On January 28, 2023, three students from Leonia High School participated in the annual American Legion Oratorical Contest in Leonia. Several other students from LHS along with history teacher Mr. Cullen joined the participants in order to provide them with support. For this competition each participant was required to prepare a 7 minute oration on some aspect of the Constitution while putting an emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. Additionally, the participants are given 3-5 minutes to present an oral summary of a topic regarding a constitutional amendment. Jake Capra, Renee Kim, and Madeleine Choe each provided the judges with their interpretations of the topics discussed.
All three juniors at LHS enjoyed this experience as they were able to exercise their public speaking skills as well as engage in relevant topics. When speaking with junior Jake Capra, I asked what he believed was the most important aspect of the preparation process. In response, he stated, “Time management is definitely very important. The earlier you begin the preparation process, the more time you have to practice a little bit everyday.” Everyday, whether it was in class or outside of school, Jake took the time to prepare for the contest as well as work with other students. Additionally, I asked Jake why he decided to participate in this competition. He replied, “I can definitely see myself pursuing public speaking in the future so by participating in this event, I hope to strengthen my skills and gain valuable experience.” After the conclusion of the event, Jake was able to see major improvement in his skills.
Madeleine Choe also performed exceptionally during the contest, ultimately winning 1st place for her well-organized and thought-provoking oration. When asked if she would recommend others to participate in this event, she responded, “If you feel very strongly about improving your speaking skills and knowledge on American history, I recommend you participate in this competition.”
All three students performed to the best of their abilities. With weeks of practice and research, they were all successful in constructing their orations and incorporating important elements of American history into their speeches. First place winner Madeleine Choe and 2nd place winner Renee Kim are now ready for the next level of competition in Rochelle Park.
Edited by: Katerina Romanides