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Laura Charlotte Underwood, fourth from left, was first-place winner in the 2019 American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program for Madison County. Congratulating Laura Charlotte are Tom McKinney, from left, Post 229 Americanism Chairman; Larry Vannoy, Post 229 Commander; parents Mike Underwood and Lynn Underwood; and Carlos Woods, Madison County Commander. CONTRIBUTED

Teens can enter American Legion’s Constitutional Oratorical Contest

MADISON COUNTY – American Legion posts across Madison County, including Post 229 in Madison, invite high school students to compete in the 83rd annual American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.

This speech contest presents students in all high schools within Madison County with “an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership skills, history of the nation’s laws, ability to think and speak clearly and understanding of duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship,” Tom McKinney said.

McKinney is oratorical program chairman and Americanism Coordinator for Madison American Legion, Post 229.

“The subject in the contest’s prepared oration portion must be about some phase of the United States Constitution, emphasizing a citizen’s duties and obligations to the United States government,” McKinney said. “The contest also will include an assigned subject allowing the contestants to speak briefly on a specific constitutional matter.”

The first level of competition will start at 10 a.m. on Jan. 25, 2020 at Madison City Hall, 100 Hughes Road. Contestants must arrive by 9:30 a.m. for briefing. Madison County’s winner will qualify to advance in the contest’s district, division and State of Alabama levels of competition.

Students ranking in the first three places will receive monetary awards at each competition level. Each level’s winner will progress to the next level. The State of Alabama winners will be awarded scholarships of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 for the top three places, respectively. Alabama’s overall winner will advance to the national finals set for Indianapolis, Ind. in April 2020.

The national level has three levels of competition: Round 1, Round 2 and Final. Each state winner who competes in the national contest’s first round will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Participants in the second round who don’t advance to the final round will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The top three youth orators who have won the contest’s previous elimination rounds will receive college scholarships of $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000, respectively.

American Legion will pay travel and lodging expenses of state winners at the national contest.

High school students in Madison County who are interested in entering the competition will find complete rules and contest information at legion.org/oratorical.

American Legion members have arranged the contest for Madison County students with cooperation of local school officials. Students can contact the school’s career/college counselor.

For more information, contact McKinney at mckinn911@aol.com.

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