Students from Carbon County high schools delivered speeches May 24 at Penn's Peak for the annual oratory competition.

This year's competition featured seven young speechmakers from Jim Thorpe, Palmerton, Panther Valley and Weatherly high schools who have been preparing their speeches for months.

The two winners were Sam K. Smith, a Palmerton student, who spoke on the gift of life, and Michael Trainer, a junior at Jim Thorpe, who's speech "The Handprint" was about local history.

Participants included Weatherly junior Matthew Caccese, who spoke about 9/11; Susan Funk, a senior at Weatherly who encouraged respect; Panther Valley senior Casey Kite, who urged the audience to respect the environment; Daniel Ledo, a Panther Valley sophomore who spoke about suicide prevention; and Karl Pielmeier, a Palmerton junior who taught the audience how to conquer headaches.

Each student had a coach to help them make his or her speech the best it could be. The coaches were: Christina Rosenberger, Jim Thorpe; Bonnie C. Tavella, Palmerton; Elizabeth Walsh, Panther Valley; and Barbara Sipler, Weatherly.

All of the speeches had to be between five to eight minutes long but could be about any subject and be in any style.

The two judges, Audrey Matheson of Parkland and Pat Combs of Southern Lehigh school districts, scored the participants on a scale of one to 11 in the following areas: substance, structure, style, bodily expression, vocal expression and personal qualities.

At the conclusion of the competition, each participant was awarded a trophy for his or her hard work.

Carbon County Oratory Contest is a long-standing tradition that began as the Carbon County Principal's Association Oratorical Contest years ago with participants from Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Palmerton, Panther Valley and Weatherly.