High School Atheist Wins Ingersoll Oratory Contest

Over the weekend, the third annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest was held in Washington, D.C. Competitors recite excerpts from the Great Agnostic’s speeches and a panel of judges vote on the best speakers — who receive hundreds of dollars in prizes.

I’m thrilled to say that this year’s winner was Sarah Henry, a high-schooler from Indiana, a camper at Camp Quest Ohio, and a contributor to this site:

Sarah Henry (via Bruce F. Press Photography)

Eleven contestants competed by reading a short selection from any of Ingersoll’s speeches. Participants traveled from as far as Florida and Michigan. Sarah Henry, 17, took first place by reading from “Improved Man.” Terence Madden of Anne Arbor, MI took second place reading from Ingersoll’s talk about Thomas Paine. Third place was won by Tya M. Pope from New Castle, DE, who chose from two related speeches: “A Christmas Sermon” and “What I Want for Christmas.” Jenniffer Masterson from Washington DC took fourth place reading a selection from Ingersoll’s “Suffrage Address.”

Video from the event should be available on the contest’s website soon.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    It’s amusing to me that an article about an oratory contest can’t spell Ann Arbor correctly.

    • Wrich

      It’s better than I would have done, as “A town that shall not be named” and “Go Buckeys” would make me seem biased.

    • Thin-ice

      And of course, the spelling of a small town name in Michigan has EVERYTHING to do with oratory. Sheesh!

      • Bryan Sebeck

        ….

  • Beth

    Well done!

  • Gus Snarp

    I can’t help thinking it would be a better contest if they had to write a speech of their own instead of reading one.


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