Ophir Middle School students competed in the Gallatin County Rural Schools’ Declamation Contest the last weekend of April. The 60th anniversary of the event, all youth in seventh or eighth grade attending county rural schools can compete in an oral or written presentation contest based on a historical person or event. The contestants research the event or person and present a 5 to 7 minute speech.

This competition is meant to prepare students for a Speech and Debate club at the high school level, which parents, teachers and the students hope to have in place at Ophir next school year. Sue Barton has been the inspiration for Ophir competing and doing well year after year in this competition.

This year, for the first time, Ophir had a winner at the county level: sixth grader Dasha Bough. Her speech was titled “Mother of the Freedom Movement,” about Rosa Parks.

Students were required to choose the theme, national in nature, related to the 1950’s. There are two competition categories: 1) Speech Presentations must be written by the student, fully memorized and presented with a time allowance of 3-5 minutes 2) Essay presentations were written at school under teacher supervision with a time limit of ninety minutes. Finalists of the written category read their essays at the county event.

Declamation was held in the County Courthouse. The judges were Judge Bryan Adams, Standing Master Magdalena Brown, and Attorney at Law Lynda White. County Auditor Jennifer Blossom was the timer. This year, Honorable Judge Holly Brown officiated.

The three top winners gave their speeches in front of the Gallatin County Law community (lawyers and judges) on in Judge Holly Brown’s courtroom.

Trophies and U.S. Savings bonds were presented to each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Ophir Finalists:

First Place: Dasha Bough, 6th grade, “Mother of the Freedom Movement” about Rosa Parks
Honorable Mention: Bella Butler, 6th grade, “Cured” about the polio vaccine
Finalist: Chase Samuels, “The Franchising of McDonalds”
Finalist: Ellie Quackenbush, “The Credit Card and Debt”

Written Category:

Finalist: Luisa Locker, “Not So Happy Meal”