The purpose of The American Legion’s National High School Oratorical Contest is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students. Other objectives of the contest include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, the rights and privileges of American citizenship.
Crosby student represents Deerwood Post in oratorical contest.
On Januaury 6 2014, Caroline Bender, a sophomore at Crosby-Ironton High School presented a speech she had written to a selection committee of five Legionnaires at the Walter Scott Erickson American Legion Post #557 in Deerwood.
Bender’s speech dealt with Article 4 of the Constitution of the United States and specifically showed the dangers of too much government power. The speech was to be one she had written and needed to be at least eight minutes in length. The committee selected Bender to go on to district competition and reporesent Post #557. On Jan. 6 the post awarded her a $100 prize as its selected candidate.
On Saturday, Jan. 11 Bender gave her speech in Nisswa at the American Legion Oratorical Contest in two rounds of district level competition. In round one there were seven finalists from around the district who presented eight minute memorized speeches on some aspect of the Constitution. In round two, each contestant had five minutes to prepare a three to five minute speech on a drawn topic and then present the speech to an audience of five judges and about 50 Legionnaires and guests in an extemporaneous fashion without using any notes.
Bender was accompanied for the day by Deerwood Legionnaires James Rude and Kenneth Nystrom. Also in attendance were her parents, Mike and Jean Bender, her two sisters and a family friend.
At a closing ceremony each participant received a Legion Pin and Certificate of Participation. Finally, one speaker from the seven finalists was chosen to continue on to state competition and, although it was not Bender, James Rude, post chaplain said, “Caroline performed admirably. She is only a sophomore and competed against mostly juniors and seniors. What an undertaking for a fine young lany who has had no formal speech training. Deerwood Legionnaires deem it a privilege to have had her represent them.”