The fifty-first annual Bash-Whisler Bible reading contest overshot expectations on a number of counts. We had the largest entry in several years, and all six of the students who won awards were first-time contestants. Two of the three finalists were freshmen, which means the future looks bright! This year’s semi-finalists were Lars Coburn, Brandon McGinnis and Keegan Clark. Lars, an accounting major from Beaverton, Ore., presented Proverbs 8:1-14 and Philippians 2:1-16. Brandon, a Bible and theology major from Eugene, presented Psalm 22:1-19 and Mark 15:22-39. Keegan, an education major from Phoenix, Ariz., presented Job 9:2-20 and John 8:1-12. Each semi-finalist received a prize award of $150.
The finals brought together a diversity of styles: senior music industry major from Prineville, Ore., Preston Carmack, presented Ecclesiastes 1:1-15, taking on the persona of The Teacher in a musical, almost Shakespearean style. Then, for his New Testament passage, he presented the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-24, contrasting the son’s anguished repentance with the father’s explosive joy that his son had returned from dead. Haley Vandenhazel, a first year psychology major from Tumwater, Wash., presented Isaiah 53:1-12, describing the suffering servant’s fate in woeful tones, before presenting 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 to explain what motivated the servant’s quiet, uncomplaining sacrifice. Isaac O’Casey, a first year youth ministry major from LaPine, Ore., presented Psalm 22, as a wrenching portrayal of Christ’s endurance of the Father’s wrath, and then offered the day’s second interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
The finals were judged by President Joe Womack and two NCU trustees: Marvin Eckfelt ’57 and Bill Jennison ’75. The judging was difficult, and none of the finalists earned a unanimous ranking, but by a clear majority the judges crowned Carmack the champion, winning $350, followed by O’Casey, winning $275, and Vandenhazel in third place, winning $200. Carmack also won the privilege of reading aloud the Scripture passage before the baccalaureate sermon.
All the prizes were made possible by the generous contributions of the Bash-Griffith family, several members of which were present to enjoy the finalists’ performances, including GK (Bash) Griffith ’71, Lynn Griffith ’68 and Beverly (Bash) Parr.
By: Associate Professor of Speech and Communication Doyle Srader, Ph.D.