Brautigam Takes 108th Custer Competition

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Brautigam Takes 108th Custer Competition

MCHS senior, Grace Brautigam won the 108th Custer Competition

MCHS senior, Grace Brautigam won the 108th Custer Competition

MCHS senior, Grace Brautigam won the 108th Custer Competition

MCHS senior, Grace Brautigam won the 108th Custer Competition

Clare Wilber, Staff Reporter

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Last Saturday, marked the 108th annual Custer Contest for Madison Consolidated High School and featured seniors Grace Brautigam, Isaac Hanson, Maranda Elswick, Bailey Dyer, and Hannah Huff. Each one of these seniors has been inducted into the National Honor Society and participate in at least one extracurricular.

The contest itself is for seniors who will graduate top of their class and have participated in several extracurricular activities.

“This (Custer contest) is remarkably Madison’s best tradition,” according to Custer coach Lee Strassel.

The competition saw Grace Brautigam, coached by Strassell, win the night and the top prize of $700.Brautigam chose her piece Miss Temptation since it is “relevant to today’s society.”

“I also just really like Kurt Vonnegut,” Brautigam said.

The contestants must be able to perform an excerpt from a book of their choice in front of a live audience and exceed no longer than 15 minutes with their performance. They began practicing around two months prior to the performance on April 28th.

Huff chose Pride and Prejudice. “I liked it a lot. I also think the novel is really timeless, and I really appreciate that in a work of art.

The contest is, of course, an extremely nerve-wracking experience, but all the seniors did a wonderful job portraying their excerpts and the characters inside the story.

“It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I couldn’t see anybody in the audience besides the first two rows, so it kind of just felt like I was practicing with Mrs. Lee,” Dyer said.

“I keep saying that I am more nervous than I am, but I’m really not. Because even if I get up there and screw it up, I mean, ‘Oh no, I’m embarrassed,’ so I guess I’m not really worried about it,” Huff explained right before she went on the stage.

“Cannot relate,” Brautigam chimed in.

Each contestant is paired with a coach for their Custer involvement. The coaches are there to provide assistance and guidance for the students. According to the seniors, the coaches were a beneficial addition to their performance.

“I couldn’t have done it on my own. Mrs. Lee organized my piece and helped me a lot with when to put emphasis on words and when to act things out. It also helped that Mrs. Lee won the Custer contest when she was in school, so she told me what to expect from a contestant’s perspective,” Dyer said.

All five of the participants in the contest said it was a wonderful experience that will benefit them in the future. The Custer Contest is a great opportunity to practice for future public speaking.

Huff said, “I think it will help with public speaking in that sense, but I guess public speaking has never made me that nervous in the past. It’ll help in the sense that practice makes perfect.”

To recap the night, Isaac Hanson, Maranda Elswick, and Hannah Huff received an equal rank and will receive $175 for their presentations. Bailey Dyer received second, and she will earn $350. While Brautigam one the top prize.

Congratulations to all the seniors who participated in the Custer Contest.

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