Daniel James Ahrens, a Los Alamos High School senior, will vie with 54 other speech champions for a top scholarship of $18,000 starting April 5 in Indianapolis.
The quarter finals of the 77th annual American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program will begin at 9:45 a.m., April 5 ET, and conclude April 26 with the selection of three winners of scholarships of $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000. The live webcast can be viewed at www.legion.org.
The scholarship program, “A Constitutional Speech Contest,” encourages young Americans to improve their communications skills and to study the U.S. Constitution.
Competitors will need to be cool under pressure as they deliver a rehearsed 8 to 10-minute address and a randomly assigned 3to 5-minute oration on a constitutional topic, each without the benefit of notes and in front of a live audience, including the judges.
The other contenders represent 49 states, the District of Columbia and American Legion Departments of Puerto Rico and France.
The quarterfinals, April 5, 9:45 a.m.-1 p.m., will narrow the field from 52 to 9. The Semifinals, April 5, 3:15-5 p.m., will narrow the field from 9 to 3, and the Finals will be held April 6, from 10-11:30 a.m. All times are Eastern Standard.
Annually, more than 6,000 high school students begin competition at the American Legion Post community level. The Indianapolis-based American Legion National Headquarters provides transportation to the “Final-52” as well as board and lodging for each competitor and a guest.
The 2.4-million member American Legion is the nation’s largest veteran’s organization.