The American Legion is offering an opportunity for local high school students to win scholarships during an upcoming contest.
The nonprofit organization is hosting the American Legion Oratorical Contest beginning on Saturday, January 15 at Post 27 in Jervey Gantt Park at the Coleman Center (2001 SE 32nd Avenue in Ocala).
The contest is open to all Marion County Public School and homeschool students between 9th and 12th grade.
According to the American Legion, the competing students will speak on an aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with an emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to the government. The speeches will be eight to ten minutes in length, and the contest will also include shorter speeches on an assigned topic.
The American Legion will choose three winners on Saturday, and those winners will advance to the second level of the contest on Saturday, January 22.
The third level of the contest will be held in February, and the State level will take place on Saturday, March 12.
State-level winners will be awarded scholarships worth $2,500 (first place), $1,500 (second place), $1,000 (third place), and $500 (fourth through sixth place).
The first-place winner for the State level, along with their parents or guardians, will be flown to Indianapolis, Indiana in April to compete in the National Contest.
Winners of the National Contest will be awarded scholarships worth $25,000 (first place), $22,000 (second place), and $20,000 (third place).
Free speech coaching is provided to all contestants. Any students who are interested in competing should send an email to the contest chairperson at [email protected]
In 2015, a Vanguard High School student won the State and National Contest, and another Vanguard High School student won the State contest in 2020. Due to COVID-19, the National Contest in 2020 was cancelled.
For more information, visit the American Legion Oratorical Contest website.