“Simply being pro-life doesn’t save babies. Acting pro-life does!” This admonition was given by Melissa Temple at Tennessee Right to Life’s 12th annual Pro-Life Oratory Contest on Saturday, April 30, at Aquinas College in Nashville. Local chapters helped Tennessee to develop the nation’s largest pro-life speech contest with over 115 public, private, and home-schooled students in grades 9-12 participating in 24 county contests statewide. Each participant was required to research, write, and present an original five to seven minute pro-life speech, using factual and current information on abortion, infanticide, embryonic stem cell research, or euthanasia.
Melissa Temple, a sophomore representing Northeast TN Right to Life, placed first in the contest and received a $500.00 award from Tennessee Right to Life (TRL) and a $2500 scholarship from Aquinas College. Due to an age requirement at the national level, second place winner Lydia Smith from Blount County will represent Tennessee in the National Right to Life Oratory Contest in Jacksonville, FL on June 26. Lydia received $250 in prize money form TRL and a $1500 scholarship from Aquinas. Kayla Huddleston from Wilson County received a $100 prize for third place and Tori Johnstone from Robertson County received a $50 prize as the fourth place winner (both received scholarships from Aquinas).
Upon welcoming the students, Sister Mary Peter, Operating President of Aquinas College said, “We are so excited to host this competition each year. It gives me hope to see that there is still good left in our youth…and the future of the pro-life movement looks bright!” Aquinas College hosted the event for the eighth consecutive year and provided $5,000 in scholarships for the finalists.
“I have judged this competition for the past ten years,” stated Stormy Mitchell, President of The Mitchell Group, a Christian Speakers and Artist Booking Agency. “I look forward to being involved each year because the students are very inspiring. The students’ quality level gets better each year, which makes it more and more difficult to rank so many well written and presented speeches. We congratulate the winners and look forward to next year’s competition.”