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Larry Vannoy, American Legion Post Commander, congratulates Emily Drown, winner of both the Madison County and District 12 competition in the 2021 High School Oratorical Scholarship Contest. CONTRIBUTED

Scholarships up for grabs in American Legion Oratorical Contest

MADISON – Youth in Madison County high schools can compete for significant scholarship money while showing their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution in the 2022 American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Contest.

American Legion Posts across Madison County, including Post 229 in Madison, are inviting students younger than 20 years old (as of April 2021) to compete in the 85th annual speech contest.

“The oratorical contest presents our Madison County high school students with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership skills, history of select U.S. laws, ability to think and speak clearly and an understanding of duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship,” Danny Marr said. A member of Post 229, Marr is serving as contest chair.

Tom Paone of Huntsville Post 237 has provided contest information to each Madison County and city school.

Contest rules require a prepared 8- to 10-minute oration of some content in the U.S. Constitution. Contestants can choose the subject, emphasizing a U.S. citizen’s duties and obligations. Students also must speak for 3 to 5 minutes, without notes, on a randomly selected constitutional amendment.

The first level of competition will start at 10 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2022 at Madison City Hall, 100 Hughes Road.

Madison County’s contest winner will advance to compete in the 12th District, 1st Division and State of Alabama Department competitions. At each competition level, winners in the top three places will receive monetary awards. For the top three winners, Post 229 will award $300, $200 and $100 respectively for the initial contest.

Winners for the State of Alabama will be awarded scholarships of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 for the top three places, respectively. First-place winner of the Alabama competition will advance to the national finals, scheduled for April 2022 in Indianapolis, Ind.

The national level includes three levels of competition: Round 1, Round 2 and a Final. Each state winner who competes in the first round of the national contest will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Participants in the second round, who do not advance to the national final round, will receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. The top three youth orators who have won all previous elimination rounds of the contest will receive college scholarships of $25,000, $22,500 and $20,000, respectively.

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

The contest for Madison County students will be coordinated with school officials. Students should contact their college/career counselor, principal and/or speech teacher, as appropriate, for contest details.

To contact the Post 229 Oratorical Chair, call 256-258-3654. For rules and contest information, visit legion.org/oratorical.

Winners at each school must email a brief biographical sketch no later than Jan. 8, 2022 to American Legion Post 229 at commander@americanlegionpost229.org.

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