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Modern Orators Vie For Scholarships: VIDEO of American Legion Oratorical Competition

By: Bob Moore

The American Legion District 6 held its High School Oratorical Scholarship Program Constitutional Speech Contest at Northwestern Regional #7 on January 28, 2012.

New Hartford resident Brandon Steeves, a sophomore at NWR7, was one of the two contestants. Brandon competed against Michael Ciarlo, a senior at Thomaston High School.

Brandon was the first to speak, with the assigned topic of “The Rights and Responsibilities of the U.S. Citizen”. Michael spoke next, on the topic of “Our Founding Principles”. After a brief pause, both came back to speak on the 15th Amendment to the Constitution which prohibits the government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”.

Michael Ciarlo was the winner of this year’s competition and will be going on to compete at the State level. Our congratulations go out to both these young men for their excellent work.

New Hartford Town Clerk Donna LaPlante was one of the judges and New Hartford resident Rich St. John was a score keeper.

The first American Legion High School Oratorical Speech Contest was held in 1938. Its purpose is to instill a better knowledge of the US Constitution in High School students. It also provides generous scholarships to winning contestants, with the national first place winner taking home $18,000 and the second and third place winners receiving $16,000 and $14,000 respectively.

For more information about the contest, visit the American Legion’s website.

For more information on local American Legion activities, contact Rich St. John at stjohnrichard@rocketmail.com.

The video of the Oratorical Contest has been removed at the request of a parent of one of the contestants.

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