NEW YORK MILLS -- The finalists in the annual Great American Think-Off have been selected by the essay contest's New York Mills sponsor.
The four essay writers will debate the question "Is the pen mightier than the sword?" at a public debate June 8 in the high school auditorium.
Now in its 10th year, the contest was created by the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center "as a way for ordinary people to express their opinions on some of life's weightier questions," a center spokeswoman said.
The finalists, selected by a panel of judges from 750-word essays submitted by 190 contestants, include an Austin, Minn., teacher and a Littleton, Colo., high school student.
If you go
Who: Four finalists
What: Great American Think-Off
Where: New York Mills Regional Cultural Center
When: 7 p.m. June 8
Cost: $5, cultural center members; $7, non-members at (218) 385-3339
Timothy Brennan, the teacher, and Jenna Madsen, the student, argued that the pen exceeds the sword, drawing on their own personal experiences to support their point of view.
Paul Higday and Barbara Parker, both of Richmond, Va., took the opposite position, suggesting the sword is mightier than the pen.
A cultural center spokeswoman said the Richmond finalists do not know one another, saying their common residence is a "remarkable coincidence."
The four will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York Mills to argue their positions in a public debate June 8 before hundreds of area residents, starting at 7 p.m. The audience will determine the winner with a post-debate vote.
Tickets are available for $5 for cultural center members and $7 for non-members. Call (218) 385-3339 for reservations.
If previous debates are any indication, the event will be carried live on C-SPAN, which has broadcast the debate in each of the last three years, said Think-Off sponsors.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.