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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Local student advances in American Legion Oratorical Contest


The American Legion Post 43 has announced that April Zhang, a senior at Neuqua Valley High School, took first place at the 2024 American Legion Department of Illinois Constitution Oratorical Contest held early in March in Springfield, Illinois.

Since 1938, the Oratorical Contest has developed knowledge and a greater appreciation of the Constitution of the United States among high school students. The contest is designed to develop leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, as well as the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, rights and privileges of American Citizenship.

Winners can earn college scholarship money at the local, district and state competitions.
Zhang was sponsored by American Legion Post 43, and as last year’s Department of Illinois winner, will represent Illinois for the second year in a row at the American Legion National Contest, May 17-19, in Hillsdale, Michigan.

Taking Second Place at the Department of Illinois contest was Harshee Shah, a senior from Naperville Central High School, also sponsored by Naperville’s Post 43.

More than $203,500 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets a $25,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $22,500, and third gets $20,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship.

Student orators who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.

“We are always trying to find more young people to participate in our contests,” said Jennifer Slown for American Legion Post 43.

“While our number of participants tend to be small, the quality speaks for itself,” Slown continued. “Back-to-back winner April Zhang is going to Nationals to compete for more scholarship money (tens of thousands). She won $2000 at the state level last year, $2000 at the state level this year, and first prize at the national level where April is headed is $25,000.”

Slown added that the American Legion seeks to provide a “call to action” to enlighten local students and their parents regarding the generous scholarship opportunities available every year.

The link to the contest overview is www.legion.org/oratorical/rules.

For more information, contact Neal Kemp, Contest Chairman for Naperville American Legion Post 43, at kemp1112@aol.com.

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.


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