• Oratory challenge set for March 3
    February 23,2013

    MONTPELIER — High school students will compete next month through an annual oratorical contest for a chance to eventually obtain higher education scholarships on the state and national level.

    Beginning at 10 a.m. on March 3, two students, one from Montpelier and one from South Burlington, will compete in the District 3 American Legion oratorical scholarship contest at The American Legion Post 3 in Montpelier.

    The event is free and open to the public. Teachers who might prepare students for competition in the program next year are also encouraged to attend.

    Each year, contestants delivers prepared speeches on “some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on duties and obligations of a citizen to our government,” according to a legion news release. Students also deliver remarks on an amendment or part of the U.S. Constitution that’s randomly selected. There are four topics for this year, one of which includes the Second Amendment.

    Karlene DeVine, the chairwoman of the state’s contest, said the competition is very intense: No notes, props, or costumes are allowed and no microphone or lectern is used. Participants must deliver their speech within eight to 10 minutes, and points are deducted if the time frame is not kept.

    Nina Merriam, a Montpelier High School student, is returning to the District 3 competition. The winner of the District 3 event will go on to participate with other district winners in the Vermont finals of The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.

    The state finals of the contest will be held on March 16 at The American Legion Post 31 in Rutland, and the winner will take home $1,500. The winner of the state finals will also represent Vermont at the national event in Indianapolis, Ind. in April.

    National scholarships awarded annually total $138,000. Third place wins $14,000, second place wins $16,000 and first place wins $18,000.

    Other scholarship opportunities through The American Legion Department of Vermont are available by visiting www.vtlegion.org or contacting the department headquarters at (802) 223-7131 or alvthq@myfairpoint.net.

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