By Abbie Digel, Explorebigsky.com Editor
BOZEMAN–Four students from Ophir Middle School competed in the 61st Annual Gallatin County Rural School Declamation Contest on April 26 at the Gallatin County Courthouse in Bozeman. The theme this year was “Our Greatest President.”
The students presented their declamations in front of Gallatin County Judges John Brown, Holly Brown and Mike Salvagni. The competition is meant to prepare students for a speech and debate club at the high school level, which parents, teachers and students hope to have in place at Ophir in an upcoming school year.
Middle School Science teacher Sue Barton has been the inspiration for Ophir competing and doing well year after year in this competition.
“The Declamation contest is one of the most important projects in language arts,” Barton said. “Most sixth graders see this as an impossible task, but they are surprised and proud to see that yes, they can do this. Many adults would have a difficult time doing what the middle school students do with declamations. What a great life skill.”
Students prepared history-based research papers polished into five to seven minute memorized presentations. The researched topic included a parenthetical notation and a bibliography, and also many hours spent on preparing the speech as well, Barton said.
Abi Hogan, a sixth grader, won third place in the Oral Competition with her presentation of “Our American Teddy Bear Theodore Roosevelt”
Three other students from Ophir competed: seventh graders Bella Butler, Ellie Quackenbush and Saylor Tatom. Eighth grade teacher Nettie Bruener also attended. This is the second year Ophir School has had a winner at the county level.