The contestants for the 2011 National Oratorical Contest have been finalized. Pictured above is the 2009 National Oratorical Contest winner, Werner (Ben) Dykstal. Photo by James V. Carroll

2011 Oratorical contestants announced

On April 16, 53 high school students from across the country will be in Indianapolis at the University Place Conference Center & Hotel to compete in The American Legion’s 74th National Oratorical Contest. The contest will get under way with quarterfinals on April 16 at 9:45 a.m. EDT, followed by the semifinals at 3:45 p.m. During both sessions, the participants will present a rehearsed eight- to 10-minute oration on an aspect of the U.S. Constitution in front of judges, as well as a three- to five-minute speech on an assigned topic discourse – a phase of the Constitution selected from Articles and Sections.

The top three semifinal winners will advance to the championship finals on April 17 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT), where they will vie for first place and an $18,000 scholarship by repeating their rehearsed oration and speaking on a new assigned topic discourse.

Meanwhile, tune in to during the championship finals to view a live streaming of the three finalists competing for the winning title. The webcast will allow family and friends of the contestants, as well as other online viewers, front-row seats to the event where the overall champion will be crowned.

The following are the 53 high school contestants participating in the 2011 National Oratorical Contest:

Moriah Hagel, Wetumpka, Ala.

Kelsey Smith, Anchorage, Alaska

Rachel Moses, Cave Creek, Ariz.

Luke Macfarlan, Siloam Springs, Ark.

Anastasia Kaiser, Orinda, Calif.

Branden Yeates, Erie, Colo.

Daniel Chen, Cheshire, Conn.

Alina Ehsan, Newark, Del.

Yisehak Abraham, Washington, D.C.

Christian Fernandez, Miami

Morgan Billmaier, Heidelberg, Germany

Timothy Moore, Woodstock, Ga.

Lanson Hoopai, Aiea, Hawaii

Chas Baines, Meridian, Idaho

Athena Saldanha, Schaumburg, Ill.

Rebecca Frazer, Morgantown, Ind.

Erica Grubbs, Davenport, Iowa

Miles Barber, Marysville, Kan.

John Aroutiounian, Lexington, Ky.

Micah Webber, Baton Rouge, La.

Kelly Thomas, Standish, Maine

Nathan Chai, Ellicott City, Md.

Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, Boston

Aaron Mukerjee, Saline, Mich.

Adam Saxton, Monticello, Minn.

Brandice Brown, Greenwood, Miss.

Anisha Gururaj, Chesterfield, Mo.

Joshua McCaffrey, Butte, Mont.

Nicholas Schreiner, Seward, Neb.

Amelia Ritger, Genoa, Nev.

Colbert Ye, Exeter, N.H.

Marisa Palmer, Sicklerville, N.J.

Kaitlyn Frederick, Carlsbad, N.M.

Steven Velardo, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.

Daniel Nelson, Goldsboro, N.C.

David Shelton, Arvilla, N.D.

Grace Pyo, Powell, Ohio

Brandon Baumgarten, Oilton, Okla.

Troy Phillips, Roseburg, Ore.

Samuel Hardy, Palmyra, Penn.

Jean Davila De Jesus, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

Thomas Cienki, East Greenwich, R.I.

Joshua Arnold, Seneca, S.C.

Joseph Schartz, Humboldt, S.D.

Kathryn Stewart, Cleveland, Tenn.

Adam Nasser, Grapevine, Texas

Angelica Lopez, South Jordan, Utah

Erin Connor, Bridport, Vt.

Joshua Underwood, Barboursville, Va.

Riley Workman, Richland, Wash.

Aleksandr Fedyszyn, Wheeling, W. Va.

Sumaia Masoom, Platteville, Wis.

Dakota S. Frederick, Guernsey, Wyo.

Click here to view the 2011 Oratorical contest pairings. To see a list of the past 73 national champions, click here.