The American Legion Oratorical Contest

Courtesy photo
Pictured from left to right:   Department Commander Yvette Weigold, Catherine Odgers, Past Department Commander Bob Terhune,  Oratorical contest chairman Valerie Scheuering.

Catherine Odgers had the opportunity to represent Ely and White Pine County, as the American Legion District 5 and Post 3 (of Ely)  contestant to the American Legion Department of Nevada’s Oratorical Contest.  The contest was held at the Masonic Lodge in Henderson, Nevada on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U. S. Constitution among high school students.  Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship.

Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students.  Over $138,000 in scholarships can be awarded each year.  The overall national contest winner receives an $18,000.00 scholarship.  Second place receives $16,000.00 and the third place winner receives $14,000.00.

High school students under age 20 and in 9-12th grade are eligible.  Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition.  Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds.  The contest final round is decided from the three top finishers.

Speaking subjects are on some aspect of the U. S. Constitution, with emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government.  The contest involves one 8-10 minute speech of the contestants choosing and one 3-5 minute speech of an assigned topic.  This year assigned topics were:  2nd Amendment; 3rd Amendment; 15th Amendment and Article 2 Section 4of the constitution.  Catherine’s speech was, “Women, the Constitutionality of and their duty to the country to register with the Selective Service.”

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