A senior at Norborne High School in Carroll County, Madison Brown, was named Zone winner of the American Legion’s High School Oratorical Scholarship Program Sunday at Hannibal.
Brown, in winning the Zone One contest against contestants from Missouri Legion’s Districts 1, 8 and 9, will now advance to State Competition in Jefferson City February 17th and compete against winners from Zone 2 (NW Mo), 3 (SW Mo), and 4 (SE Mo).
Andrew Moore, a sophomore at Clark County R-1 High School in Kahoka, in District One, was named runner-up in what contest officials described as the closest Zone contest they had judged in ten years. He will be an alternate for the State Contest.
Micayla Gentges, a senior at Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City (District 8) was second runner-up, and Uma Upamaka, a sophomore at Francis Howell High School in St. Charles (District 9) finished third.
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. Ms. Brown’s presentation was titled “Dreamers Dream On” about children brought into the country by illegal immigrants. Then, they each delivered an additional extemporaneous address on the Third Amendment, a subject randomly drawn just five minutes before speaking.
In addition to the time restrictions, each contestant 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 four Zone contestants.
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 also noted that three of the last seven 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 $23,000 for the National winner. New this year, is an additional $13,000 scholarship offer from Drury University to both Brown and Moore for finishing first and second at the Zone competition.
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.