Emily Drown wins division in American Legion Oratorical Contest

MADISON COUNTY – Emily Drown, a home school junior from Madison County, followed up her win in Madison County and for District 12 to advance as Division 1’s first-place winner in Alabama American Legion’s High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.

American Legion officials conducted the Division 1 competition at East Highland Baptist Church in Hartselle on Feb. 22. This event represents the third level of competition in which county winners progress as part of the 83rd National American Legion Constitutional Oratorical Scholarship Program. Alabama has three divisions, and District 1 covers most of North Alabama.

The contest develops deeper knowledge an appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, history of American laws, clear verbalization and an understanding of American citizenship. Young orators vie for college scholarships; the Alabama winner receives $2,000, while the national winner earns $20,000.

The contestants’ speeches are 8 to 10 minutes long. At the contest, they also must deliver a 3- to 5-minute extemporaneous speech on random topics.

Three participants represented Division 1 districts: second-place winner Katie Jett of Lawrence County, District 11, sophomore at Lawrence County High School; and third-place winner Lucas ‘Luke’ Skelton of Walker County, District 14, sophomore at Jasper High School.

Drown will advance to the Department of Alabama competition with winners representing the three American Legion Divisions in Alabama. According to Tom McKinney, Madison Post 229 Americanism Chairperson, “Emily Drown is an excellent speaker, and she has prepared her presentation in a complete and knowledgeable manner. She captures the attention of the audience.”

“We are proud to have such a worthy student representing Madison County in this important competition,” McKinney said.

Drown will compete in the state competition in Montgomery on March 14. The Alabama state winner will advance to the national finals on April 17-19 in Indianapolis, Ind.

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