WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Two high school students, one from Rider High School and the other from Iowa Park High School, competed in the 13th American Legion district level oratorical competition on Saturday for scholarship money and a chance to move on to the division level competition.
The district-level competition was about the constitution, the rights and responsibilities citizens have under it, and the amendments.
“It’s up to our young kids, our young men and women, coming out of high school to know what the constitution is about," Christopher Holt, 13th American Legion division vice commander, said. "Our framers wrote this constitution to guide us, the American people, on what we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to live in our country.”
Rider High School sophomore Tina Majdinasab emerged as the winner of the competition and snagged a $500 scholarship.
“It really means a lot to me because without this competition I wouldn’t have known a lot of things about the constitution that I do now,” Majdinasab said. "In school, we briefly go over it, but this really gave me a more in-depth view and more appreciation for the constitution.”
Majdinasab will be competing at MSU on Feb. 1 for a $1,000 scholarship at the division oratorical competition.
“I wrote the speech after I went to Iran for a month this past summer and I saw how different it was from America," Majdinasab said. "I felt that it was necessary to put my experience, that I was there and what I saw, witnessed and did there and how it was different the life that I live here in America.”
The competitors have had since August to study and prepare for their speeches.
“It means a lot to me," Majdinasab said. "I want to go into government in the future and I feel like this is the perfect stepping stone and it’s everything that I love to do like talking about the constitution. From a young age, I’ve always been interested in government, the constitution, and I want to go into politics. It means the world to me.”
The first stage consisted of a prepared 8-10 minute speech about the constitution. For the second stage, an audience member drew one of four amendment topics from a hat and the competitors had five minutes to prepare themselves for a 3-5 minute speech over the amendment that was drawn.
“There’s no podium and no notes," Michael Kurtz, 13th American Legion post 169 vice commander, said. “These young ladies are just doing it and it’s an amazing thing to watch.”
The American Legion send out packages to area high schools in order to spread the word about the competition. Interested students will then have to reach out to an American Legion post in order to get sponsored.
“The amount of work that goes into these speeches is just fantastic,” Kurtz said. “It’s awesome to see our young men and women learning about the constitution and knowing where our forefathers were guiding us.”
“I think it’s important for these young people to understand what the constitution has to say and to be able to present it,” Peter Eefkhoff, American Legion 13th district commander, said.