A pair of McLean High School students recently won prizes in the annual oratorical contest sponsored by American Legion Post 270 in McLean.
McLean High junior Saehee Perez won the won the $50 top prize and will compete Jan. 23 at the 17th District Oratorical Contest in Fairfax against winners of contests in other communities.
Perez impressed the judges with a speech titled “There’s Always Room!” Most impressive was her argument for citizens to educate themselves on civics and ongoing issues, post members said.
Clara Marks, a McLean High sophomore, garnered second place with a speech titled “The Role of Science in Determining What is Cruel and Unusual.”
Under the direction of master of ceremonies Tony Sarver, each contestant delivered a prepared oration on the U.S. Constitution, with emphasis on the duties and responsibilities of American citizenship, as well as an oration on a randomly assigned constitutional topic.
This year’s random topic was on the 14th Amendment, Section 3 of the Constitution, which states that people who engage in an insurrection against the U.S. government are prohibited from serving in political office.
Due to the pandemic, in-person attendance at the contest was extremely limited. The judges were Bob Wilson, Kay Roddrigo and Henry Grossman of Toastmasters International.
Since 1938, the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program has encouraged the nation’s high-school students to study the U.S. Constitution and hone their public-speaking skills. For more information, visit www.legion.org/oratorical.