By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
The Hart County American Legion is once again gearing up for the American Legion’s national high school oratorical contest coming up in early 2014.
But this year, Post 109 is opening up the local competition to students in neighboring counties.
According to area organizer Bob Savage, the Hart County Post is opening up the contest to students in Franklin, Elbert, Madison and Stephens counties as well.
To help prepare students, the Hart County American Legion Post 109 is offering two kick off informational meetings.
Savage said in years past, many students have come to the competition not really ready to compete.
“We found the kids were coming, sometimes at the very last minute, and they were coming unprepared,” Savage said. “Their speeches weren’t written, they didn’t know the time limits and the rules, they didn’t know the subject they needed to write and speak about. So we decided we needed some kick- off sessions to make sure they know the rules.”
The American Legion Oratorical Contest each year asks students to write up to a 10-minute speech on some topic regarding the U.S. Constitution.
They must also be prepared to speak extemporaneously for five minutes on one of the Constitutional Amendments.
Savage said there will be two classes offered. One will be on October 29and another will be on November 7, both in the Adult Learning Center of the Hart County Public Library beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Potential contestants next year must attend at least one of the two informational sessions to be eligible to compete for the prizes.
Savage said this is also a time for parents and teachers to learn more about the contest.
“We found there was interest in from students last year in Madison County, so we decided this year, since other Posts in surrounding counties are not participating in the oratorical contest, we would allow interested students from neighboring counties to participate,” Savage said.
Prizes for the local competition include $250 for first place, $150 for Second Place and $100 for Third Place.
The winner will have the chance to move on to the next level where even more prize money can be earned.
Savage says several years ago, an Iva, SC student won the national competition and won $18,000.
Additional information may be obtained by calling Bob Savage at (706) 376 – 0554.