The American Legion Department of Florida, 15th District, held its annual “High School Oratorical Scholarship Program – A Constitutional Speech Contest” on Jan. 12 at the American Legion Post 5, USS Tampa.
We were honored to have within our audience the Tampa City Council Chair Pro-Tem, Harry Cohen of District 4. It was a privilege to have been able to showcase to him and our audience a sampling of the high caliber of students in the Tampa area.
This year the competition was a very close call between five bright students from the Tampa area. Each student gave a superlative speech on the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, followed by a randomly drawn selected topic: “Amendment 24.” The top three contestants were determined after tough deliberations: Brooke Wade, a 12th grade student of Wade Academy in Tampa; Mary Collins, a 10th grade student of Collins School of Knowledge in Lutz; and Jenny Chen, a 12th grade student at Robinson High School in Tampa. Brooke will go on to represent our 15th District at the Central Area level competition Feb. 9 at the American Legion Post 8 in Winter Haven. The subsequent winner of the Central Area contest will move on to compete at the department level in Orlando on March.
Pictured are the contestants and American Legion representatives as follows (left to right): Erica Dienes (Bayshore Christian, sponsored by Post 5); Frank Smith (Post No. 5 Oratorical Chairman); Eunice Butts (15th District Commander); Jenny Chen (Robinson High School, sponsored by Post 138); Brooke Wade (Wade Academy, sponsored by Post 152); James Zipler (Central Area Commander); Mary Collins (Collins School of Knowledge, sponsored by Post 108); Shelli Romeu (15th District Asst Oratorical Chair); Donald Johnson (Post 248 Adjutant); Dana Keller (Tampa Catholic, sponsored by Post 248).