October 7, 2022

American Legion’s speech contest seeking student participants

By Ed Pierce

Once more, Windham’s American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 is seeking students to participate in the American Legion National High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.

The annual speech contest focusing on the U.S. Constitution that offers scholarship opportunities to winners at the local, district, state and national levels. Students are asked to speak on a topic of their choice related the U.S. Constitution for some 8 to 10 minutes and then follow that up with a 3- to 5-minute speech on a Constitutional topic chosen for them by contest judges.

All high school students in Windham and Raymond in Grades 9 to 12 attending a public school, a private school, a parochial school, a military school, or those who are home-schooled are welcome to compete in the 2022/2023 contest.

Field Allen Post 149 Adjutant David Tanguay said participants will first compete at a local post level in Windham, with winners advancing to a district speech contest. If successful at the district competition, the winner advances to the State Finals.

He said that the Maine winner will represent the Pine Tree State at the American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest in Indianapolis, Indiana in April 2023. The American Legion will provide state winners with round-trip airline tickets and lodging for both the contestant and a chaperone who must be over 21 years of age. If the Maine winner is unable to attend the National Finals, the state first runner-up may attend instead.

Tanguay said the speech contest was created to instill in students a better understanding and appreciation of the United States Constitution. Additionally, Post 148 hopes to develop enhanced leadership qualities in participants that include critical thinking skills; the ability to speak clearly; and

fostering an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges of being an American citizen. Also, the scholarship program assists in paying for the high cost of a college education.

“Students who compete in these contests have the opportunity of receiving monetary awards toward their future school endeavors,” Tanguay said.

At the Post level, the winner will receive $200 and for winning the State competition, the first-place winner receives $1,500. Placing second in the state earns $500, while third place is $300 and fourth place $125. Students who advance to compete in the National Contest will receive at least a $2,000 scholarship with the National Finals winner being awarded $25,000.

The Field-Allen Post 148 contest is scheduled to be held in December and the winner moves on to the district competition in January. The State Oratorical Contest will be conducted at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at Thomas College in Waterville, while an alternative snow date of Feb. 18, 2023, has been scheduled.

Students interested in participating in the contest should contact their Guidance Counselor Officer at their school by Oct. 31 or Field-Allen Post 148 Commander Tom Theriault at 207-405-8218 for more information. Information can also be found at www.mainelegion.org or your Field Allen Post 148 at the Windham Veterans Center in Windham. <

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