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Christine Johnson, far left, was the first-place winner in American Legion’s High School Oratorical Scholarship Program. Other place winners and contest sponsors were Addison Groth; second place, from left; American Legion, Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy; oratorical program chairman Dan Marr; Thomas Fleming, third place; Cameron Cummings, fifth; and Tyler Uptain, fourth. CONTRIBUTED

Christine Johnson claims first place in American Legion oratorical contest

MADISON – Five youth with outstanding delivery of their essays earned top place in the Oratorical Scholarship Program – A Constitutional Speech Contest, sponsored by local American Legion posts.

The oratorical contest was held at Madison City Hall on Jan. 22 by sponsors American Legion Posts 229, 237 and 351 in Madison County. Chairman Danny J. Marr announced the winners at Madison City Hall.

“Each student presented very enlightening perspectives and knowledge on aspects of the U.S. Constitution. Congratulations to all the students who represented the best of Madison City and Madison County schools,” Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy said.

Vannoy presented the first-place prize of $300, a Certificate of Distinction and an oratorical plaque to Christine Alisa Johnson. Johnson is the daughter of Bryan and Amy Johnson of Huntsville. She attends Providence Classical School in Huntsville.

Addison Groth earned the $200 prize with awards for second place. Groth attends Providence Classical School and is the daughter of Cory and Megan Groth.

In third place, Thomas F. Fleming received $100 in prize money. Fleming is a home-school student. He is the son of Steven and Cammie Fleming.

“Two other outstanding Madison County and Madison City students participated in the speaking challenge,” Vannoy said. Tyler Uptain, son of Scott and Rochelle Uptain, succeeded in taking fourth place. He is a student at Providence Classical School.

Cameron Cummings, son of Travis and Dimika Cummings of Madison, placed fifth. Cameron, who attends Bob Jones High School, was selected last year as Vice President at American Legion Boys State competition in Washington D.C.

As first-place winner, Johnson, will participate on Feb. 12 in the contest for Alabama American Legion, District 12. Madison City Hall again will serve as the event venue.

Held annually since 1938, the National American Legion Contest “helps students grow in leadership ability, their capacity to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and in understanding the rights, responsibilities, obligations and privileges of U.S. citizens,” Vannoy said.

The year’s contests will culminate in late April at the National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. “Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $203,500 in scholarships can be awarded each year,” Vannoy said.

Winner of the overall national contest receives a $25,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $22,500, and third gets $20,000. Each state winner who is certified into and participates in the first round of the national contest receives a $2,000 scholarship. Students who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship.

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