Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

American Legion Speaking Competition

On Sunday, January 26th, I drove over to the American Legion Hall in Marshall, Wisconsin, to act as one of five judges for the regional completion of the annual American Legion Oratorical contest. This is for high school students, and there are scholarship prizes for the winners. This is something I care about, having participated in forensic speaking programs and debate in high school myself, so I was pleased to be recruited by my brother, Harold, who is regional Vice-Commander for the Legion’s Third district, Southwestern Wisconsin.

Each speaker is required to present an 8-10 minute prepared speech, and then to speak extemporaneously on a topic chosen during the completion after a short period of preparation. The main talks are to at least include some significant reference to the US Constitution (with a significant downcheck if not), and the extemp topic is also constitutional.

The speakers were the finalists for each of the counties in the region, and were quite impressive, especially given the age distribution of two seniors, one junior, two sophomores, and one freshman. The overall winner was one of the young men, but the runner up, a girl, was every bit as good in presentation and preparation. The only reason she was outpointed was that the extemporaneous topic, the 13th Amendment, obviously was one of the winner’s heavy preparation points, so he was very strong on that issue.

I had a really good time helping out with the contest, and would gladly do it again in some capacity.

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Tags: civics

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