WATERVILLE – The Maine American Legion is soliciting high school students to participate in the American Legion Constitutional Speech Contest. It is an opportunity for students to enhance their public speaking ability while having the opportunity to earn more than $20,000 in scholarship monies.

Students, grade nine to 12, are invited to participate in the speech contest about the Constitution of the United States. Many of the 172 American Legion posts throughout the state will host local contests.

The winner of the local post contest will advance to the district contest and the winner of the district contest will advance to the Department of Maine contest. That winner will advance to the national contest in Indianapolis, Ind., where travel expenses are paid by the Legion for the contestant and one chaperone over 21 years of age.

There are two portions of the contest: prepared oration and assigned topic. The subject in the prepared oration must be about some phase of the Constitution, emphasizing the duties and obligations of a citizen to the United States Government. It must not be less than eight minutes or more that 10.

The assigned topic will be one of four selections on some phase of the Constitution selected from the articles and sections. It must be presented in not less than three minutes and not more than five minutes.

The state competition will be held Feb. 16 at Thomas College in Waterville. Each contestant will receive $150, with the two semi-final winners competing for $500 for second place and $1,000 for first and the opportunity to advance to the national level.

Those who compete in the national contest will receive $1,500 for participating in the first round. Contestants advancing to the second round will receive an additional $1,500 award. The three contestants in the third and final round will have the opportunity to gain $18,000 for first place, $16,000 for second or $14,000.00 for third.

The primary purpose of program is to instill in students a better knowledge and appreciation of the United States Constitution.

For more information, contact a local American Legion post or department headquarters at 873-3229 or [email protected]

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