The Legion scholarship awards speeches on the constitution.

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JEFFERSON CITY – The American Legion High School Oratory Scholarship Program offers Missouri High School students a scholarship through a competition with no tuition fees.

The speech contest is open to all high school students, grades 9-12, including students enrolled in the homeschool program, public schools, parochial schools, academies, and charter schools, the Oratory Commission said in a press release this week.

The purpose of the contest is to develop students’ knowledge and appreciation of the United States Constitution; develop an ability to think and speak clearly and critically; develop an acceptance of the duties and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship and develop an awareness of the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship, the organization said.

Nationally, Legion public speaking contests award more than $3 million each year. Many local American Legion posts and districts award scholarships, and recipients advance to the state semifinals.

Medals are awarded in the semi-finals, but Drury University is awarding a major scholarship to two of the four semi-finalists in each of the four semi-finals, the Legion said.

The four semi-finalists advance to the national final. Each of the four contestants will receive a scholarship of $2,000 to $5,000, and the winner will qualify for the national competition in Indianapolis, Indiana.

All applicants who participate in the first round will receive $2,000 scholarships. Of the nine semi-finalists, six will receive an additional $2,000 and the three finalists will compete for an additional $22,000 to $25,000. The three finalists move on to the National Speech and Debate Association’s national competition. The American Legion pays all costs associated with the program.

For more information about participating and registering for this scholarship program, go to: www.missourilegion.org/oratorical, or contact your school counselor.

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