Two MHS seniors are on their way to division-level competition for the American Legion Oratorical Contest, placing first and second at the district level.
Alicia Brak and Jessica Caballero earned first and second place on Dec. 3 and were awarded $300 and $150, respectively. The students will now compete on January 15, at the division competition at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. If successful, they’ll compete at State in early February.
The annual competition, sponsored by the American Legion and supported by the American Legion Auxiliary, invites high school students to craft speeches that demonstrate a keen understanding and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution.
Brak’s prepared speech showcased a call to support the U.S. government through civil service jobs and the need for all citizens to support our nation. It connects to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution; the President’s power to make appointments for government jobs.
“Even if you don’t have a career in government, everyone should still be a good citizen, contributing to the greater good for society,” she said.
Caballero’s prepared speech highlighted citizen’s rights with regard to the 14th amendment which prohibits states from enacting laws that remove rights. Caballero constructed through lines between issues faced by immigrants today and the broader implications of immigration.
“It was a good experience in public speaking,” Caballero said. “The constitution is considered an old piece of writing but it should be appreciated because it consists of everyone’s rights. Across the country, we all have the same rights.”
Both students leaned on their AP U.S. Government coursework to develop the prepared and assigned topics. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 867, Mundelein, sponsored Alicia Brak, and the Homer Dahringer Post 281 from Waukegan sponsored Jessica Caballero. Lolley has supported the Oratorical Contest for many years.
“The Constitution is the foundation of our democracy,” she said. “It protects our citizens from abuse by those whose aim is to consolidate power. We are honored to have such talented students like Alicia and Jessica who are so knowledgeable about our nation’s founding document. I wish them both the best of luck and hope to see them all the way through to Nationals.”
Since 1938, the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program has created an opportunity for students to earn scholarships. Across the nation more than 30,000 students participate annually.