A Historic Speech: The 17th Annual Gettysburg Address Contest


December 4, 2015 (West Chester, PA).  The place to be before the big parade is of course, The Lincoln Building.  The 17th Annual Gettysburg Address Contests included seven middle school students from local West Chester schools. Amongst friends, family and parade goers below, the little Lincoln’s proudly read their speeches on top of the Lincoln Buildings balcony.   The event recognizes and celebrates the 152nd Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Hosted by the Chester County Community Foundation and the Historical and Architectural Review Board (HARB), “each student did a great job delivering their speeches” commented Joe Martino, Contest organizer.

Kyle Puchalla from Fugett Middle School, Vikram Chodapaneedi from Peirce Middle School and Raquel Lacusky from Saint Agnes School, placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Kevin J. McLaughlin from Saints Peter and Paul School, Lauren Knopp from Peirce Middle School and Anna Delaney as well as Kyle Punchalla from Fuggett Middle School, all received participation certificates.  Vikram Chodapaneedi also rounded out the contest by winning the award for Best Costume. Cash prizes were presented to all.  Judges included Dr. John Noakes, Professor of Sociology, Arcadia University, Kate Shaw, Executive Director of Research for Action and Mary Smith, Community Volunteer.

In addition, Bob Gross who is the event founder and Master of Ceremonies was pleased with this year’s participants, saying “All of the students presented the speech beautifully; the Little Lincoln’s this year bestowed such poise and confidence. It was remarkable to see.” A representative from State Senator Andy Dinniman’s office also presented each contestant with a certificate.

Event sponsors included:  Friends of Mayor Carolyn Comitta, Committee to Elect Kathleen Cozzone, Friends of Andy Dinniman, Team Jean Gross Homes, Weston Solutions and Zukin Realty.

The event encourages youth, their families, and friends to become more involved in the community around them and more deeply appreciate local history and the key events that have shaped our nation.

The Chester County Community Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter, so their philanthropy makes a difference now and forever. The Community Foundation holds over 350 funds in trust and annually awards $2.3 million in grants and scholarships.  www.chescocf.org