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Underwood’s wins continue at district

MADISON COUNTY – American Legion members in District 12 sponsored its 82nd District Oratorical Contest on Feb. 9.

American Legion, Post 15 hosted the contest. For the second consecutive year, Laura Charlotte Underwood expanded on her win in Madison County competition to claim first prize in District 12.

This contest represents the second level of competition that county winners complete as part of the 82nd National American Legion Oratorical Contest. District 12 encompasses all Legion posts in Cullman, Blount, Limestone, Madison and Morgan counties.

Four teenagers entered the district contest:

* First-place winner Laura Charlotte Underwood — Junior at Providence Classical High School in Huntsville, Madison County. Sponsors were Post 229 in Madison and Post 237 in Huntsville. 

* Hank Radcliff — Sophomore at Hanceville High School in Cullman County. Post 4, Cullman sponsored Radcliff.

* Jack Orr — Junior at Decatur High School in Morgan County. Sponsor was Post 15, Decatur.

* Alex Crafton — East Limestone High School, Limestone County. Sponsored by Post 46, Athens.

“Laura Charlotte Underwood had won the Madison County competition on Jan. 28, repeating a second year in a row from 2018,” Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy said. “Ms. Underwood also repeated being named the District 12 first-place winner for the second straight year.”

Alex Crafton took second place. Jack Orr was the third-place winner.

“The contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students,” Tom McKinney said. McKinney is Americanism Chairperson for Post 229.

“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,” McKinney said.

Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. More than $138,000 in scholarships is available each year.

“Just as in the county-level competition held in January in Madison, speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government,” McKinney said.

“Prepared speeches are eight to ten minutes long. In addition to prepared speeches, three- to five-minute speeches on randomly drawn topics also are part of the contest,” McKinney said.

As winner of District 12 competition, Underwood advanced to the Department of Alabama’s First Division contest in Decatur on Feb. 23 at First Presbyterian Church. State winners will advance to the national finals on April 5-7 in Indianapolis, Ind. to compete with the winners from each state and territory.

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