Students to deliver speeches in annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest Feb. 20

Five Goshen College students will speak on themes of peace and justice during the 2024 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in Umble Center. The annual event is open to the public, and will also be livestreamed at

This year’s participants and their topics are:

Cassidy Cwiertnia, a senior American Sign Language interpretation major from Lake Zurich, Illinois, on “ASL: Beyond the Barriers”
Mariela Esparza, a senior English major from Elkhart, Indiana, on “Overseen yet Overlooked: Children as an Oppressed Class”
Annika Alderfer Fisher, a senior sociology and art double major from Staunton, Virginia, on “The Inequity of Overconsumption”
Tyson Miller, a junior journalism and English double major from Syracuse, Indiana, on “Using Journalism as a Tool for Peace”
Sarah Lopez Ramirez, a senior film production major from Puebla, Mexico, on “ITIN: A Mockery on Immigrant Lives”

The judges this year include: Luke Beck Kreider ’08, assistant professor of religion and sustainability at Goshen College; Regina Shands Stoltzfus, director and professor of peace, justice and conflict studies at Goshen College; and Malinda Berry ’96, associate professor of theology and ethics; history, theology and ethics department chair at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana.

The participants will deliver 8- to 10-minute speeches on topics of their choosing that relate to peace and justice. The speeches will be judged on originality, integration of the topic and a peace position, and general standards of delivery.

An increase in prize amounts this year will be distributed to each participating institution in recognition of the contest’s 50th anniversary. The first-place winner will receive $1,000, second place will receive $400 and third place will receive $200.

The C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest is a U.S./Canada Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored event. Participants compete for cash prizes provided by the trust of C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen and Bluffton (Ohio) colleges. The purpose of the contest is to allow students to become involved with the cause for peace and develop rhetorical skills.

Speech contests have been a tradition at Goshen College since the early 1900s. The C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest provides the opportunity for the campus community to hear about contemporary peace issues. For an archive of past winners, visit