LICKING, Mo. – Licking High School Sophomore Sami Hall has qualified for the state American Legion Oratorical Contest about the U.S. Constitution.
The tournament features an oral competition testing participants’ knowledge of the history of United States’ laws and the duties and privileges of American citizenship. It also judges competitors’ leadership qualities and their ability to speak and think clearly.
After winning a silver medal in the District 16 contest in West Plains, Sami secured the gold at the Jan. 23 zone contest – and a $16,000-a-year scholarship from Drury University.
Taking home first place in the zone contest catapulted her to the state competition Feb. 27, to compete against three other Missouri high school students for the chance to go to the national competition.
Sami has to add four minutes to her current speech to meet the state competition’s criteria, making it 9 to 10 minutes long. Contestants also draw a random topic and have to come up with a separate, impromptu presentation on competition day.
The sophomore’s main speech is named “The Unseen Statue,” in which she compares Lady Liberty to the Constitution, since the statue represents a symbol of American freedom and independence.
“We need (the Constitution’s) guidance and protection now more than perhaps ever before,” Sami told The Heartlander. “It has so many things that are so important to us, that we take for granted in a lot of ways. It’s such a rare and unique opportunity that we have as Americans to view and understand our government’s framework. We see that and we can use that.”
One of the main topics for the competition has been Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which discusses a sitting president who is no longer able to do his job efficiently, and thus can be removed from office by a congressional vote. The amendment has never been used, but Sami believes it protects the country from tyranny.
The Constitution piqued Sami’s interest in her fifth-grade American Government class. The history fascinated her, and she was immensely impressed with the Founders’ ability to come up with a governing document 235 years ago that is still relevant today.
The sophomore is still undecided on what she’ll study in college or what career she’ll pursue. She is passionate about the United States and its Constitution and would love to pursue a career in government, but says there are a lot of pros and cons.
The state competition is Sunday, Feb. 27 at Southern Boone High School in Ashland, Missouri, between Jefferson City and Columbia.
Embedded photo courtesy of The Licking News