Saturday, February 1 was the start of the North Cobb Post 304 Oratorical Season. The mandatory local Post contest was held at 1:00 p.m. at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 2385 Acworth Due West Rd., Acworth 30101.
The contest was conducted by Post and District 5 Oratorical Chairman, Sr.Vice-Cmdr Ron Mazzola and Post Adjutant and Department Oratorical Chairman, David Burdette, who besides the 5 contestants, had 4 judges, 2 timers, 2 Sgt-at-Arms, 2 Tabulators, and a Chaplain, as well as a briefing consultant each, for both the judges and the contestants. The students represented Allatoona High School, Kennesaw Mountain High School and a home-schooler, from Soaring Eagles Co-Op Home-School Organization.
If you have never attended an American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Contest, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Each contestant delivered an 8 to 10 minute prepared oration on any aspect of the U.S. Constitution, their choice, without notes, podium, or amplification. Points are deducted if they speak less than 8 minutes or more than 10 minutes, on their chosen topic.
The audience is instructed not to take flash pictures, applaud and/or otherwise disrupt the speaker while he/she is delivering their speech. After each contestant has delivered their prepared speech, each is then required to deliver a 3-5 minute speech on one of four “Assigned Topics”, which is selected during the contest. The Assigned Topics are amendments to, or Sections of, the U.S. Constitution. The contestants had to familiarize themselves with the each of the Four possible Topics and prepare a 3 to 5 minute speech on each of them, not knowing which one will be selected, until 5 minutes before the last contestant has delivered his/her presentation. Points are also deducted for speaking less than 3 or more than 5 minutes.
Cash prizes are awarded to the first, second and third place finishers of $300, $200, and $100, respectively, and all contestants are presented with a beautiful Certificate of Participation. The winner will advance to the Fifth District contest, to be held on Saturday Feb. 15, at the same location and time. There may be as many as 6 to 8 contestants in the District competition. The District winner will compete in the Area IV contest (consisting of Districts 4, 5, and 7) on Saturday, February 22, at Smyrna Post 160.
The Area winner will advance to the Department (State) contest, which will be held on Saturday, March 1, at the Houston County Board of Education in Perry, Ga. There will be four Area winners competing in the State finals. The State winner will represent Georgia at the National Finals in Indianapolis in April and be eligible for top scholarship prizes of $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000. Cash awards are presented at all contest levels. All expenses for the State winner and a chaperone are paid for.
If you were among the 50 or so Veterans and family members who did attend our Post 304 Competition,, I’m sure like me, you appreciated the efforts and hard work these 5 contestants put forth for their task. And I know you were glad to be able to see and hear these fine young men and women, highschoolers really, the future leaders of our Country, speak about our Constitution. And certainly, learning about our Founding Document couldn’t come at a better time.
David Burdette, Post 304 Adjutant and Dept. Oratorical Chairman
Ron Mazolla, Sr. Vice Commander and Post 304 & District 5 Chairman
North Cobb Post 304