Left to right: Grace Pyo, Anastasia Kaiser and Anisha Gururaj. Photo by James V. Carroll

Missouri teen wins 74th Oratorical contest

The top three finalists for the 2011 American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program, “A Constitutional Speech Contest,” gave their oration and assigned topic speech on stage Sunday morning in front of an auditorium filled with family, friends, judges, Legionnaires and other distinguished guests. The live webcast of the championship finals, aired on www.legion.org, captured an audience clear from India thanks to the finalist who took home the 74th Oratorical crown.

Anisha Gururaj from Chesterfield, Mo., finished first and won an $18,000 scholarship for her oration titled, “Our Parent, the Constitution.” Second place and a $16,000 scholarship was awarded to Grace Pyo from Powell, Ohio, for her oration, “Zooming in on the Constitution.” And third place, along with a $14,000 scholarship, was awarded to Anastasia Kaiser from Orinda, Calif., for her oration, “From a Crisis, A Constitution.” In addition to these scholarships, the three finalists, as well as the other 50 contestants, received a $1,500 scholarship for being a participant in the program.

For the championship finals, Gururaj, Pyo and Kaiser presented their eight- to 10-minute oration in front of seven new judges dispersed throughout the audience. Afterward, they spoke three to five minutes on an assigned topic, which was Amendment 10 and drawn randomly by guest speaker Jimmie Foster, The American Legion's national commander.

Visit www.legion.org Monday to read the winning oration and hear from Anisha Gururaj on being crowned the 74th American Legion Oratorical champion.