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Destin American Legion Post 296 Hosts Local Competition for the National High School Oratory Scholarship Program

American Legion Post 296 Destin

On Jan. 5, 2024, Davis-Sikes, Destin American Legion Post 296 hosted its local competition for the National High School Oratory Scholarship Program.  The purpose of the program is to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students. The program is open to high School students in grades 9-12 who are U.S. Citizens. 

Post 296 hosted three area high school students from both Destin High School and Fort Walton Beach High School.  Each student was required to make two presentations. Students  prepared an original oration from memory on a phase of the Constitution of the United States which gives emphasis to the attendant duties and obligations of citizens to our government. The prepared oration must be between eight and ten minutes in length.  Additionally, each student presented a three-to-five minute assigned topic on one of the following subjects. All participating students must learn all four speeches.  Each level of competition selects one for use in their event.

Amendment 2: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 

Amendment 5: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or pubic danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 

Amendment 23: The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct. A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the State, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment. 

Amendment 25: Section 3 Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of this office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.   

Program Chairman for the event was Jim Wood, who serves on the Executive Committee at the local American Legion Post.  Event judges included Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner, Okaloosa County School District Public Information Officer Catherine Card and Attorney Michelle Anchors.  The winner of the local 2023-2024 competition was William Kiker from Fort Walton Beach High School.

The winner of the local competition advances to a district competition followed by a Western Area competition, State/Department Championship and finally to the National Championship where scholarships of $25,000, $22,500 and $20,000 will be awarded to the top three national winners.  Only the winner at each level of competition advances to the next level. 

Davis-Sikes Destin American Legion Post 296 would like to thank the students, local school officials who helped identify and prepare the students, as well as our volunteer judges and our local Post volunteers who served as timekeepers, score tabulators and in food preparation. 

Next year’s local competition will be in early January 2025.  

For more information on this program please contact Jim Wood at (850) 502-9468 (call/text) or visit the Florida American Legion Website at     

Photo Caption: Oratory Program Chairman Jim Wood with Judge Catherine Card, William Kiker (1st Place), Celina Sanchez (2nd Place), Judge Destin Mayor Bobby Wagner and Judge Attorney Michelle Anchors / back row: Cole Rewis (3rd Place) and Post 296 Commander Corlene Ziegler

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