The East Providence High School Alumni Association will once again host the annual James E. Bates Memorial Oratory Contest. The event wil be held on June 4th at the RIverside Library. The contest, which is in its fourth year, is open to EPHS juniors and seniors.
The annual contest is among the important events that the EPHS Alumni Association sponsors. John Butler (Class of 2007), the President of the EPHS Alumni Association, hopes that Townies of all ages will attend the June 4th contest.
"Our goal is to bring together alumni from all EPHS classes to event. It's not only a scholarly activity, but it is also a social event," said Butler.
This year at the JBMOC, current EPHS students will present an oration based on a speech by Woodrow Wilson. Students may address the prompt however they choose, but they will be judged on their oratory skills and the message that they deliver.
The deadline to apply is May 18th, Students can submit essays to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is this year's prompt:
Nearly one hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson delivered his first inaugural address to a nation in need of hope. With the corruption and dishonor of the Gilded Age fresh in most people’s minds, and with World War I just around the corner, Wilson had this to say:
The Nation has been deeply stirred, stirred by a solemn passion, stirred by the knowledge of wrong, of ideals lost, of government too often debauched and made an instrument of evil…We know our task to be no mere task of politics but a task which shall search us through and through, whether we be able to understand our time and the need of our people, whether we be indeed their spokesmen and interpreters, whether we have the pure heart to comprehend and the rectified will to choose our high course of action.
Your job is to make sense of Wilson’s words. Put this passage in historical context, and speculate on what it might have meant to Americans in 1913 and what it might mean to Americans today. You might want to consider some of these questions: How do elected officials serve as the people’s “spokesmen and interpreters”? What is a “rectified will” and why is it necessary for choosing a “high course of action”? Do the events that have “deeply stirred” the nation have any parallels nowadays? Does the “task of politics” as identified by Wilson remain today? Does this task belong to politicians only or is there a way in which it is the task of the people, as well?