Press Publications recently interviewed Ella May Wanschura, of Forest Lake, about her participation in the Speaking Proudly oratory competition, where girls from around the state spoke on the 2021 topic: “A More Perfect Union, Rising to the Challenge.”

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: I’m a freshman at Liberty Classical Academy, and I swim on Great Wolf swim team. I’ve been swimming for about five years. I have two sisters and live with my Mom, Dad and my dog, Reign (she’s a Belgian Malinois). I play the ukulele and have taught myself a couple of songs on the piano. I love reading books; some of my favorites are the “Hunger Games” series and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I love hanging out with my friends and spending time with my family.

Q: What made you decide to write a speech for Speaking Proudly?

A: There were some volunteers from the organization that came to my school to talk about speaking proudly and what a wonderful experience it is. I have been doing public speaking since kindergarten because it is a part of our school’s curriculum. I enjoy speaking, and to be able to write a speech on a political topic sounded like something I would love to do.

Q: What was your speech about, and why did you choose that topic?

A: There was a topic that we had to base our speeches on, which was “A More Perfect Union, Rising to the Challenge.” So I met with one of my teachers to help me get started, we sat down and went through the Constitution, and the one thing that stuck out to me was the 2nd Amendment and how gun control would affect our country. I thought that it was important people know how taking away American citizens’ guns would affect Americans and if we want to create a more perfect union, we must protect the rights of legal American gun owners and prosecute those who illegally carry a gun to the fullest extent of the law.

Q: What did you learn from the experience?

A: I definitely learned more about public speaking and how to better my technique. I learned a lot about what the other girls thought was a way to create a better union. It was really interesting to read all of the judge’s thoughts on my speech, especially because these are very skilled and experienced speakers.

Q: Any plans for college and what are your interests?

A: I love editing and filming videos, and taking pictures. My absolute dream job would be working with babies in some capacity, but I have an interest in politics. My dream college is Liberty University in Virginia. They have a Division I swimming program and they are Christian-based.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

A: I hope to make it through high school with straight A’s. I want to swim in college and go as far as I can in swimming. There is a scholarship at my school called the Lisa Treelevin Scholarship that I will be applying for, and it is one of my goals to win the scholarship. I am not decided if I will apply for the Speaking Proudly competition again, but it is definitely one of the things I am thinking about.

Compiled by Noelle Olson

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