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February 25, 2013

Local American Legion hosts state oratorical contest

DUNCAN — Oklahoma students came to Duncan to put their U.S. Constitution knowledge to the test.

The American Legion Post 55 in Duncan, hosted the annual state oratorical contest Saturday at the First United Methodist Church. Ed Lowe, who is a member of the American Legion Post 55, was the chairman of the contest.

Curry Coleman of Fletcher was the winner of the event, which only had four high school students, none of whom were from Stephens County.

Each contestant recited two speeches. Competitors were  were Anika Nahar of Moore, Sophie Gibson of Edmond, Sam Strutton of Muskogee and Coleman.

Nahar was the only junior to compete, while the other students were all seniors.

The first speech was a prepared speech about the Constitution. Each student had between eight to 10 minutes to give their speech. Anytime above or below the time frame resulted in a penalty in points. No students received penalties for the first speech.

None of the students went above nine minutes.

Their discussions on the Constitution ranged from the impact of people throughout history (including at times of the Civil Rights Movement and women’s suffrage), to gun rights versus gun control.

The second speech, which was a prompted speech, was about the 22nd Amendment, which is about term limits for president. Students had five minutes to prepare and had to give a three to five minute speech over the topic.

“It’s the only time they’re sequestered,” Larry Davidson, with American Legion Post 55, said. “Every other time, they’re together.”

Nahar was the only participant not to make it to three minutes or above before ending her speech.

Local judges tallied each speech and the winner was determined from the total.

“It was very close,” Lowe said.

The oratorical speech contest is just one project the American Legion does that involves students. The group is also responsible for Boys State and Girls State through the American Legion Auxiliary.

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