Crown PSEO student wins Voice of Democracy speech competition

Crown PSEO student wins Voice of Democracy speech competition

Chyelle Dvorak has won a state competition for the VFW called Voice of Democracy. The PSEO student at Crown is a junior in high school and will be attending next year as a senior.

The contest, which involves writing and submitting an audio recording on a chosen topic, involves nine districts in Minnesota and hundreds of submissions. After winning the Minnesota competition, Dvorak will now travel to Washington, D.C., for the national competition in March. She also won a scholarship award for $3,500. For the nationals, the winner receives a $30,000 scholarship.

“Chyelle is amazing, obviously,” says Dr. Joel Wiggins, the President of Crown College. “She illustrates what many other Crown students have learned—that if you get good at something you get a platform to make a difference. I’m so proud that Crown is a part of preparing Chyelle to give her best to the Lord and to our world. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her.”

The theme for the 2016-2017 competition was My Responsibility to America. Each years, the competition is sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW with a patriotic theme.

“Through the Voice of Democracy process I learned that there are many people out there who want to hear what my generation has to say about the future of America,” says Dvorak. “Without the encouragement of the people around me, I never would have written and recorded a speech. But what I realize now is that your voice matters. What you say matters. And there are people out there through scholarship programs who value the voices of young Americans.”

Dvorak says she was surprised about well how the program is organized and run. At an event recently in Minneapolis, she attended a banquet with 500 other attendees and was treated to an overnight stay with her family.

She says she is still not over her fear of giving speeches but her advice to other students is to not let that fear stop you from pursuing a competition like Voice of Democracy especially if you have an important topic or a passion to communicate about a pressing topic.

“You don’t need to be an expert speaker for people to want to hear what you have to say,” she says. “For me, being well prepared and practicing in front of an audience (of any size) is what made the biggest difference.”

For now, her plans are not set in stone as far as career choices or major. “My main reason for choosing Crown College is because I appreciate the values Crown upholds and the fact that it is a Christ-centered college,” she says.

One thing is clear — her ability to communicate clearly about a vision for her generation, particularly in terms of telling a story, caught the attention of the VFW judges.

Here’s an excerpt from her speech: “Limitation, oppression, conformity; this is a picture of what America would look like if no one took responsibility to fight for our freedoms. Where would America be without the freedom to practice religion, the freedom of speech, or the freedom of the press? These inalienable rights were woven into the seams of America.”

Dvorak has plans to work in a science-related field but also has a passion for music, missions art, and journalism or even a mix of the creative arts with agricultural or engineering.

Photos courtesy of Kaylyn Strange
Class of 2017