If one were to ask 100 people to describe how they feel about speaking in front of a large crowd, we’re guessing that most would say “terrified.”

Ask Claire Lostutter, Aleah Cutshall, Emma Staicer, Samantha Lanham and Amber Powers that same question and they might answer “bring it on”!

The five young women were the participants in this year’s Custer Contest at Madison Consolidated High School.

Lostutter, the daughter of Rick and Ann Lostutter, won the competition Sunday night. But all of the contestants put on winning performances.

This year’s contest was the 106th, and every year we marvel at the grace and poise demonstrated by the participants.

The Custer tradition stretches back to 1912. Participating is one of the most prestigious honors a MCHS senior can achieve.

The contestants are among the top seniors academically in their graduating class and are involved in many MCHS activities. They are examples of young people making the most of the high school experience.

Anyone who has had to stand before an audience and speak for any length of time knows how difficult that can be. Add to that the fact that the participants must deliver their selections from memory, and one can only imagine how tough the assignment is.

These young people are confident and have a successful academic track record to back up that confidence.

Every year Courierarea schools graduate exceptional students. Claire, Aleah, Emma, Samantha and Amber make us proud, and they speak well for the quality of education they are receiving.