lenexa – 3rd place
Valerie Rosqueta, St. James Academy junior from Spring Hill – 4th place
Baylie Owens, Excel Online Academy senior from Hesston – 5th
Several students said they grew in their knowledge and ability to speak on pro-life issues. According to Valerie Rosqueta, “Participating in the contest was surely a new experience for me! I learned a lot about the movement through my research and writing. Crafting a speech dedicated to pro-life topics definitely increased my confidence to talk about it to others as well.”
Some students have already been actively involved in standing up for women and their babies, such as in the March for Life, 40 Days for Life, and Life Chain. “I have recently felt the need to be actively involved in the pro-life movement,” says Nathan Knapp, “and will continue to work in whatever ways God gives me to defend them, whether it be in writing, in voting, or in supporting pro-life organizations.”
Kansans for Life is already looking forward to next year’s oratorical contest and is excited to hear a new generation of young people with the passion to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Area public and private schools and home school groups are notified each year. Information about the contest is also available at the KFL.org website each spring. Monetary prizes are awarded, and the winner is given the opportunity to become a pro-life spokesperson by presenting the winning speech at KFL events. For any questions regarding next year’s contest, please contact the Contest Director at JoAn@KFL.org.
KFL expressed their hanks to every judge who gave of their time to make this event possible as well as the hard work of each and every student who participated.
After the national contest, KFL will post Jacob Toole’s speech and the other contestants’ video clips on the KFL YouTube page.