American Legion Oratorical contest winners

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
American Legion Oratorical contest winners

On Veteran’s Day, Roland-Story High School students delivered prepared speeches on the Constitution, in conjunction with the American Legion Oratorical competition, emphasizing the duties and obligation of a citizen to the United States government. The students were then given five minutes to also prepare a speech on one of four amendments to the Constitution. In less than an hour volunteerism, separation of church and state, the need for educated electorate, and repeal of prohibition were covered by these students. In the end Brooke Ehrenberg was selected to represent Legion Roland Post 307 and Nicholas Morgan will represent Story City Post 59 at the county level competition with a chance to progress to the National Level competition and a chance at an $18,000 scholarship.

The American Legion began this competition back in 1938 as a way to help youth develop leadership, the ability to think and speak clearly, and to prepare them for acceptance of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The American Legion partnered with the Roland-Story High School speech coach, Ms Tammy Dickinson-Ferrell to encourage student participation and provide students assistance as they prepared their speeches. Judging the competition were Ms. Dickinson-Ferrell, Mr. Jerry Christian from Legion Post 307 and Mr. Dean Struecker from Legion Post 59. For Nicholas Morgan, one of the competitors, “The most difficult part of the competition was selecting a topic for the prepared speech as there are so many important aspects of the Constitution that you could speak about.” The judges had to score the students in seven different categories ranging from logic structure to voice and dictation.

Dean Struecker complemented the students on their efforts to develop their leadership and grow their understanding of the Constitution. Mr. Struecker also commented that through this competition, Roland Post 307 and Story City Post 59 came together to work with Roland-Story High School to promote citizenship which is one of the main objectives of the American Legion. Mr. Struecker said, “It was no coincidence this competition was held on Veterans Day. As we reflect on the sacrifices that citizens made on behalf of their county by serving in the military, we want the youth of today to think about their obligation to also serve their country by being well informed citizens that actively protect the Constitution in thought and action.”

The date and time for the county competition is to be determined, which will give the students a chance to refine their speeches and do more research on the Constitution. Jerry Christian said after the competition, “The winners have a lot of hard work left to do if they hope to make it to nationals since they’ll be facing students in Iowa and across the nation who will have well thought out speeches and great delivery.”

—submitted by Keith Morgan