American Legion Post 109

Supporting Our Veterans and Community!



February 22, 2016 


Will Maxwell Wins North/Northeast Georgia American Legion Area Constitutional Speech Contest in Jefferson 

Next Stop: State Finals on March 6 in Albany, GA  


Hartwell’s Will Maxwell was awarded 1st place and $ 350.00 Sunday afternoon, February 21 for his participation in the 2016 Georgia Area 3 American Legion High School Oratorical Contest.  Will is the son of Brent and Holly Maxwell, and is a Senior as a homeschooled student in Hart County. 


Will’s main speech was entitled “How to Make the Right Voting Decision”.  


As the area’s representative he now moves up and on to the state contest set for March 6 in Albany.  There he will face off against three other area winners from across our state.  Should he win that contest, he will travel to Indianapolis as Georgia’s representative in the 2016 national contest to be held April 15 – 17.  The prizes at Albany range from $ 450 up to $ 1,300, while participation at the national level earns at least $ 1,500 with the winner taking home $ 18,000.  


Getting to the area competition required winning previously both the local Hartwell and the District 10 competitions.  In the District 10 contest, Will competed against excellent speakers from Jefferson, Loganville and Statham.  In this latest effort, his two very fine competitors were from the North Atlanta and Augusta sections of the state. 


At each event all contestants spoke twice starting with a Prepared Oration of between eight and ten minutes on any aspect of the Constitution of the United States of America.  This had to be an original work each had written and in which they emphasized the duties and obligations of a citizen to our nation. 


For their second presentation each spoke extemporaneously for between three and five minutes on one of four specific sections of our Constitution which had been previously assigned.  However, none of them learned which of these sections was the one to be presented until very shortly before stepping out to do soAt the area contest this past Sunday, the selected topic was the 8th amendment regarding excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment. 


Carefully chosen judges independently graded each contestant, and the scores were then combined by separate officials in order to determine the winners. 


The American Legion National High School Oratorical Scholarship Program has been operating for 78 years, or since 1938.  Participants must be a citizen; a bona fide student under the age of 20; and enrolled in the ninth through twelfth grade of a high school or middle school (public, parochial, military, private or state accredited home school). 


“A Constitutional Speech Contest,” the American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibil-ities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. 


Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $138,000 in scholarships can be awarded each year. 


High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where each then competes against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finis