WAYLAND — The Wayland Area Historical Society hosted a speech contest at the museum on May 7.


Most of the students are homeschooled, but there was a student from Wayland-Cohocton Central there as well.


Young Speakers Academy Founder Robert Babcock said he is very proud of his students for getting up and speaking in front of people.


The contestants were broken down into two groups; grades third to seventh and grades eighth to 12.


The speakers were Madaline Grant of Naples, Luna Wright of Atlanta, Olivia Pulver of Naples, Cassandra Wray of Rushville, Ian Kennedy of Branchport, Allison Kelly of Alexander, Shawn Colmes of Darien, Stan Dobra of Avon, Josh Thomson of Chili, Andrew Hazell of Chili, Samantha Towner of Cohocton, Kenyon Carlson of Brighton, Isabelle Collier of Williamson and Natalie Norris of Almond.


Third prize winner in grades third to seventh,Wray, spoke about what it is like to come from Blackfoot heritage, and the mystery surrounding the name of her tribe.


“Today the origin of their name remains a mystery,” she said. “I have decided to call myself a Blackfoot and just enjoy the mystery.”  


Second prize winner in grades third to seventh, Kelly, spoke about the mystery of famous disappearances in our history such as Lost Colony of Roanoke, Amelia Earhart, and Percy Fawcett.


“Thousands of people have disappeared in history, and some are still unsolved,” she said.


First prize winner in grades third to seventh, Colmes, spoke about the importance of the Electoral College.   


“People think the electoral college should be replaced by popular vote,” he said. “In over the 200 years of experience there are only five times that the candidate who won the electoral college didn’t win the popular vote.”  


Third place winner in grades eighth to 12, Hazell, speech was about the unofficial civilian soldiers of WWI and the sunken ship of Lusitania.


“The day the civilians were declared unofficial soldiers of WWI,” he said. “It (Lusitania) only stayed afloat 18 minutes as passengers and crew searched the ship for somewhere safe, and jumped madly into the lifeboats.”


Second place winner in grades eighth to 12, Collier, gave a speech about how it is wrong to abort a baby even if rape and incest is involved. Collier tells the inspirational story about how her aunt chose to keep her baby after she was raped. 


“For 43 years people have argued that abortion is needed because of rape, and no one wants to carry the baby of a rapist,” she said. “Voices of women have been forgotten. Women have aborted babies due to pressure. You don’t know her strength. You are so brave, and have experienced the worst nightmare, but not let it define you. You brought a beautiful life into this world, and are not a victim. You are inspirational. You are a mom.”


First place winner in grades eighth to 12, Carlson, speech was about how important it is to know our history so we are not doomed to repeat it.


“We can map out our future. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, we have it. We can advance it,” he said. “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. To dwell in the past without envisioning a better future is to make history just a story. We shape our future by understanding our past.”  


The rest of the students were given honorable mentions, and some money for taking time to give speeches.


The historical society donated over $600 to this event, and are proud of all the young speakers.