The Optimist Club of Alpena recently held its annual Oratorical Contest open to all area youth 18 years old and under.
After all the contestants had delivered their speeches and the judges deliberated, first place in the girls division went to 17-year-old Caitlin Borke.
Borke was one of eight girls to compete in the contest, along with one male participant, 13-year-old Patrick Martin. Each contestant had to write and deliver a speech on the topic, "How My Passions Impacts the World."
Winners of the 2014 Optimist Oratorical Contest are, from left, Madelyn Boyd, second place girl; Caitlin Borke, first place girl; Patrick Martin, first place boy; and Taylor Ayotte, third place girl.
The students competed for cash prizes and a chance to compete at the regional and state level by showcasing their speech writing and oratorical skills. The contest was held March 20 in the conference room at Alpena County Library.
Borke attends Alpena High School and is the daughter of Ron and Vlinda Borke of Hubbard Lake.
Second place went to 13-year-old Madelyn Boyd of Alpena. She is the daughter of Tim and Amy Boyd of Alpena. Taking third place was 12-year-old Taylor Ayotte, who is the daughter of Isaac and Danielle Ayotte of Hubbard Lake.
As the only entrant in the boy's division, Martin took home the $300 first prize. He is son of Earl and Marcia Martin of Lachine.
The first place winners received a $300 cash prize, second place received a $200 cash prize, and third place received $100 cash. Medals were also awarded to first through third place.
The first place finisher will go on to compete at the regional contest which will be held in Traverse City on April 7. The winners at that level will then go on to compete for a $2,500 scholarship at the state competition being held in Bay City on May 17.
Sponsors of the local contest this year were The Alpena News, Chemical Bank, Bank of Alpena, Northern Eye Optical, Besser Credit Union, Service Master Clean, Home Depot, Alpena Agency, Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union and Alpena County Library.
The speakers, known to the judges only as a letter, each wrote and presented a five-minute speech on the chosen topic. The contestants were judged on speech content, poise, delivery, presentation and overall effectiveness.
In the event that the first place finisher cannot attend the regional event in Traverse City, the second place finisher will be the alternate.
The other speakers, who each received certificates of participation for outstanding speeches were, Isabelle Kotwicki, age 13; Victoria Kinsel, age 14; Emily Trelfa, age 12; Sofia Maj, age 11; and Alayna Trelfa, age 10.
Judging the event were Rose Langlois, a retired teacher and avid supporter of the Optimist Oratorical Contest; Jackie Krawczak, executive director of the Alpena Chamber of Commerce; Diane Speer, lifestyles editor for The Alpena News; and Rev. Leslie Nye of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Herron.
Optimist members Bud Pfeifer and George Killewald served at timekeepers and Pete Wilson was master of ceremonies for the event.