You are here

Juarez wins oratorical prize for treatment of elders speech

ABOVE) Jenna Juarez of Fremont, Ohio, earned first place with “Promoting Peace in Skilled Nursing Facilities.” BELOW) Presentations were made by Jenna Juarez, Jenia Freewalt, Zach Boch, Carter Ritchey, Micah Dodson and Kennedy Parker.

Feeling valued is even more important for those living in skilled nursing facilities according to Bluffton University junior Jenna Juarez. She advocated for including meaningful daily activities for elders in her winning speech during the C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest at Bluffton.

Students are given the opportunity to compose and deliver a speech that applies Christian principles of peacemaking to contemporary social issues. The winner of the Bluffton competition advances to compete with winners from other Mennonite-related colleges and universities.

Jenna Juarez ’25, a Communication and Media major from Fremont, Ohio, plans to pursue a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy with the intention of working in geriatric care. “Providing our elderly with the option to be a meaningful part of their community gives them a sense of purpose and makes life worth living. It instills a sense of peace within,” she said. “I know that is what made my grandfather be able to live to 100. I hope to provide this meaningful, purpose-driven peace to my future patients as well.”


Second place was awarded to Jenia Freewalt ’24 from Delphos, Ohio. An Art with Professional Education Multi Age Visual Arts License (K-12) major, she spoke on “Helping Students Make Peace with Themselves.”

Zachariah Boch ’24 from Lancaster, Ohio, placed third with “Deconstructing the Bully: Giving Power to Take Away Power.” He is a Communication and Media major with a minor in coaching.

To commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the C. Henry Smith Oratorical Contest beginnings, cash prizes awarded to the top three finishers increased to $500, $400 and $300 respectively.

Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history, gave a short reflection on the life of C. Henry Smith as an advocate for peace. Smith was an early 20th century Mennonite historian and professor at both Bluffton and Goshen College.

However, the oratorical tradition has much deeper roots at Bluffton as the first oratorical prize contest was held in 1905 during commencement week.

The annual contest is administered by the communication and fine arts department at Bluffton University. Bluffton’s winners have often earned prizes at the intercollegiate level.