– An 11th grade student from Upper Dublin High School delivered her own “Gettysburg Address” today in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s famous battlefield speech.
Lauren Pyfer of Fort Washington was the winner of the In Lincoln’s Footsteps statewide speech contest, which was designed to honor the historic significance of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and to reinforce its relevance to the present day. In addition to earning the opportunity to read her speech during the official Dedication Day ceremonies at Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Pyfer also received a $5,000 cash scholarship prize and a one-year tuition scholarship to any of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities. PASSHE and the PASSHE Foundation were among the contest’s sponsors.
Pyfer was presented with the scholarship awards at a luncheon held after the Dedication Day ceremonies. The luncheon was attended by an array of dignitaries, including Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett, the contest’s honorary co-chairs; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; and representatives of the various sponsoring organizations, including PASSHE Chancellor Frank T. Brogan.
High school students from across Pennsylvania were invited to participate in the year-long contest, which also sought to perpetuate the values the address represents and to cultivate added appreciation for quality written and oral communication in today’s society.
In addition to PASSHE and the PASSHE Foundation, contest sponsors also included The Gettysburg Foundation, Cotter Brobson Communications, the Pennsylvania Business Counsel, Gmerek Government Relations, PPL and Buchannan Ingersoll and Rooney, PC. The contest also was supported by the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 112,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.