This year American Legion Post 274 hosted the county American Legion Oratorical Scholarship Contest at their post home in Lusby, on January 26th. Two Patuxent High School students competed. Owen Falco is in grade 11 and Joseph Oster is in 10th. Both students seemed to have a wealth of knowledge on our Constitution.
Owen Falco spoke on the 9th amendment, Unenumerated Rights while Joseph Oster spoke on the 2nd amendment, Right to bear Arms. Both of these are contained in the Bill of Rights. The topic drawn for the 5 minute oration was the 13th amendment that tested the contestants’ knowledge of the Constitution. The 13th amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Both contestants seemed to be well versed in this amendment, since they were speaking extemporaneously.
First place went to Owen Falco and 2nd place to Joseph Oster. They received prizes of $200 and $150.
High school students under age 20 are eligible for the contest. 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 caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers.
The oration must be on some aspect of the Constitution, with emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. The same subject and oration used in the department contest must be used in the national contest.
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 speaking 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 gets an $18,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $16,000, and third gets $14,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $1,500 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.
This contest is held annually and for more information, please visit https://www.legion.org/oratorical or contact your local American Legion Post:
Post 85 Huntingtown http://www.americanlegioncalvertpost85.org/
Post 206 Chesapeake Beach http://alpost206.org/
Post 220 Prince Frederick https://www.facebook.com/American-Legion-Gray-Ray-Post-220-1415589198739995/
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon