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Johnson repeats win in American Legion oratory

MADISON – Six students tackled a broad concept with the U.S. Constitution to compete in American Legion’s High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.

These students from high schools across Madison County participated in the first round of the oratorical contest. The county-level competition was held at Madison City Hall on Jan. 28.

Christine Johnson earned first place in the oratorical contest for the county level. The topic for each student to discuss was the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a public trial, a lawyer, an impartial jury and knowledge of accusers and charges.)

Johnson’s presentation was entitled “Defending the Constitution to Keep our Freedoms.” “2023 was Christine’s second year for taking home the top prize at the Madison County level,” Dan Marr said. Marr serves as Oratorical Chair for American Legion, Post 229.

Johnson is a home-school student. Her parents are Bryan and Amy Johnson.

Thomas Fleming claimed second place in the contest. Fleming is a home-school student, and his parents are Steven and Cammie Fleming. Townley A. Hayes was the third-place winner. Hayes attends St. John Paul II Catholic High School. Her parents are Alfonzo and Tamekia Hayes.

The top three contestants received cash prizes and plaques. Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy presented an award certificate to each teen.

The other contestants who delivered outstanding speeches about the U.S. Constitution were Sadie Sandlin, who attends Huntsville High School, and Haven Johnson and Gabe Etheredge, both students at Providence Classical School.

“For the first part of the competition, the students each gave a pre-prepared 8- to 10-minute speech on any aspect of the U.S. Constitution they chose,” Marr said. “For the second part, they had to give a three- to five-minute speech on an amendment, randomly selected by the oratorical committee. After the topic was selected, each student was given five minutes to prepare his or her speech.”

“Once again, we had a group of really impressive young men and women compete,” Marr said. “I applaud each of them for committing the time to prepare and participate in the oratorical. Public speaking at any age can be difficult, but these students have already developed a lifelong skill that I’m sure will benefit them in the future.”

Johnson will advance in the competition to represent Madison County at the District 12 Oratorical Contest on Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. at American Legion, Post 15 in Decatur. “If Christine Johnson wins that contest, she will move on to the Division 1 Oratorical Contest, which will be held on Feb. 18 at 11 a.m., back at Madison City Hall,” Marr said.

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