On President’s Day the top student orators in the state arrived in Frisco to win the top honors in the annual American Legion Department of Texas High School Oratorical Contest.
The contest was held on February 17, 2020 at Collin College, Preston Ridge Campus, 6700 Wade Blvd., Frisco, TX 75035. Post 178 Commander and State Oratorical Chair, Fred Rogers, planned the contest and was the moderator.
Over the past several months in 22 Legion districts in Texas, students competed with their presentation of original speeches on the U.S. Constitution. Each of the 22 districts selected a winner to send to one of the four Legion division contests. The top four speakers from those divisions participated in the final competition. Each of the speakers completed their presentations before a distinguished panel of judges hoping to be named state champion. The panel of judges included Eileen Elledge, Jim Johnson, Jason Mrochek, Jared Patterson, Tom Smith and Paul Jones.
Orators were required to create and memorize an original speech on some aspect of the Constitution with an emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. Each used this oratory throughout the competition. An additional element of the contest required each student to deliver extemporaneous remarks over one of four amendments to the Constitution.
The final standings of the four outstanding high school student participants were:
Scholarships totaling $5000, along with medallions, were awarded by Department Commander Jeff Perkins. The first-place winner received a $2,000 scholarship, second-place winner received a $1,500 scholarship, third-place winner received a $1,000 scholarship and fourth-place winner received a $500 scholarship.
Mr. Tanner David, the state champion, would have advanced along with more than 50 other winners from across the U.S. to the National Competition in Indianapolis on April 18 and 19, 2020, but, unfortunately, the national contest was cancelled because of COVID-19.
American Legion Peter J. Courcy Post 178 was selected to host the state competition for 2019 and 2020. “It was a distinct honor for Post 178 to have been chosen to host such a patriotic contest for the past two years,” observed Post Commander Fred Rogers.
Many volunteers from Post 178 and American Legion Auxiliary 178 assisted with preparation before and during the contest. Additionally, a banquet for the finalists and their families, as well as many state officials and dignitaries from the Legion Department of Texas, was hosted before the contest.
Learn more about the National, Department (State) and Post (Local) Oratorical Contests at: