Three Indiana high schools students will put their hopes for a national public speaking prize on the line when they compete at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University Bloomington.
SPEA is hosting the zone competition in the annual American Legion Oratorical Contest. The three contestants have all won preliminary competitions in southern and central Indiana. The winner at the event on Sunday, Feb. 17th will go on to a state competition in Indianapolis. The winner there goes on to represent Indiana in the national competition which offers a first prize of an $18,000 scholarship.
The American Legion has sponsored the contest since 1938. The young orators deliver lengthy, memorized speeches on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution. Participants get both a new understanding of the rights and obligations of citizenship and an opportunity to improve their public speaking skills.
This is the first year SPEA has hosted the competition in conjunction with American Legion Post 18 in Bloomington. “As a School that focuses on public affairs and civic leadership, this is a natural fit,” said SPEA Assistant Dean Doug Goldstein. “This is also an opportunity for us to build a stronger relationship with gifted students and their families and teachers. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone involved for what will be an inspiring and rewarding event.”
In addition to providing the facility, SPEA students, faculty and staff are participating. SPEA professor Brian DeLong, coach of the Indiana University Debate Team, will be one of the judges. Another judge is Jim Hanchett, SPEA’s director of marketing and communications who participated in the contest as a teenager. Members of SPEA’s Student Ambassadors group will be welcoming the orators and assisting in other ways during the competition.
The competition is at 1 p.m. on Sunday the 17th in SPEA room 167. It is open to the public at no charge. More information about the Legion’s Oratorical Contest. http://www.legion.org/oratorical/about.