“Let your voice be heard” is what organizers of the New Orleans Right to Life Pro-Life Oratory Contest are saying to all junior and senior high school students in the New Orleans area interested in entering the upcoming contest on April 10 at 6 p.m. at Jesuit High School.
Participants will have five to seven minutes to use and improve their public speaking skills and voice their opinion among peers on any human rights or life issues – abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research or infanticide.
Judges will determine the winners, with the first-place winner earning $100 and advancing to the state competition May 3. Cash prizes also will be awarded to the second- ($50) and third-place ($25) finishers. Last year’s regional winner was Christopher Mire of Jesuit. A past regional and state winner, David Scotten, is now creating a documentary on his experience of finding his birth parents.
Deadline to enter has been extended to April 7.
Scott Delatte, contest organizer and host, is working on the contest with Louisiana Right to Life and New Orleans Right to Life. He currently co-moderates Jesuit’s Pro-Life Club with Susan De Boisblanc but was president of the club while a Jesuit student.
He said his involvement with the Jesuit club helped him understand what it meant to be pro-life and voice a reasonable pro-life position.
“By the time junior year came around, I felt I was pretty articulate and knew what I wanted to say,” he said. He entered the contest and placed second in regionals in 2005 and third in 2006.
The club lives out its three pillars of education, prayer and activism by fostering awareness of the pro-life movement through annual Jesuit March for Life trips to Washington, D.C., weekend visits to the abortion clinic on Ridgelake Avenue in Metairie to pray the rosary; and educational projects at school such as posting 4,100 different professions on Post It notes in the Jesuit student commons to illustrate the 4,100 human lives lost daily to abortion.
As moderator, he said he continues “to instill awareness and help members formulate an educated argument to defend the pro-life position once they get to college. That’s one of our biggest goals. … We really want them to have some sort of awareness.”
He said he gained a lot by participating in the contest and knows others can, too.
“For me, the important thing I gained from the contest was meeting other pro-life people and sharing my views on pro-life (issues) and why I was pro-life,” Delatte said. “Contestants share their own perspective and stories. I think that is enriching for them. The practice of being able to explain why you feel a certain way about euthanasia or abortion and articulating it can help you and help those who hear it become more motivated.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.