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Win yourself a scholarship!
RUMFORD -- Fred Milligan has seen three of his grandchildren graduate from high school over the last three years. He's seen how hard it is for them to find scholarship money.
That is one reason, as the Americanism officer for American Legion Post 24, he is promoting the American Legion Oratorical Contest, which is “a constitutional speech contest.”
Milligan has been promoting this for awhile now, with little success. He even scheduled a workshop on this, but no one showed up. During that time, he's learned that many students who otherwise might participate just didn't have the time because of their busy schedules.
He's hoping students might consider this as a project during the month of August, when their schedules might not be so hectic.
High school students (and homeschooled) under age 20 are eligible. 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.
State Level Scholarships: Students who compete in the contests have the opportunity of receiving money awards toward their future school endeavors. Local Legion Post awards will be determined by the individual Posts, and the district awards by the various districts. On the state level, the first place winner will receive $1,000; second place, $500; third place, $300; fourth place, $200; fifth place, $150. See below for State Oratorical Winners.
National Level Scholarships Awarded: Scholarship awards are presented to the three finalists in the Final Round of the National Program as follows: 1st Place -$18,000; 2nd Place -$16,000; 3rd Place -$14,000. Each Department (State) winner who is certified into and participates in the first round of the National Program will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Each first round winner who advances to and participates in the second round, but does not advance to the Final Round, will receive and additional $1,500 scholarship to pursue education beyond high school.
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.
Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. The assigned topic must take no less than three minutes and must not exceed five minutes for time of delivery.
The assigned topic discourse must not consume less than three minutes or more than five minutes for delivery. The purpose of the assigned topic discourse is to test the speaker's knowledge of the subject, the extent of his or her research, and the ability to discuss the topic as related to the basic principles of government under the Constitution. Each year, the list of Assigned Topics will be made available prior to the contest and posted on the Legion web site at www.legion.org.
The assigned topic shall be drawn by the contest official in full view of the audience immediately before the last speaker begins delivery of his or her prepared oration and will be made known to the audience and each contestant approximately five minutes prior to the time of delivery.
The audience will include a panel of two or three judges and time keepers.
Milligan said the local contest will take place in November or December, with the state contest a month or two later. Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact the school or contact Milligan at 418-7701.
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. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.