California Oratorical Champion Calls for America's Voice
On April 19, 2013, the American Legion hosted the 76th annual National Oratorical Contest in Indianapolis. The contest promotes awareness of the United States Constitution and obligations of citizens to our government among high school students.
Los Altos student Kate Park, junior at Menlo School, represented California at the National Finals on April 19 in Indianapolis. At nationals, she advanced to the semi-finals and received a $3,000 scholarship. Before competing at nationals, Park won the California state championship and an additional $2,000 scholarship.
At each round, the audience witness an incredible displays of young talent as students presented powerful orations on different aspects of the Constitution. After delivering an 8 to 10-minute speech about the Constitution, each student speaks on a topic randomly selected by the audience. The chosen topic at the California state championship and semi-finals was the right to bear arms, a controversial issue nationwide due to the recent Sandy Hook Shooting.
Park's speech titled "The People's Voice" inspired the audience. One judge commented that she was touched by the powerful message to speak up, and was sold by Park’s logic concerning gun control. Park commented, "The experience was challenging but rewarding. This opportunity motivated me to research the Constitution and national issues. I think wonderful that American Legion hosts this event for high school students. I want to especially thank district commander Mr. Peters, Mr. Hale, and Department Commander and Oratorical Chair Mr. Robert Biby."