American Legion District Oratorical Contest winners announced

Kaytlinn Rohde, a senior at Northwestern R-1 High School of Mendon was named district winner of the American Legion’s 83rd annual High School Oratorical Scholarship Program Saturday at Brookfield. Rohde, in winning the District Two contest, will now advance to Zone One Competition in Hannibal on January 22nd and compete with winners from Districts 1, 8 and 9.

Chase Baker of Linn County’s Brookfield R-III High School was named runner-up in what contest officials described as an extremely close finish, and will serve District Two as the alternate entry to the Zone contest, and Avery Webb, a senior at Grundy County R5 place third. Only one point separated each of the three contestants. All-District contestants reached the District competition by advancing through High School and County levels.

Each delivered prepared talks lasting no less than five minutes and no longer than six minutes on an aspect of the U. S. Constitution of their choosing. Then they each delivered an additional extemporaneous address on one of four Constitutional Amendments randomly drawn just five minutes before speaking.

In addition to the time restrictions, they had to speak without using note cards or written materials of any kind, no public address system, and no podium. Contest officials praised the performance of all three contestants, and described it as a “very challenging program that builds student knowledge of our nation while helping build on the speaking skills of the students who compete”.

The Legion’s annual High School Oratorical Contest was actually started by Missouri Legionnaires in 1934 and was adopted by the Legion nationwide in 1938. The Missouri Legion is also proud that three of the last six national winners came from the “Show-Me” state.

Additional Scholarship funds will be awarded for those who win at the State, Regional, and National competitions and can total more than $30,000 for the National winner.

The contest actually begins in November each year within High Schools, then County contests in December, District and Zone in January, State in February, and ultimately culminates at the National contest in April.

Questions can be addressed to District Chairman Larry Warren at 660-646-5704 or