By PAUL CHASON
Special to Atmore News
Billy Glenn Rushing Post 90 of the American Legion in Atmore was honored to host the Department of Alabama, American Legion Oratorical contest for the 3rd Division on February 22. I’m sure you are asking, “What is the Oratorical 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. More information can be found at https://www.legion.org/oratorical/about
This year’s contestants were Anna Hagel, representing American Legion Post #122 in Prattville, and Caleb Thornton representing American Legion Post # 250 in Fowl River, Ala. Unfortunately, we had no local representatives in this nationwide program.
Our judges for this year were Atmore Mayor Jim Staff, attorney Kevin McKinley, Escambia County High School counselor Ashley Trawick, Flomaton High School counselor Deanna Ross, Escambia Academy drama and speech teacher Mandi Carter. Also attending were Don Madden and Willie Rodgers, 3rd Division; and Dave Graham, Post 90.
After delivering a prepared speech and then having just five minutes to prepare for a second constitutional topic, our judges scored Anna as the first-place finisher. She received a $300 scholarship for this contest. Caleb, our runner-up received a scholarship of $200.
Anna will represent Post #122 at the Department of Alabama Oratorical finals, March 14, for the third consecutive year. The Department finals are held at the Department of Alabama Archives and History, in Montgomery beginning at 10 a.m.
Anna will compete against the 1st and 2nd Division winners for scholarships totaling $5,000. The three contestants will also compete for the opportunity to represent the Department of Alabama at the 82nd National Oratorical finals held April 17-19 in Indianapolis. Fifty-four departments winners worldwide will compete for a total of $188,000 in scholarship monies. The three national finalists will compete for scholarships of $20,000, $17,000 and $15,000 this year for first, second, and third places, respectively.
Paul Chason is adjutant, Post 90.