Madeline BouillonGODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College sophomore Madeline Bouillon took top prize in this year’s “You Have A Voice!” humanities speech competition, held March 28, in the Hatheway Cultural Center’s Ann Whitney Olin Theatre.

The contest, which is held annually by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society and hosted by PTK Sponsor and Speech Professor Elizabeth Grant, provides students the means through which they can share their thoughts and experiences on what it means to be human.

“We pause to celebrate the power of the human voice to prevail over life’s circumstances,” Grant said. “When we listen to the news, we can get down. That’s a great reason to lean on one another through the staring of our stories. This year was one of our best and I wish we had prizes for all. We do this every March, so be watching for your next opportunity to join in.”

This year’s competition included several compelling personal stories.

Bouillon’s speech, “The Truth About Drug Addiction,” was a moving account of her family’s experience with the disease.

“Some people are shocked when I’m so open about the struggles my family has faced, but I think it’s good to speak about the uncomfortable or ‘taboo’ things in life,” she said. “You never know what other people are going through.” 

She was both excited and humbled by her win.

“I hope it can help others who are too afraid to speak out,” she said. “After all, the competition was all about having a voice and I felt very heard.”

While Bouillon is undecided where she’ll continue her education after L&C, she wants to become a high school teacher.

Bouillon’s first-place finish earned her $100.

Second place and $75 went to Sabrina Sevia and her speech entitled “Becoming Human: Living in the Shadow of a Giant Tree.” Finishing in third place, with a $50 prize, was Jersey Community High School dual credit student Anna Fink with “Why Me?”

Rounding out the field of competitors were Tasha Lind with “A Mother’s Pain,” Imalia Mayfield with “Whole New World,” Gavin Shelton with “The Aberrant Soul” and Monica Wendle with “Why Serve?”

This year’s judges were Alton Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Al Womack; L&C Foundation Director of Development Debby Edelman; L&C Foundation Board Member, ECHO Academy founder and State Farm Agent Karen Wilson; and student and PTK member Devone Stenke.

For information on L&C’s Speech Department or PTK, contact Grant at (618) 468-4725 or

L&C is enrolling now for Summer and Fall. To find out more, call or text the Enrollment Center at (618) 468-2222 or email them at

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