WALDOBORO — Medomak Valley High School held its annual Philbrook Speech Competition April 14, an event that highlights and rewards upperclassmen who have taken a position on a topic, supported it with research, and urged their audience to a call to action.

This year’s competition of 12 students, coordinated by the English Language Arts Department, started many years ago with a bequest of money from the Philbrook family, but continued in recent years because of another generous bequest of Conrad and Louise Ulbrich, in an effort to support and encourage Medomak students to aim high and achieve in public speaking. Three judges from the community — Ms. Wilhelmina Ulbrich, Mrs. Sandra O’Farrell, and Mr. Nick Lapham — spent the morning scoring student speeches of three-to-five minutes in length.

Top speakers receive $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. This year’s winning speeches were by Cynthia Shelmerdine, first place, about the importance of having a purpose, Emily Mahoney, second place, about driving the speed limit to save lives, and John Owen Weber, third place, about the need to stand up to censorship and book banning attempts.

Three students were also recognized as Honorable Mentions, including Ella Donaghy — about the need to teach about all of U.S. history, including grappling with issues of race — Quinn Overlock — on the impact of bullying on pre-teens and teens — and Lily Rogers — on the benefits of, and need, to save arts programs in schools.