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Emily Drown, center, accepts her certificate and $2,500 scholarship as first-place state winner in Alabama American Legion’s High School Oratorical Scholarship Program. Ron Bradstreet, from left, Department of Alabama Commander, and Willie Rogers, Chairman of the Department Oratorical Commission, are presenting the awards. CONTRIBUTED

Drown earns first-place in state with American Legion oratorical contest

MADISON COUNTY – As representative of Division One that includes Madison County, Emily Drown triumphed over other division contestants to win first place in the Alabama American Legion’s High School Oratorical Scholarship Program in Montgomery on March 14.

Larry Vannoy, Madison County Commander and Madison Post 229 Commander, was present for the Alabama State competition. “Emily’s oratory on the constitution was outstanding,” Vannoy said. “She is an incredible young lady with wonderful supportive family, home-schooled with four sisters. We are very proud for her well-deserved achievement. I believe she will do very well at the national competition.”

Drown will represent the State of Alabama in the 2020 American Legion National Finals on April 17-19 at the Wyndham Hotel in Indianapolis, Ind. Emily is a junior in Veritas Home School of Huntsville.

The American Legion oratorical contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students, Tom McKinney said. McKinney coordinated Madison County’s contest and serves as Americanism Coordinator for American Legion, Post 229 in Madison.

Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, history of our nation’s laws, 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 FOX Business anchor Lou Dobbs.

The overall national contest winner gets a $20,000 scholarship; second place, $17,000; and third, $15,000. Each state winner who participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship.

“The American Legion contest is more difficult than some other contests. Contestants must deliver their speeches without using notes or prompting of any kind,” McKinney said.

Subjects for speeches must relate to some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Prepared speeches are eight to 10 minutes, followed by three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic drawn at random.

Emily’s parents are Daron and Amy Drown of Huntsville.

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